Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Reading Your Way to a Better Tomorrow

That's right kids, reading is still a good thing to do. In fact, YOUR'RE DOING IT RIGHT NOW!

But commentary about whether reading a book is the same as reading a blog aside (a subject In intend to tackle in a column back in that fuddy-duddy old newspaper of ours), this is a blog telling you to read books, well at least some books. And maybe a blog....

OK, what I'm trying to say here is Americans have always been a people who believe in self improvement.

And all too often, we turn to the experts to do so. Which is why the self-help section of the Barns & Noble off Papermill Road is larger than the literature section.

So if we're willing to to read a book or two to improve ourselves, how about the planet?

OK, let's start small.

How about instead of saving the world, we just buy junior some green school supplies.

For this we turn not to some tree-killing paperback, but my favorite sardonic on-line magazine, Grist.

In this article by Holly Richmond, we can find about everything from notebooks made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper, to mechanical pencils which reuse materials from car headlights.

No seriously.

If you're looking for something a little more comprehensive, try a book with the title "A Community Guide to Environmental Health."

This $28 book has a FREE! digital version you can download. It contains handy hints on everything from how to build a compost toilet in your own back-yard assuming you hate your neighbors, (toilets consumer 40 of the books 600 pages, so there is lots to choose from), schematic drawings of simple fly and roach traps, to disinfecting water using sunlight or lime juice.

It even teaches communities how to organize opposition to harm from oil companies, chemical plants and mining.

But maybe, instead of facing down the giants of industry, you would just like to cut down on the impact your household's everyday activities have on the environment on which it depends.

For that, there's "The Green Book," by Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas Costigan.

As reviewed by my fellow Mercury blogger, Business Editor, voracious reader and occasional supreme being Michelle Karas, in her book-review blog, "Balancing the Books," this book includes no end of ways we could do better.

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