Most eco-friendly books start with terror-inducing lists of the carcinogenic chemicals you are liberally slathering all over every single surface in your house, painting most people as as unwitting eco-villains, happily Lysol-ing your way straight to hell. Well, readers can just relax and unpack the (plastic) bags – no guilt trips today! At this point I think we all know that cleaning with bleach is bad and pop cans should go into the recycling – we’re beyond that, yes? All You Need is Less is about realistically adopting an eco-friendly lifestyle without either losing your mind from the soul-destroying guilt of using a plastic bag because you forgot your reusable ones in the trunk of your car (again), or becoming a preachy know-it all whom everyone loathes from the tips of her organically-shampooed hair to the toes of her naturally sourced recycled sandals. It’s all gotten kind of complicated, hasn’t it? These days you’re not “green” enough unless you quit your day job and devote your entire life to attaining an entirely carbon neutral lifestyle or throw out all of your possessions and replace them with their new “green” alternatives. This whole eco-friendly thing seems to have devolved into a horrific cycle of guilt, shaming and one-upping, and as a result people are becoming exhausted and getting annoyed and, oh my god, we are living in a world where one of my grocery bags says “This reusable bag makes me better than you.” It doesn’t have to be this way. It is possible to take easy baby-steps towards a more earth-friendly lifestyle without stress, guilt, or judgy eco-shaming. Top eco blogger Madeleine Somerville is here with really original ideas on how to save money and the planet. Her ideas are even fun! Somerville has emerged as the voice of reason on urban homesteading that is stress-free, sanity-based and above all do-able. From the book: Stop Using Disgusting Dryer Sheets Do y'all know that most dryer sheets coat use animal fats to coat your clothes with that 'fresh' fragrance? Yeah. It's disgusting. Switch to wool dryer balls, they're simple to make (plus a fun craft project for kids) and they work like a hot damn. Use Jars Instead of Travel Mugs 1. You can screw on the lid and literally throw a jar full o' coffee into your purse (no more balancing keys, coffee, files etc!) 2. It takes immense resources to manufacture and sell all those plastic/metal travel mugs which are often lost/forgotten You have old food jars hanging around anyway, why not make use of them? If they break or get lost,at least they were used one more time before reaching their final destination. I always get lots of compliments on my coffee jar.
Madeleine Somerville adores writing in all its incarnations -- dramatic exclamation-filled diary entries, pseudo-journalistic endeavors for small town weeklies, and the disfigured, bastard child of the above, blogging. She has a B.A. in sociology and is addicted to commas and soft cheeses. She became an unrepentant, tree-hugging hippie after moving to British Columbia eight years ago, and daughter and dog suffer the effects of this metamorphosis on a daily basis. This is her first book.Billee Sharp runs an eco cleaning business and is the author of the bestselling Lemons & Lavender:The Eco Guide to Better Homekeeping. She lives with her family in San Francisco, CA.