I’ve always liked the idea of having Earth Day in April. No matter which side of the equator you live in, April is a time when nature changes and reinvents itself making us once again aware of duty to preserve it. But taking care of the planet is a year-long commitment and while it may seem daunting at first, there are plenty of resources to help you live a cleaner, greener life.
The Self Sufficient-ish Bible: An Eco-living Guide for the 21st Century by Andy and Dave Hamilton is a great book to start and continue living an eco-friendly life. Ideas go from recycling to growing organic food to making a solar-powered oven. The only downside of this book is that it is very England-centric so some of the advice may need to be altered to apply to your location. Thankfully, it is nothing a bit of research won’t solve.
Other books with a lifestyle approach are Easy Green Living: The Ultimate Guide to Simple, Eco-Friendly Choices for You and Your Home by Renée Loux (includes recipes, handy guides and lots of advice), Super Natural Home: Improve Your Health, Home, and Planet – One Room at a Time by Beth Greer (quizzes, advice and ideas to make your environment safer and greener), and The Honest Life: Living Naturally and True to You by Jessica Alba (yes, the actress).
If you are looking for recipes for green/organic products make sure to check Natural Alternatives for You and Your Home: 175 Recipes to Make Eco-Friendly Products by Casey Kellar, The Naturally Clean Home: 150 Super-Easy Herbal Formulas for Green Cleaning by Karyn Siegel-Maier, Organic Body Care Recipes: 175 Homemade Herbal Formulas for Glowing Skin & a Vibrant Self by Stephanie Tourles, and Homemade: How-to Make Hundreds of Everyday Products Fast, Fresh, and More Naturally by the folks at Reader’s Digest.
For new parents trying to raise their children in an environmentally-friendly way I recommend Green Guide Families: The Complete Reference for Eco-Friendly Parents by Catherine Zandonella, editor of Green Guide magazine. The book is also sponsored by National Geographic and contains advice and information to help you make the right choices for your family. Also check The Eco-nomical Baby Guide: Down-to-Earth Ways for Parents to Save Money and the Planet by Joy Hatch and Rebecca Kelly , which will teach you ways to be kind to your planet and your pocket.
Last but not least I’d like to address an issue that I often get asked about: what’s better for the environment: print books or e-books? There isn’t an answer to this question yet. Some studies seem to suggest e-books are more ecological because their carbon footprint is smaller than that of print books. However, critics insist that these studies do not take into consideration how often people change and discard e-reading devices. Still there are a few things you can do to read green:
Use the library (the greenest of them all)
Exchange books with friends and family
Buy used books
Visit your local stores
Donate what you don’t need anymore; as a bonus you’ll make room for more book
Buy a quality (both print books and e-reading devices) so items will last longer