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'365 Ways to Live Green'

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[June 18, 2008]  "365 Ways to Live Green." Diane Gow McDilda, Adams Media, 2008, 184 pages.

InsuranceReview by
Richard Sumrall

Global warming. Gashouse emissions. Carbon footprints. These are some of the buzzwords associated with the controversy surrounding climate change and its impact on human society. In her new book, "365 Ways to Live Green," author and environmental journalist Diane Gow McDilda offers a practical guide to "going green" and how to take a more ecological approach to saving the planet. The book's table of contents offers 20 chapter selections that help you make green choices for your home and yard, community, employment, travel, recycling, and planning your legacy.

At the beginning of the book there's a fun quiz that measures your eco-footprint. Honest answers to the 10 questions will tell you if your footprint is (a) petite and delicate (the best), (b) potentially eco-friendly, or (c) a footprint that rivals Sasquatch.

Let's look at some of the 365 ways McDilda teaches us to be eco-friendly inhabitants of planet Earth.

Auto Repair

"When in your home and yard"

Earth-friendly procedures at home usually start with cleaning the house and controlling pests. You can choose cleaning solutions that are free of dyes, fragrances and caustic chemicals by using more natural substances such as vinegar, borax, lemon juice and alcohol. McDilda reminds us that when attacking pests, we should always "kill pests, not the environment." The best way to get rid of pests in the home is to remove anything that attracts them. You can use natural substances for pest control, or you can introduce beneficial insects and animals to your property. Ladybugs and lacewings feed on aphids and cinch bugs, while lizards and frogs love to dine on caterpillars and grubs.

"When in your community"

Step one to developing an eco-friendly community is to become an advocate and get involved. Learning to become an activist means getting in touch with your elected representatives, taking the time to compose well-crafted letters and e-mails, organizing public hearings and forums, and lobbying specific corporations and economic interests. The highest forms of activism are to spearhead a cause of your own, use the Internet as a method of change and become politically involved in a party that supports your causes and beliefs (for example the Green Party of the United States or the Greens/Green Party USA).

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"When teaching your kids"

A cornerstone of the green movement philosophy is to inspire children with a passionate belief in its ideals. Our actions today will determine if future generations inherit a planet that is more or less polluted.

One example is the issue of diapers. According to McDilda, some babies may be allergic to the chemicals, dyes or fragrances added during the manufacture of disposable diapers, while other babies may be susceptible to cloth diapers that are soiled or improperly washed. It is important to remember that disposable diapers contribute a sizable quantity of solid material to landfills, specifically their plastic composition and the human waste they contain.

Everyone knows that babies and children need their sleep. McDilda suggests that you help them get some "green sleep." Green sleep encourages prudent, environmental choices for the manufacture of mattresses, fabrics, bedding and blankets. Don't forget about the quality nap time in strollers and slings; construction of these items can include harmful plastics or PVC coverings.


One of the most profound things adults can do for their children is to encourage them to "look at the life around you." McDilda explains that firsthand experiences in natural settings can open a child's eyes to the complexity and beauty of the natural world. Trips to local parks or farms offer a chance to examine the diversity of wildlife, insects and other living creatures, while a visit to pick fruit in an orchard gives children a hands-on (literally) experience.

According to the author, "making a difference is easier than you think. ... You can save the planet one day at a time." Reading "365 Ways to Live Green" is a great way to start that process.

[Text from file received from Richard Sumrall, Lincoln Public Library District]


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