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By the book

Two books to help you go green

‘I’m writing for the Weekly’s sustainability guide,’ I recently said to three adults on separate occasions.

‘What?’ they all responded. I started to repeat what I said, and each interrupted with, ‘No, what’s sustainability?’ Good question. Just what is it and if it’s so important, why doesn’t it come with a manual?

Maybe it does. Besides ours, we found two for you in book form–concise, helpful guides to ease yourself in lightly, or plunge you head first into changing your life.

Living Green: A Practical Guide to Simple Sustainability

Greg Horn

Freedom Press, 171 pp, $14.95

If you felt scared in spite of yourself after seeing An Inconvenient Truth, this book will give you another bout of chills. When author Greg Horn, former CEO of General Nutrition Centers, began to suffer from ’sick building syndrome,’ he searched for the source and found itÖeverywhere. From the estrogen-mimicking phthalates in our plastic water bottles to the formaldehyde in our mattresses and mascara. His own sickness resulted in a life-altering quest to get healthy and to send the ripple effect across the planet. Living Green is a well referenced book and infused with energy. Horn offers lists on simple and essential things humans can do to save ourselves from ourselves. Sections are well organized into three parts: sustainable health, sustainable home and sustainable future, with data and scenarios designed to freak you outÖand into action. By the way, aloe vera, according to Horn, is effective in removing formaldehyde, in case you just can’t afford a new mattress yet.

Sustainable Living: For Home, Neighborhood and Community

Mick Winter

Westsong Publishing, 163 pp, $12

Keep this one handy. You might want to use a highlighter too. The best tools of Sustainable Living are its gray boxes of up-to-date and subject-appropriate URLs, which make it 2007’s must-have reference guide for Web fanatics. The thin paperback is divided into sections such as home, family and energy, and subsections such as bathroom, pets and power, respectively. Sustainable ideas for each category are simple and abundant. Author Mick Winter provides hundreds of doable suggestions, from finding mushrooms to showering together (’They like this one in California,’ he states.) His top three? Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent ones, walk or ride a bike, plant a garden. Simple.