Sunday, June 08, 2008

Our new book is out: Going Green: A Wise Consumer's Guide to a Shrinking Planet

Our new book is out, as of May 2008. It's Going Green: A Wise Consumer's Guide to a Shrinking Planet.

While Sadie and I were researching our first book together, Veggie Revolution (2005), we learned so much about the environmental and health impacts of the food industry. It profoundly changed my life, and I think Sadie's too. One thing we learned is that the food industry is completely consumer driven. In Going Green, we looked farther afield to see how we as consumers fund other environmentally-damaging industries. We also took a closer look at the dark underbelly of food production, and in the new book we report some startling interviews.

Before these books, we had often debated whether our own lifestyle choices - our diet and other purchases - were really making a difference. So we took the time to find out. We wanted to help busy consumers make informed choices about the products they buy without sacrificing their comfort or way of life.

Specifically, Going Green guides consumers in the most effective and economical ways to reduce their ecological footprint and greenhouse gas emissions, especially in the highest-impact categories of food, transportation, and how we heat and cool our homes. We included clothing too, because readers ask about that.

For example, the book reviews the different kinds of “green” cars, from hybrids to flex-fuel cars to diesel cars equipped to run on pure vegetable oil. For a reader interested in “green” clothing, the book compares the environmental and health effects of organic vs. non-organic cotton, bamboo and hemp fabrics, synthetics, wool, as well as second-hand clothes. We cover dyes and finishes too, which vary widely in their toxicity.

Want to reduce your home energy bills? In Going Green, we report on the greenest (and cheapest) choices for new home construction, such as passive solar design and building with waste materials. But the book is loaded with information about reducing energy consumption in an existing home by sealing leaky doors and windows, buying Energy Star appliances, or simply changing your light bulbs. It’s a very practical book with a positive outlook.

Why is this book timely?
There is an explosion of interest right now in eco-friendly lifestyle choices. That interest is driven by the escalating cost of fossil fuels for transportation and for heating homes. It’s also driven by scientific reports published in the past year about global climate change, and the urgency of taking action to slow it right now before we pass certain “tipping points.” This is a book to guide conscientious citizens in taking action. None of us make perfect choices across the board, we’re all human. But if everyone does something, the effects add up.

Sally Kneidel, PhD

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