As the book Big Green Purse by Diane MacEachern is primarily aimed at women, I asked my wife to read it first. She gave me a sigh, rolled her eyes and said she would skim it, but it ended up being so interesting she read it cover to cover. Here’s a direct quote (honest!):
“This is one of the most informative and life changing books I’ve ever read. It beats those ‘self-help’ books hands down as this actually contains practical information that you can use and apply for the rest of your life.”
Women spend eight-five cents of every dollar in the US marketplace. Big Green Purse is about harnessing that spending power to improve the environment, influence manufacturers and to help you and your family to live a simpler, cleaner and healthier life.
Although my wife recommends reading the whole book, for those that are short on time it’s broken into digestable chunks, such as cars, produce, cosmetics, kids and babies, and so on. Even if you don’t read the whole chapter there is a wrap up section at the end which summarizes the main points.
She found it extremely interesting as it gave lots of excellent facts and statistics but doesn’t lay on a guilt-trip. However you might feel unwell after reading about all the crap we’re putting into our bodies… It makes you want to change your lifestyle for the better and shows easy ways to do this without spending any more money.
There are lots of practical tips and suggestions for which products to buy and avoid. These tips are actually useful rather than generic “buy natural” advice you often get. The book has seven Big Green Purse shopping principles:
- Buy less
- Read the label
- Support sustainable standards
- Look for third party verification
- Choose fewer ingredients
- Pick less packaging
- Buy local
Instead of just telling us the three R’s (Reduce, Reuse, Recyle) Diane actually tells us how we can do it. She expands on information that most of us know at least a little bit about, and my wife picked up a few new facts as well:
- Clean, don’t sterilize. Avoid anti-bacterial products such as soaps and personal care products as they do more harm than good
- Avoid fragrances, phthalates, parabens and triclosan in cosmetics and personal care products
- Buy sustainable seafood with the MSC label and select small fish like trout over the larger predators like tuna and seabass
- Only certain types of plastics can be recycled – if you have to buy items in plastic, buy ones that can easily be recycled
- Plant an eco-lawn as a great alternative to a traditional lawn
- If you plant three trees on the west side of your home you can trim your air-conditioning bill by up to 30% due to the shade they create
In summary it’s a great reference book to have on hand when you go shopping for certain products and although it’s geared to women, it has many ideas that men and women would equally find interesting. Finally, my wife says “buy this book and lend to all your friends!”
So you want a copy? It’s currently available for an absolute bargain of around $12 from Amazon (or £8 in the UK). Life Goggles will also be giving away a copy, though we have a couple of other competitions planned for the next two weeks, so stay tuned via RSS or email for your chance to win one.