Regardless of what we do, humans impact the environment. We use resources and create waste. Some of us also do what we can to limit our destruction and preserve resources for the Earth. It doesn't have to be inconvenient. In fact, conserving water can be as easy as changing the brand of toothpaste you use or the underwear you buy, or so says Thomas M. Kostigen.

In his first book, The Green Book: The Everyday Guide to Saving the Planet One Simple Step at a Time, he offered a bounty of tips for lessening your impact on the planet in general. This time around, it's all about H2O. Kostigen brings his signature, easy-going stance on environmental impact to his latest work. The Green Blue Book: The Simple Water-Savings Guide to Everything in Your Life entices readers to do a little to give a lot back.

"The most important thing that you can do to save the planet right here, right now," opens Kostigen, "is to save water." By 2025, it's estimated that two-thirds of the world's populations will be struggling with shortages. He makes the case that this problem can be stopped in its tracks by some small-time interventions.

Consumers make a tremendous impact, he says, by making decisions based on "virtual water" scores, or how much water it takes to make a product and bring it to market. That's an excellent point, and he works through many areas of modern day living, pointing out common expenses and their respective scores.

The book includes an extensive product guide with detailed listings. Here we learn that brewing black tea instead of coffee, for instance, saves about 32 gallons of water per cup. And soaking beans instead of leaving them under running water reduces their gas-creating tendencies along with their water footprint.

We also learn that silk thong panties present the ecologically sensible approach to undergarments, though I'm not sure Kostigen will be sporting them anytime soon. It takes 242 gallons of water, he says, to create one pair of men's boxers.

The figures come mainly from While others were calculated by professor Arjen Hoekstra, who coined the concept of a "water footprint". Others were calculated by Kostigen based on information from various sources, all listed at the back of the book.

Unfortunately, some of Kostigen's advice struggles to make water sense. In one section, he encourages car owners to visit automatic carwashes vs. washing your car at home. But an automatic carwash leaks about 200 gallons of dirty water down the drains per session while today's at-home washes depend largely on "no-water" sprays.

In another, his encourages homeowners — specifically those in colder climates — to turn their water off while they're away. Without giving people the information they need to drain their pipes, this risks bursting pipes and potentially vast amounts of water lost.

So, Kostigen's suggestions aren't perfect. Regularly paired with snark and sense of humor, they do impress upon the reader the importance of making better choices. You can buy an apple (an estimated 18.5 gallons used each), or a pear (7.8 gallons). That, in addition to an endless number of random — but curiously helpful — facts make The Green Blue Book an enjoyable read that may, or may not, have a big impact on water conservation.

MNN homepage photo: deliormanli/iStockphoto

See also:

How to save water

Ways to save water