It's easy to mock "Green Chic: Saving the Earth in Style" because of its title. It would seem to appeal to the bubble-headed looking to climb aboard the latest fashion trend without mussing their clothes.
But it is a bit better than the title would indicate. It is a helpful, though somewhat superficial guide to simple ways to incorporate environmental principles into your daily life without demanding that you remove yourself from the power grid of head off to the plains to live in a yurt.
It is the latest of several books written recently that are meant for those who want to act, having heard that there's something wrong with the environment, but don't know where to start.
I don't think it's the best of the bunch but if it succeeds in drawing in a few more people willing to be more thoughtful about the planet, then great. It's achieved its goal.
Author Christie Matheson explains the basics, starting by waht she means by going green, and then gives us a glossary of handy terms and definitions, among them factory farm, biodegradable, food miles,dioxin and carbon neutral. None of the definitions run deep or long but they suffice as an introduction.
She marches us a long through several aspects of daily living: taking baby steps, such as changing lightbulbs from incandescent to compact fluorescent,turning down the heat, using tap instead of bottled water and so on.
After that we learn ways to green our home: using cloth instead of paper napkins, unplugging chargers, avoiding wall-to-wall carpeting, buy vintage clothing, keep the refrigerator stocked (it loses less cold air when the door is opened), use a PVC-free shower curtain and so on.
From there, we get a discussion of good food and drink choices--eat locally grown products, dine out at sustainable-food restaurants, drink organic wines and beers, eat more fish and less meat.
Personal care, such as cosmetics, razors, tampons, toothbrushes shampoos and perfume all get their moments of attention, with recommendations on where to buy certain items that rely on recycled materials and how to reduce water use while using others.
Fashion gets its own chapter, with explanations of what is wrong with buying new products mostly made overseas (hint, government regulations on imports require the use of chemicals), avoid using new bags, paper or plastic, buy supplying your own recyclable bag, purchasing items made from natural fibers. She's big on buying quality over quantity, which makes a lot of sense, and favors vintage shopping, swaps and smart choices.
She also addresses transportation (public, of course, when possible), going green while entertaining and a few of her personal favorite green things.
The author personalizes her recommendations, telling us what she has done or wants to do. I could have done without the explanation of how she uses a public toilet, though.
This book is ideal for the barely aware or people who find environmentalism such an overwhelming topic that they don't know where to start and thus don't do anything. If you're looking to jump to the next level of going green, this isn't it. But it's a start.
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