Book review: Sleeping Naked is Green
Monday, July 6, 2009 - 19:44
Last week, I read the interview between MNN and Canadian journalist Vanessa Farquharson promoting her new book, Sleeping Naked is Green: How an Eco-Cynic Unplugged Her Fridge, Sold Her Car and Found Love in 366 Days. Intrigued and having a nine-hour car ride ahead of me for Independence Day weekend, I bought the book.
For a girl who loves her meat, does her best to be environmentally conscious and is most certainly not proud, this book was perfect. Vanessa begins as so many of us do: recycling when she can, volunteering for local events and eating some organic foods, but nothing radical, nothing to boast about. In fact, she admits many of her hardships in the book as she gripes over how natural shampoos and conditioners smell horrible and how she will not give up her weekly alcoholic indulgences. Farquharson is realistic to the core and offers solace to an environmentalist such as myself, looking for someone who is eco-friendly but without a metaphoric tattoo on his forehead that says, "I HAVE NO CARBON FOOTPRINT!"
The book has also inspired me. She mentions, but does not try, the No 'Poo movement, in which participants forego shampoo and conditioner altogether, using only baking soda and vinegar to cleanse the hair and help restore its natural oil balance. Yes, this sounds like a third-grade science project, but after reading up online, including a blog by MNN's own Jenn Savedge, I decided to give it a whirl. I mixed about a tablespoon of baking soda with a cup of water and scrubbed this into my scalp while showering. I then rinsed and took about a cup of vinegar and poured it over my hair. *WARNING: This is shockingly cold.* I then rinsed and let my hair air-dry. My first fear was that I would smell like a bag of my favorite sea salt potato chips. On the contrary, my hair had little to no odor. It then dried and the results were quite satisfying: my scalp was clean with no nasty oils and my hair was shiny, not greasy. I plan on keeping this up as long as I'm getting these hair-flipping results. Take that, Herbal Essences!
There are other easy challenges that Farquharson tackles in the book, such as placing a brick or water bottle in the back of her toilet tank. Did you know that toilet flushing uses the most amount of water per appliance in the typical American household? The brick or water bottle displaces some of the water, so less is used per flush. She also challenges herself to only buy local food in her home province of Ontario. Interested in this local eating challenge? Support your local farmers and visit MNN's local food guide to find out what's home-grown in your state, along with some fabulous recipes.
After reading Sleeping Naked is Green, not only did I learn some great ways to reduce my carbon footprint, but also that others are just as frustrated as I am about the pitfalls and industrial snares that plague the dirt path to achieving "green." It also happens to be a great little narrative, as Farquharson describes daily life as a journalist and young Canadian single, visits family and finds love. Dropping a little green on this book will only increase the green you will find after turning to the back cover.
Check out Vanessa Farquharson's website: www.greenasathistle.com
Photos: greenasathistle.com, manicorganic.wordpress.com
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