Tuesday, April 22, 2008

1,001 Ways to Save the Earth

In honor of Earth Day, I wanted to mention Joanna Yarrow’s 1,001 Ways to Save the Earth. This fat, little, 384-page book makes a darling edition to a coffee table, but it certainly does not save any trees in its publication (the oxymoron of a paper book about saving the environment is one I don’t know how to wrap my brain around). However, a small publisher’s note does say:

“This book is printed using mineral oil-free vegetable-based inks on paper produced from pulp obtained from sustainably managed forests, and from paper mills that meet environmental standard ISO 14001. It is 100 percent recyclable.”

The book contains perky illustrations and 1001 suggestions for protecting the planet. Not surprisingly, some of the suggestions are easily adoptable, while others are unrealistic for a general audience (e.g., use tidal power, which is only available in some areas of Scotland and Australia).

A few of my favorite suggestions, ones that I have already adopted, include:

  • Cut down on leg shaves: Save water by not shaving your legs on a daily basis. (Un)fortunately, I am chronically single and never wear shorts, so I have this one made.
  • Eat before shopping: Save the planet, your budget, and your waist by curbing impulse buying at the grocery store.
  • Exercise outdoors: Treadmills and gyms waste energy—and are boring. I love walking outdoors where I can see things and take my mind off the fact that I am actually exercising.
  • Don’t feed wild animals: Although I live in the city, neighbors who fed deer this winter attracted large numbers of the animals and cougars. It was a scary time for both me and my pets.

And a few of my favorite unbelievable suggestions:

  • Become a beekeeper: Buzz. Sting. Ouch.
  • Travel by freighter instead of taking a cruise: Excusez moi?
  • Have a smaller family: Yowzers. I think this is a subject better left to the individual.
  • Don’t eat turtle meat: People really eat turtles? I discovered frog legs don’t have enough meat to make the effort worthwhile; I suspect the same may be said for turtles.

I won’t be taking a freighter any time soon (or ever). However, I can easily turn off the lights and television when I leave a room. I don’t think any of us needs a book to tell us what to do—we just need to use our common sense and give ourselves a pat on the back for making an effort to care for our planet.

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