Save Money. Save Time. Save The Planet.

For two years I had the pleasure of working with the Sundance Channel previewing their weekly eco series Big Ideas For A Small Planet, The Lazy Environmentalist On A Budget could almost be a companion book. Josh Dorfman leads us through the maze of what we can do to better make use of our raw materials and energy.

Green does not mean going without, green does not mean spending lots of money. Green is about making sensible choices.

Josh sets the stage in chapter one by introducing his key concepts, the three R’s, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.

I am by no means the poster child of Green, but I will bet that my carbon footprint is less than normal. Looking at the three R’s I am in total agreement with Josh. Reduce, lets all reduce the amount of resources that we consume, whether it be packaging, plastic bags, gas consumption, oh the list goes on endlessly.

Reuse, what a fine idea! One mans garbage is another mans gold. When I first met my wife I am sure she thought I was a little odd. I would buy used over new every time. Yes it saved money, but just as important, it was giving a product a new lease on life. TV’s, Computers, Cell Phones, and other consumer electronics, I don’t need the latest and greatest, I just need things that work. I run at least two radio shows a week, usually more, it is all done via telephone, and the phone I use I bought from Goodwill, and paid the whopping price of $3 for it. Incidentally it works every bit as good, if not better than a $500 wazoo new phone.

Recycle, is the third component, it is simple, but few people actually do it, preferring instead to let products end up in the land fill. The items that leap into my mind are aluminum cans, glass bottles, and plastic containers. Many people say ‘why bother’. Well all of these items have recycle value, and they also have about the same ‘half life’ as a used nuclear fuel rod, in other words, thousands of years. My wife and I live is a small town in Mississippi, it is a quiet place, and for the most part, it is a very pretty place. I took a walk this morning, and had this book on my mind. Everywhere I looked I saw trash, glass, plastic, and aluminum.

Why is this garbage here? It is simple, there is no reason to recycle, there is no monetary gain. It is easier to throw the can or bottle out of the window than recycle it. I spent some time in Alberta, Canada, you do not find this. They have adopted the idea of giving these items an intrinsic value, 10 cents for a beer can, 20 cents for a two liter plastic bottle. The levy is taken at the time you buy the product, and you get it back when you take your cans and bottles back to a recycling center. Now 10 cents might not sound much, but a garbage bag full of cans is worth somewhere between $15-$20 dollars. Now there is a reason to recycle!

Oops, I went into rant mode rather than review mode.

I like The Lazy Environmentalist On A Budget a lot, it is crammed with useful ideas. Josh tackles everything from efficient energy use, fashion, transportation, food, housing, and a raft of other subjects. One of the features that I thought was very useful is that each chapter concludes with a resource directory of the goods and services discussed.

He even manages to include some specks of humor into the dialog, my favorite is ‘In the years BG’. BG standing for Before Gore!

If you care about the planet and the legacy that we are leaving our children I would recommend that you put this book on your reading list.

You can get your copy from Amazon.

Simon Barrett

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