Earlier this week, I was inspired by Amy's post about tackling "nagging" tasks. While I wish the following hadn't become a nagging task, I finally felt motivated to get it done. To what am I referring? Last year, right before Natalie was born, I read a book titled Go Green, Save Green by Nancy Sleeth. It was very informative and practical, and I really wanted to process it and share it with all of you.
There are way too many tips in this book to highlight in a single post, so I'll just share some of my favorite ideas and quotes:
I love the prayer in the introduction of the book, which was written by the author's husband, Dr. Matthew Sleeth: "Give me a thankful heart, and free me from my wasteful habits." Amen!
The book is divided into 11 chapters that address various areas of our lives such as home, entertainment, school, church and community. In the chapter about "greening" our homes, Sleeth's simple and straightforward plan is to "consume less, save more." She includes a list of no-cost changes we can make to save both energy and money, such as doing laundry in cold water, adjusting the thermostat 3 degrees up/down depending on the season, and reducing shower time by just two minutes. This chapter also inspired Eric and me to sign up for an energy audit for our home, a topic which I will save for a separate post.
Nancy shares a list of household items that total about $100 in initial cost but are an investment for saving in other ways: 10 reusable grocery bags, 1 water filter pitcher (to encourage drinking H20 instead of other beverages), 2 spray bottles for mixing homemade cleaners, 5 CFL bulbs (we gave these to our dads and brother-in-law for Christmas this past year), 2 low-flow showerheads, 10 handkerchiefs (eww, I haven't gotten to this point yet!), 2 power strips (to decrease your use of phantom energy), and 1 furnace filter. (Later in the book, she suggests packaging some of these items together to make a practical wedding gift, which I think is a neat idea!)
Another awesome aspect of this book is that each chapter ends with a checklist for ways to reduce consumption and save money, followed by ideas for sharing some of your savings with others in a relevant way. For example, in the chapter about food, Sleeth suggests you bake your own bread and grow garden produce. With some of your financial surplus, you could donate to an organization that fights malnutrition or a ministry that seeks to provide clean water in impoverished areas. Very cool.
Love this quote, which was actually taken from Serve God, Save the Planet: "Our relationship to God's gifts can be one of entitlement, ignorance and gluttony, or one of praise, thanks and temperance." That last word is the one that really hit home with me while reading this book--temperance: avoiding excess, using resources in moderation, showing self-restraint.
The transportation chapter was enlightening for me, as it's not something I think about very much. Sleeth writes that driving an SUV that gets 13 mpg for one year wastes more energy than leaving the refrigerator door open for 6 years or the bathroom light on for 30 years! She also listed a site where you can evaluate the energy efficiency of your current car. I looked up both of our cars, and you can see the corresponding data if you're interested by clicking here.
You might be surprised that a book on green living contains a chapter about honoring the Sabbath. But as Sleeth states, we must shift our focus "from productivity to rest, success to service, material gain to spiritual good, and from the god of money to the God of love." She says that of all the steps her family has taken in the area of environmental stewardship, honoring the Sabbath has given them the most joy! They don't run errands, they have a simple noon meal of soup and bread and they restrict their use of technology. Definitely food for thought.
I hope you've read thus far--I know this post went all over the place, and I just made a drop in the bucket in regards to sharing about the book, but that's an appropriate metaphor for my own green journey! I'm glad I finally (smile) got around to writing this review. I enjoyed skimming the book again, and hope some of you will check it out!