We tree huggers have engaged in the three Rs – reducing, reusing, and recycling—for decades in our idealistic desire to save the planet. As the economy plunges, however, just about everyone has realized that the three Rs aren’t only good for the environment: a sustainable lifestyle is also the fastest and easiest way to save money.
David Gershon’s Green Living Handbook is a must-have for anyone who is just getting started on the green-living path. The six-step program spelled out here is neatly arranged by category: solid waste, water efficiency, energy efficiency, transportation efficiency, eco-wise consuming, and empowering others. For each topic, Gershon provides an Action Log where he lists simple steps to be discussed with the team (your family, community group, class, or any other team composition you choose).
Suggested actions are offered, along with a list of materials needed for each project and the time needed for startup. Gershon also includes a checklist with points assigned to each project so you can easily chart your progress toward the green zone.
These are all easily accomplished goals, suitable for undertaking by families, classrooms, youth groups, civic groups, or even by individuals. Under energy efficiency, for example, Gershon suggests taking the simple step of replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs: “One compact fluorescent saves the equivalent of about 600 pounds of coal over the life of the bulb.” By taking this simple action, you not only help the environment, but the low energy draw of compact fluorescent bulbs and their long lives are good for your wallet!
Green gardening techniques, swap parties, changing your driving habits, and painless ways to save on water and grocery bills are just a few of the economically and sustainably responsible ideas included. Once you’ve worked through the projects, you can look forward to going “Farther down the path” with Gershon's suggestions for larger and ongoing measures to reduce your footprint and increase your savings.
Green Living Handbook even includes resources for leading your team to success: initiator guidelines, an information meeting guide, a topic meeting guide, and team schedules.
Gershon, who founded Empowerment Institute, is the author of several books including Low Carbon Diet and Social Change 2.0. He’s done an excellent job of breaking down the steps toward sustainability in Green Living Handbook, making this an appropriate, user-friendly tool for adults, children, or any combination of the two. What’s more, the deeply green among us can use the Handbook (which is printed on 100% post-consumer waste) to help our unenlightened friends and families make the change without pain.