“In which our tofu-hating, imported-wine-loving heroine tries to make peace with the hippies and discover her inner eco-phile.”
That was the chapter heading in Sleeping Naked Is Green: How an Eco-Cynic Unplugged Her Fridge, Sold Her Car, and Found Love in 366 Days by Vanessa Farquharson that reeled me in. Ever since the thing about burning turtles in the BP oil spill, I’ve been trying to be more environmentally conscious. Something I read somewhere led me to this book – and that sentence led the book OUT of Borders and into my home. Quickly off the ever so growing “To be Read” bookcase and next to my bed for my nightly reading.
Each day for 366 days (it was a leap year) Vanessa introduced a green change into her life – and then kept up with it. Some were sort of easy (“buy spices in bulk”), some astonishingly hard (giving up her car! turning off fridge – and maybe WORST – no baths, just showers!). Some were silly. Some were goofy. But she kept up with all of them after introducing them.
So I learned some new green ideas. And I also laughed harder than I have at any book since Anne LaMott’s. You know, the kind of laughing that if you had just taken a sip of water, it would soon be all over your room – hearty rib-shaking guffaws.
She also wrote about the blog she kept during this process (which became this book). And falling in love.
And the disaster scene when her “I refuse to be even a tiny green” sister house sits for her and ignores her lengthy list of green household rules, then sets the apartment on fire with the teapot, necessitating their mom to come and take over.
That whole section is crazy funny – sister putting leftover takeout in the surreptitiously plugged in fridge’s freezer (yes, Vanessa turned off her fridge) which she of course then unplugged (leaving the food to rot & explode). Mom falling down the stairs because she wanted to leave the lights off when she went down to fetch ibuprofen (“migraine from “the strain of staring at words on a page rather than images on a screen, sheer pop-culture withdrawal, or most likely, the stress of cleaning up after my sister”). The excerpts from the 5 page note from the not-environmentalist family to Vanessa are among the funniest parts of the book (“Why am I here? Can’t find sugar for coffee. Oh no, coffee also needs grinding. Wait, found grinder. Oh and sugar is on counter. Now coffee has big slumps. At this point, considering wine for breakfast. oh NO – sugar is SALT!! I need Starbucks.”
Vanessa is 28 and she rails against the ‘smug hippies’ and then finds herself becoming some of that (“stopped shaving legs”, etc.)
I’m not doing it justice, as I’d have to just copy in half the book – let’s just say that I got some thought-provoking green tips but I also got a HILARIOUS look at the hippie culture in which I came of age from someone in the next generation as well as just wickedly funny commentary on just about every page. She’s also passionate, engaged, smart and shares my concerns about the environment.
But you know, even if you don’t give a hoot and DO pollute (to paraphrase an old environmental poster) I think you’d still like this hilarious, well-written, thought-provoking book.
See also Vanessa’s blog, Green as a Thistle
So I did what my mom used to do with the Bible – opened to a random page for inspiration. Uh oh. “July 2, Day 124: Build a vermiculture (worm-based) compost bin.”
Uh, I think I’ll look at my birthday: Feb 15 “Keep air clean without a plug-in air purifier”. Oh good! I’ve never owned one of those – sold – i’ll start there!
So – have you read this book? What did you think? And what little changes are YOU making to help save Mama Earth?