I've read two fantastic and eye-opening books lately. The first is "No Impact Man" by Colin Beavan. I read this book in about a day and a half because I couldn't put it down. And when it was done, I wanted to start it over just to be sure I'd properly taken it all in. Suffice it to say, it was very eloquently put and very human in the way it was related. The premise is that the author, being a pretty average person, decided that climate change needs to be addressed and that it's up to each of us to start with ourselves by changing our habits. Without knowing really anything about how to live an eco-friendly life, he knew he had to do more than complain about politicians. And he had to drag his wife and baby daughter along on the adventure, too. Very philosophical and, as I said, very touchingly human, this book was marvelous. In the end, living a better and more sustainable life isn't (or doesn't have to be) about the planet: it can be about the people we're on it with.
The second book was "Slow Death By Rubber Duck" by Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie. It could be such a scary book (and yes, it did make me want to throw out my few remaining inorganic, un-eco products I've been trying to use up) but it was told with a fair amount of humor. The authors used themselves as the guinea pigs for all of their trials about the chemicals they were looking into, tested some of their own children's toys for the chemicals, etc. It's a very personal narrative about a big problem that affects literally every corner of the globe. (When these chemicals are showing up in the fat of polar bears, you know it's a problem, because there's no natural way for these bears to have gotten these chemicals. That means it's in the environment, and it spreads.) You might reconsider the things you let your children chew on, and what you bring into your home, if you read this. Not in a truly scary way, just as something that you should know and think about.
Finally, Shane keeps telling me lately that I should get a Nook or a Kindle. I've been wondering which is eco-friendlier, an e-reader or a paperback book that gets read several times? I don't actually know the answer. Of course, most environmentalists would say library books are the solution--and I do read library books--but some books are so good you just want to own them, and pass them around to all your friends. (Like the books listed above.) So which is better? I'm not sure, but I'm betting that when you're talking hundreds or thousands of books it probably gives the edge to the e-reader. Maybe I'll get one for Christmas. Knowing Shane, I might get one whether I want one or not. :)