The ScienceBlogs Book Club

This book review was originally posted by GrrlScientist on Living the Scientific Life.

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Carbon footprints, global warming, green living — are these phrases an inconvenient truth that keep you awake at night, wondering how you can live in a more environmentally friendly way? For many people, merely contemplating these things is enough to make them give up trying to help the earth before they even start! But before you allow yourself to become discouraged, there is a book out there that will inspire you to make changes in your life that are beneficial to the earth; Sleeping Naked Is Green: How an Eco-Cynic Unplugged Her Fridge, Sold Her Car, and Found Love in 366 Days (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 2009) by Vanessa Farquharson.

This amusing and chatty book is both educational and irreverent, putting to death the notion that all environmentalists and “greenies” take themselves far too seriously. The idea behind writing and publishing this book was to provide inspiration to everyman, to convince the public that we all can make small changes to our lives that result in less damage to the environment, and to show people how easy (or difficult) those changes are to make.

Farquharson is a journalist with a taste for the finer things in life. But unable to shake her growing environmental worries three weeks after watching Al Gore film’s An Inconvenient Truth, she decides to change her life to become more environmentally friendly. Her strategy is to make one change each day for one year, announce it to the public on a blog created specifically for this purpose, and to write about that change; how it helped preserve the environment and how disruptive to her life that particular change ended up being. The author makes small changes, like giving up paper towels, to large changes, like unplugging her refrigerator (something that I have long contemplated doing, but cannot due to the wildlife roaming my apartment). Farquharson’s cat also makes changes, like changing to corn cob litter, which the author enthuses about. (After years of pet care experience, I always recommend corn cob litter to all my cat and small animal clients as being the best litter to use in small NYC apartments.)

Farquharson’s rather dry and sometimes sardonic sense of humor combined with a wonderful storytelling instinct makes her book more than just a “how to” guide or checklist; it is a personal journal/journey; informative and interesting in turns, and always amusing. I often felt like we were friends, sitting in a coffee shop and talking about a variety of topics from how to save the environment without smelling bad to looking for love. She writes about how certain “green” lifestyle changes didn’t work out so well for her (but could work better for other people) and discusses what I think is her strongest criticism of the green movement: the inability of individuals to calculate how important each lifestyle change is to the environment, which leaves those who wish to change their habits floundering around in the dark trying to decide which changes have the most impact. I agree with Farquharson that it would be immensely satisfying to be able to visualize the importance of one’s changes, and would likely broaden the appeal of the environmental movement overall.

There were a few lifestyle changes that Farquharson made that were not well explained, and I mention these because I was genuinely confused, not because I am trying to split hairs. The author doesn’t say how giving up chewing gum or stopping Q-tips use help save the environment, for example, and I always thought that using a microwave was more environmentally-friendly than using either an electric or gas-powered range, yet she advocates not purchasing one (but there is no explanation why).

This humorous book provides an accessible and realistic look into one woman’s struggle to make personal lifestyle changes that benefit her community and her world. Even though this book originally was published as a series of blog entries, this is the first example of a book that I’ve read that successfully makes that magical leap from blog to book. Additionally, unlike a blog, it is possible to read this book on the subway or an airplane, or when you lack internet access. And without getting eyestrain. Since I am also trying to “reduce, reuse and recycle,” and because I think you will really like this book, I am happy to mail my copy of Sleeping Naked Is Green to the first person who emails me or comments here asking for it.

Vanessa Farquharson is an arts reporter and film critic at the National Post, based in Toronto, Canada. Her blog, Green as a Thistle, tracked her year-long green adventure. She has been published in Eye Weekly and the Ottawa Citizen, profiled on Treehugger.com and featured numerous times on CBC Radio.

Comments

  1. #1 Kevin W. Parker
    June 30, 2009

    My wife would really enjoy that book, if it’s not claimed yet.

  2. #2 Kevin W. Parker
    June 30, 2009

    Never mind, didn’t read the fine print. ;)

  3. #3 Molly
    July 11, 2009

    what fine print? I’d like to read that book too and I don’t anticipate finding it at my local used bookstore anytime soon (powells.com)

  4. #4 hiphop
    July 14, 2009

    My wife would really enjoy that book, if it’s not claimed yet.

  5. #5 Lillia Carley
    September 20, 2009

    I would like to have a copy of the book to read with my 15 ECO club members. We are still working on a website through freeweb – Palo Verde H. S. Eco Club, Las Vegas, NV.

  6. #6 sikiş
    September 20, 2009

    Is there any way to specify a idle/timeout setting when initiating the ssh client session to the remote server? I would like to not modify the default behavior of SSH, just a single instance from time to time. If possible, please post here would be a nice addition.

  7. #7 PETER
    September 22, 2009

    microwaves waste 50% of the electrical energy you put in. An 850W microwave draws 1600W. If you want to heat something burn gas. The electricity you use incorporates significant losses in generation and transmission before you get to use it. Q-tips aren’t biodegradeable. Where does the gum come from for chewing gum? and what happens after you (or at least most other people except you) finish with it?

  8. #8 Chat odaları
    October 17, 2009

    My wife would really enjoy that book, if it’s not claimed yet

  9. #9 sevişme
    November 14, 2009

    It looks plausible. The results seem sensible, and, as G and T say, people think they understand it. It depends on each layer receiving and absorbing radiation from above and below, and re-radiating half up and half down as heat energy, capable of raising temperature.

  10. #10 zayıflama
    December 27, 2009

    thanks for post I’d like to read that book

  11. #11 Sikiş Hikayeleri
    March 13, 2010

    I have watched bings back links more than double in the past few days. Although I have not used it all that much I still think google tops them all but I will continue to use bing to give a better opinion.

  12. #12 Sikiş Hikayeleri
    March 13, 2010

    I have watched bings back links more than double in the past few days. Although I have not used it all that much I still think google tops them all but I will continue to use bing to give a better opinion.

  13. #13 Sikiş Hikayeleri
    March 13, 2010

    t works well on all 3 of the levels she’s delineated: Information Distributions Network, Microblog and Social Network

  14. #14 film izle
    September 29, 2010

    This amusing and chatty book is both educational and irreverent, putting to death the notion that all environmentalists and “greenies” take themselves far too seriously. The idea behind writing and publishing this book was to provide inspiration to everyman, to convince the public that we all can make small changes to our lives that result in less damage to the environment, and to show people how easy (or difficult) those changes are to make.

  15. #15 Devall Krem
    December 13, 2010

    My wife would really enjoy that book, if it’s not claimed yet.

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    December 13, 2010

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  17. #17 düzce haber
    December 15, 2010

    My wife would really enjoy that book, if it’s not claimed yet..

  18. #18 Power Balance
    December 17, 2010

    They make is so easy at presenting information that once you get the hang of it you never want to have to miss them again.

  19. #19 moliva
    February 4, 2011

    My wife would really enjoy that book, if it’s not claimed yet

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