The Green Year: 365 Small things you can do to make a big difference

The Green Year makes the perfect gift for either the seasoned treehugger or the emerging eco-phile. How is it possible for this book to appeal to readers on both ends of the green spectrum? Well, the tips manage to be simple for the newbies and novel enough for the treehugger’s bag of tricks.
green-year by jodi helmer

Sure, you’ll find the usual suggestions for switching out light bulbs and turning down the thermostat in the winter. But did you know that filling your gas tank at night is greener than filling it during the day? Or where to donate an old bridesmaid’s dress? Or how to give your shoes an eco-friendly shine? The Green Year not only answers these questions but directs you to helpful websites and lets you know exactly how much energy you can save by following its advice.

The book offers 365 tips: one for each day of the year. Most of them are season-appropriate; for example, around October you’ll find several ways to make Halloween a little greener, and in the summer you’ll hear about air conditioners and sunscreen. This format sets The Green Year apart from other handbooks—but it also makes it difficult to navigate. There’s no table of contents or index, so if you read a great idea about replacing liquid body wash with bars of soap and want to reference it later, you either have to remember what day of the year it’s on (October 28th) or flip through the entire book hunting it down.

Some of the tips might fall on the wrong day of the calendar depending where you live. March 27th has us closing curtains to save energy during the winter—but it’s already spring! Author Jodi Helmer has us planning our vegetable gardens on April 28th, which is when I planted mine this year. So while the tips are excellent, it could prove difficult to use the book as it’s intended.

Overall, The Green Year is a worthwhile read. Every single idea takes very little time or effort, and many of them will save you money in the long run. I’ve already dog-eared my copy in anticipation of all the small changes I plan to make in 2010.

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