Monday, 26 September 2011

Going Green The Essential Guide

Going Green, the Essential Guise is by Cora Lydon and published by Need 2 Know Books at £9.99.

The book contains advice on how to reduce one's carbon footprint, how to save energy at home and where to find eco-friendly products.

The book contains many practical hints of how one can make do and mend, grow your own food, etc., hints that our parents or our grandparents would have known about, it also contains more up-to-date information on how we can live a more sustainable life, both at home and at work.

A great deal of the book is devoted to the alleged problems of global warming, and the alleged dangers of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is, of course, a deadly poison. Just ask any carbon fixing plant. (EDITOR: Yes, that was some gentle sarcasm)

Whilst there are some gems in this book (how to drive in a greener way, how to ensure one's vehicles are maintained for optimal and, therefore, greener performance) there are some things that make it sound like a parody of green living articles of the "how to grow plants in a yoghurt pot" variety churned out in the 1970s and 1980s.

The book recommends using "green" and so-called "eco-friendly" household products. But my wife remarked: "It is all very well recommending these greener products, but if they do not do the job they are designed to do, what is the point of spending extra money on them?"

We used the products of one firm who make washing liquids that contains bentonite, a clay that is notorious for its stickiness. It nearly destroyed our washing machine and our dishwasher by clogging them up. Their range of products, in general, did not work as well as their non-green products, so as twice the amount had to be used, their eco-friendly claims can be called into question.

The book also advocates more and better recycling at work. That's a fair point. But the author calls for this to be achieved by the stick of legislation and so-called green taxes, rather than the carrot of assistance and rewards for good behaviour. For example, the vast majority of councils have NO business recycling facilities at all. This, rather than increased "green" taxes should be addressed, one would have thought.

At least some of what the author promotes is provably nonsense. She repeats the bogus claim that the search engine Blackle saves energy because it uses a black screen, so saves energy. Thirty seconds of research on Google (or Blackle, which uses Google for its searches) disproved this claim. This research even pointing out that it could, with modern monitors, actually use MORE energy than it saves. (EDITOR: One hopes that the other claims in the book have been better researched.)

The book also recommends that we should consider volunteering as a holiday option. Specifically mentioning working with elephants in Thailand. Now, this is where the book and I part company. Let's take a typical example. A mother and father and two children who live in England. The parents both have to work and they can get from work between seven and fourteen days for their one holiday. Would they want them and their children to spend up to 40 hours of their holiday flying in cramped and uncomfortable economy seats, to then work for free?

Or to spend a total of four to six hours of their holiday flying to a beach holiday in Spain so that they can have a refreshing break from work?

This idea reminds me of when the great and the good of the "green elite" all flew -business class, mind! to the super-exclusive resort of Cancun and then released an edict to the rest of us that we should not be allowed to fly to Spain for a week's holiday.

There are some good points in this book, and some potentially useful resources, but some of it does need to be taken with a pinch of salt. If salt is allowed these days.

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