With so much conflicting information, and quite a lot of green-washing, out there about reducing our carbon footprints and living more sustainable lives, a book that helps you make better choices is very welcome. Georgina Wilson-Powell’s Is it really green? is just that book.
The first question to answer is whether or not the fact that this book has been printed is really green. I could have chosen to get it as an ebook, but I find that anything more like a textbook, where I might want to move around in the book rather than just read from start to finish, is better as a physical book. In this case, Is it really green? is printed on recycled, matte paper using vegetable inks and is produced with as minimal emissions as possible. The production and use of ebook readers has a carbon footprint too. In order to make using an ebook reader greener than reading print books, you’d need to read 25 ebooks a year. So, if you read fewer than 25 books in a year, it’s greener to read them as physical books. I checked my ebook reader to see how many ebooks I’d read last year and it was 24. I read a mix of ebooks and physical books and probably read just as many physical books as I did ebooks. This year I’ll be tracking it and am aiming to read at least 25 ebooks. At the end of March, I’d read six ebooks and five print books, so not a bad start to the year.
Is it really green? has short answers to many questions divided into areas such as Green Kitchen, Green Wardrobe, Green Technology, Travel, Family and Relationships and Green Shopping. My motivation for buying the book was to answer the question whether washing up by hand is greener than using a dishwasher. Newer, efficient dishwashers are greener than washing up by hand, but getting a dishwasher means re-doing my entire kitchen so it’ll have to wait for now. For a lot of the questions, the answer is a variation of ‘it depends’ because it does depend on where you live, how you act, and what’s available to you. Wilson-Powell gives you the information you need to assess your situation and make the greenest choice.
While my life is relatively low carbon, I still found a few more things I could easily change that would help. There was also plenty in there I could do but will take a bit more time and effort. This book helps to identify a few steps that you can easily take. And when those become habit, there are more ideas. I think this is a book I’ll come back to regularly.