Friday, April 16, 2010

Even Mothers Can Help Save the World

Reviewed by Phee Paradise

Green Mama
By Tracey Bianchi

Green Mama is essentially a green how-to manual for mothers. Bianchi couches her advice in Christian language, but the book would be right at home on the sustainable living shelf of the library or bookstore. She believes Christians are God’s partners in caring for His creation. As His stewards, we should examine our lifestyle carefully to see how we are damaging His world and how we can protect it. Once she has said that, she moves on to practical ways to live green.

The book has chapters on curbing consumption, spending wisely and planting trees. But it also discusses how to take small steps, ways that green living can improve your budget and how to help your church go green. At the end of each chapter she asks two questions, which she calls an eco-examen. Essentially the questions help the reader decide which suggestions in the chapter they can implement. There is no expectation that readers will make wholesale changes to their lives. Instead, Bianchi explicitly tells readers to only do what they think is possible for them. She offers many small changes, such as washing clothes in cold water instead of hot water.

Bianchi is as committed to the cause as any secular writer might be. It’s packed with green thinking, but the book is easy to read and is filled with the author’s own experiences. As she dispenses advice, she describes the path she has travelled – how she acquired her commitment to sustainable living. She encourages her readers to find their own paths to the same end. If the idea of sustainable living overwhelms you, or even if it’s just not high on your list right now, it’s a good place to find tips about things you can do that won’t take much effort.

Pros: Easy to read manual for green living, with a lot of ideas about how to do it. The Christian viewpoint helps readers to see God’s ownership of the world and our stewardship of it.

Cons: The book is unashamedly in the conservation camp and gently admonishes readers about their bad habits. It assumes a lot about the man made problems of the natural world without offering evidence.

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