________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 8. . . .October 23, 2009


Simply Going Green in 3 Years or Less.

Kaayla Canfield.
Calgary, AB: Kaayla Canfield Publishing (www.simplygoinggreen.ca), 2008.
155 pp., pbk., $29.95.
ISBN 978-0-9810227-0-3.

Grades 9 and up / Ages 14 and up.

Review by Thomas F. Chambers.

** /4



Use glass jars for food storage, and use the plastic containers for non food items. Take your plastic bags back to the grocery store to reuse again, and once they are worn out use cloth bags and recycle the plastic bags.

The most basic reason to recycle is that by recycling it takes less energy, money, and less of the earth’s resources, than to start from scratch and make a new item. By recycling, you’re throwing out less trash and therefore there is less green house gas emissions coming from our landfills. Organic matter makes up about 33% of our waste in the landfills, and it emits methane gas, which can be solved by composting.

As the title suggests, Simply Going Green presents a plan to help readers become “greener” over a three-year period. It is filled with many innovative and interesting “going green” suggestions most people can easily accomplish and some impractical ones that are best ignored. There is a space beside each suggestion where readers are encouraged to put a check mark after successfully completing a task in order to record their progress. The book is divided into fourteen chapters of varying lengths.

     Simply Going Green contains a Glossary plus a mini dictionary of Eco-Green Terms. It also has many interesting and useful web sites. Researching these must have taken the author a great deal of time. They are one of the book’s most useful assets. The book contains many unusual and little known facts (at least to this reviewer). It also includes as “facts” a number of claims which seem very difficult to prove. “For every kilowatt hour of electricity wasted----power plants pump out about 700 grams of CO2 into our atmosphere” is one example. The book also states that “it takes 500 years for a disposable diaper to decompose.” Since they have only been around for about a generation, how does anyone know? Each chapter also contains numerous “green” Tips. One common sense Tip is to sweep your driveway instead of cleaning it with a hose. A number of suggestions for going green seem very impractical. One is to “reuse dish, shower, sink and laundry water” which “comprise 50-80% of residential waste water.” In theory, this makes ecological sense, but how does one reuse water after showering or washing dishes? Another idea to save on water is to use old boots as planters instead of clay pots. While this may appeal to some people, others may consider old boots to be quite ugly and best put into a landfill.

     Electric cars are recommended over regular cars. They make no sound and have no emissions. However, they can only travel for 200 miles before needing to be recharged. This make them impractical for all but city use, and many municipalities are urging greater use of public transport to avoid congestion in city streets and to cut down on parking problems. Even the Canadian Zenn car, which can only travel 248.5 miles before needing to be recharged, is impractical in much of the country.

     One of the most popular ideas for going green makes little sense for many Canadians. “The vast majority of our produce is trucked, flown or shipped from far away places. Not only is that bad for our local farmers, it also means that most of your supper items have travelled between 2,424 to 4,023 kilometres to reach your plate.” Therefore, we should buy only locally grown food. The problem with this is that little food is grown in much of Canada. Therefore, without the chance to buy some of the many imported fruits and vegetables from Central and South America during the long winter, our diets would be very unhealthy.

     The chapter on home renovations is one of the most interesting and has some of the best ideas. There are many products mentioned here of which readers may not be aware. For instance, lyptus hardwood flooring is made from eucalyptus trees which reach maturity faster than other trees. This chapter also has some questionable ideas. It is recommended that particle board, made from sawdust and wood shavings, not be used because it is made with formaldehyde. If not used in this fashion, what will happen to sawdust? It used to be burned which was not good for the environment.

     Author, Kaayla Canfield has a Project Management Certificate from Mount Royal College, writes books and runs a business, Sustainable Lifestyle Consulting. Previously, she worked in the construction industry.


Thomas F. Chambers, a retired college teacher, lives in North Bay, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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