Vanessa Farquharson doesn't mince words in her book, Sleeping Naked Is Green, when she says that she's no stinky, granola-chomping hippy. So, reading through her book/diary about how she manages to make 366 green changes in her life makes for an entertaining read.
This is the first discussion post of the four I'll be doing on the book, each post covering a season, more or less. So, let's begin! Here comes spring...
March: In March, Vanessa starts off with a bang making some easy, palatable changes like switching to recycled paper towels and toilet paper to more hard-core changes like freezing her butt off when she turns down the thermostat and going car free on the weekends.
During this portion of her challenge, she is definitely concerned with whether or not she can keep up with a daily change and is worried about what her friends and family will think of her. In the early days, Vanessa manages to overcome her fear and regret and plunges ahead anyway. In order to mentally steel herself for the coming days, she allows herself to realize that she could always bail if things become too nuts. Little did she know what was coming.
My only issue with this chapter, and others to come, is that there are a lot of character generalizations that play on stereotypes. Since the book is geared toward a broader audience (rather than to environmentalists), I can see where she would want to distance herself from the "dirty hippy" stereotype. It makes for a funny read, but sometimes it comes off sounding somewhat mean-spirited.
April: In April, Vanessa steps it up by reducing the amount of meat she eats and making sure that it is sustainably raised. In addition, she makes a huge change and turns off her freezer. Well, maybe not so huge, since she didn't have much in it anyway, but nonetheless, she got past the mental hurdle of turning it off which is something most people don't cotton to.
I loved her interaction with the vegan about her opinion regarding beeswax toothfloss and it's ethical ramifications; the story about trying to buy paper towels at the Green Living Show; and the giddiness she has at the thought that Margaret Atwood might, possibly, look at her blog. Classic enthusiasm from Vanessa.
My only problem with this chapter is that when I reread it, it makes me think of Stephen Baldwin. Why, you ask? Because I read it on the plane home from NY and he happened to be sitting several rows in front of me in coach and was taking every opportunity to stand up and be noticed.
May: May's highlights include not using the oven and air-conditioner, switching to natural deodorant, buying carbon offsets for travel, unplugging the fridge and letting that yellow mellow.
It was nice to see that her friends and family were so supportive of her goals that, for her birthday, nobody seemed to give her gifts that would sabotage them. Although it sounds like she wouldn't have minded someone breaking the "rules", it's encouraging to hear that they didn't disregard her project and preferences like so many family and friends do.
When it came to letting her pee mellow, she quickly decided that every other flush or so was preferable to a steeping bowl of stinky pee that generally occurs unless you drink a ton of water, thereby cancelling out the amount being flushed. On the day that she unplugged her fridge, nothing exactly eventful occurred so there's not much reported. Yet. I suspect we'll hear more about it in later chapters.
So far, this book has been highly entertaining and fun to read through. I only wish that there were follow-ups in each section that told us whether she stuck with the change long-term (after her challenge was over) or later found something better that replace the change.
What did you think of the first three chapters?