Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Favorite book of the year!

Came across this collection of essays edited by Dan Gutman when I visited his web site, and it is a wonderful compendium of useful tips for reducing impact on the environment told in the engaging individual voices of popular children's authors. This is an important book, because children sometimes do not think about recycling, or saving energy, but when they learn about it, become avid practitioners. That the tips from from authors they like makes it even more valuable.

The focus of every essay is that each of us can do small things that add up to a big difference. Rick Riordan talks about using rechargable batteries. Johanna Hurwitz talks about passing on magazines, yarn and other things instead of buying new or throwing things out. Bruce Coville talks about turning off the television so advertisements don't affect us. Lois Lowry rhapsodizes about hanging sheets out to dry. All practical suggestions, many of them funny, and written in short entries that would make excellent class read alouds. I need to purchase an additional copy!

This is a topic dear to my heart, so I'll bore you with the top ten ways I try to conserve resources. They aren't hard, and if everyone tried just one it could make a big difference.

10. Use a reel mower to cut the lawn. Good exercise!
9. Compost kitchen scraps for garden.
8. Eat less meat. (It's too much work and expense anyway!)
7. Use cloth gift bags, which are easier than wrapping paper.
6. Print overdue slips on papers others print and don't pick up.
5. Hang laundry out to dry.
4. Keep thermostat at 58 all winter; don't have air conditioning.
3. Use cloth bags for shopping; reusable containers for lunches.
2. Bike to work and drive only twice a month.
1. Shop for clothing and household items at the thrift store.

The last one was only mentioned by Jerry Spinelli, but is one that I think important. It makes me feel slightly better about the mounds of jeans and t shirts and shorts and jackets and sweaters that my children seem to need. They are also fond of hand-me-downs, and I've even been able to cater to my high schooler's request for brand names. I buy my own clothes there as well, since jackets and slacks are about $2 and shoes about $3. Since moving piles of books around takes a heavy toll on my wardrobe, I can't imagine doing anything else. Plus, shopping at thrift stores keeps the money local. And I occasionally find obnoxious vintage polyester dresses!

Okay. Enough soap box.

Johanna Hurwitz's link above is from a website called Authors Among Us, which lists writers who are/were also librarians. Very fun!


Steve Brezenoff said...

Excellent list! I do most of those things, though not all. A few of them are extra hard with our new son, but we're working on it!

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