Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Nonfiction Inspection: Ecoholic by Adria Vasil

Title: Ecoholic
Subtitle: (when you're addicted to the planet) Your guide to the most environmentally friendly information, products, and services.
Author: Adria Vasil
Topic: Green Living
Chapter Titles: Bathroom Confidential, What Not to Wear, Green's Anatomy, Food for Thought, No Kidding Around, Homeward Bound, Home Improvement, Outer Space, I Get Around, I's All Fun and Games, You Work Hard for Your Money
Format: Paperback

Precis: Ecoholic is a comprehensive guide to all things pro-environment. Vasil helps us learn what our options are for green living in almost every aspect of our lives. She warns us about harmful chemicals in our normal mainstream products and suggests alternative products or solutions to replace the sometimes harmful ones we have now. As you can see from the chapters list, it covers pretty much every aspect of our life, from personal care to tourism, vacuum cleaners dust to camping, baby stuff to pets. While she has a greener solution for most of the things that we do everyday, in the introduction she tells us to "just do what you can."

Verdict: I Heart It. Here's the thing. Usually when I pick up an eco book, I feel preached to. I feel like I'm the most awful person on earth because I can't afford the $7/gallon for organic milk and I drive a non-hybrid car. It usually makes me feel like the things I am doing to save my planet are not good enough. It's not so with this book. Vasil gives us knowledge, not judgement, and it's up to us to decide what to do with it. I learned a lot of things in here that I had never heard before like which sunscreens and shampoos are better (boy did I have that wrong) and that candles are emitting a whole lotta crap I didn't know they were. I've been eco-conscious for as long as I can remember, thanks to Target who used to produce a newsletter for kids about the environment that you could pick up in the store when you went with your mom. I didn't grow up with treehugger parents, but Monster and I grow our plants and gardens organically (always have!), use not just reusable grocery bags but reusable produce ones as well, and have vehicles that get at least 25 mpg. We do the things we can like recycling even though our city doesn't offer curbside. So I consider myself to have an above-average familiarity with all things environmental, but I still learned a lot from this book. It has such a great reference-type format. It's very similar to a formulary like health insurance companies use for which drugs are approved for which diseases and which ones they're not going to cover. You look up your eco-illness in here, and you'll get a list of what is awesome, what is almost awesome, and what is pretty much awful. I didn't visit every website that is referenced (and there are a lot of them!) but I did visit several, and I found them very helpful. I definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a comprehensive eco-friendly guide to living. It far surpasses every single one I've seen before.

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