Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Generation Green: The Ultimate Guide to Living an Eco-Friendly Life

Generation Green: The Ultimate Guide to Living an Eco-Friendly Life

Linda Sivertsen and Tosh Sivertsen
Published by Simon Pulse, (NY, London, Sydney, Toronto), an imprint of Simon and Schuster, 2008

This nine chapter book is for the youth market and an excellent gift for your teen. Sporting a super-nice cover, it features an attractive beige and green paper-bag look and the responsible tone of friendly leafy green imagery. The table of contents uses a green design message and navigation is easy.

The intro is a (semi-hilarious) address from Tosh to teenagers everywhere. “A lot of people think teens are too self-involved to care about global issues. Sure, if your dad and mom are fighting or your ex-best friend is going out with your ex or your family cat has to be put to sleep or you flunked your last math test, okay, your going to worry more about that stuff than about a melting glacier thousands of miles away. A least for that day or week or month. But that doesn’t mean we don’t care. I’m convinced we do. We’re just not sure what to do next.” Tosh is addressing the "Green Generation," the youth who face global warming and climate change as they approach adulthood, questioning authority and wondering what to do next. It also immediately addresses a fairly unspoken issue: this is a generation that needs to feel empowered, not cynical and depressed!

“We’ll introduce you to teens and several celebrity friends who are doing some really great things for the environment, as well as people we just find inspiring. We’ll share our favourite tips for greener living, ideas that can change your family, your town, or even a law or two.” I like that, change a law or two! Smells like teen spirit!

Back cover: We all know about the earth’s environmental crisis, but there is someone who can truly make a difference: you.”

Linda and son, Tosh are on the back cover also. They both look great, and have a speaking circuit. Tosh seems to really have a knack at speaking to youth, while Linda seems to be excellent at organizing ideas and selecting useful, relevant, teen-inspiring information.

Chapter One, titled, “Green Machine” is direct. “Maybe your thinking, Hey that’s okay. I like warmer weather, so what’s the problem? Those higher temperatures are causing animal and plant extinctions; failed crops; lower water tables; drying wells; creeks, and rivers; disappearing lakes; a decrease in snowpack and glaciers worldwide; and longer, scarier fire seasons...Is it too late to fix it?” This is helpful, because teen rebellion inclines young people to either fully grasp the issues and then struggle with their role in working to fix it, or to become insensitive climate change deniers just for the temporary thrill of pissing off adults who care. Tosh clarifies this with direct talk, and makes the book an enjoyable read along the way. Tosh is really fond of the ocean, and seems well on his way to creating a whole generation of strong and enviro-educated surfer dudes with marine health at the fore.

“What few people realize is that the oxygen we breathe comes more from the ocean than from the world’s forests-as much as 70 to 80 percent! (Most of it comes from the atmosphere or is produced by phytoplankton.) There’s no way to underscore the importance of cleaning up our oceans and helping fish populations rebound.” Thanks, Tosh! I'm glad you said that. The oceans are so under-regulated it's mind-bending. And your generation is the one to push for the difference we need, to tip the scales in favour of realistic international laws and policy-making that protects our planet.

The book just gets sweeter. Chapter 2 is called Eating Green and it really clears up a lot of questions young people have about food choices, where to find healthy food, and why it's so important to use consumer power to move away from meat-centered factory farming. In a green border, there are a lot of Did You Know's: “Automobile emission is one of the biggest contributor to global warming, with an estimated 850 million vehicles on the road.” Each chapter has plenty of sweet pull quotes, and large print dash bordered remarks such as; “Did you know that shoes can be vegan?” followed by reference and an encouragement to “Google it!” Chapter 6, Green Wheels, explains some of the transport options now, and gives a good overview of where the future is heading. Chapter 7 is called Greener Schools and Careers, and that's exactly what it covers. Because it's written by Linda and Tosh, you don't feel like you are sitting in lecture hall or listening to a career advisor in a stuffy office, you feel like your future is within your control. Very important touch for youth in an era of climate change, because this tackles issues involving power, money and their impact on the world in a way they can actually relate to. Chapter 8 is called Step Up and Speak Out. I loved Chapter 8, because it carries on with the power theme by involving them in their community as a necessary element to their own social identity. It also includes an interview with Julia Butterfly. Chapter 9, A Day in a Green Life, “is your head exploding yet?” follows some of Tosh's favourite day-to-day activities in a way that shows it not only being done, but being fun. The book's acknowledgements include a thank you to Mother Earth, kind of an unusual touch and very sweet. Anyone considering getting this book for a young person will also be pleased to find that the resources page in the back include 27 websites listed under “Some of our Favourite Green Sites” and another listing called, “A Few of the Green Magazines We Love Reading,” which is kinda mainstream, but really solid. The list includes E/The Environmental Magazine, Kiwi, Mother Jones, National Geographic, onearth, Plenty, Sierra, Waterkeeper. The back pages also supply recommended earth-loving green charities, organizations, and potential employment/volunteership resources for the ambitious teenager at home. These 21 listings including Earth Action Network, Earth Island Institute, Environmental Defense, Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network, Sierra Club, World Wildlife Fund, Waterkeeper Alliance among others.

They also have a section called Some of Our Favorite Green Books (for further study) which include: Eating in the Raw, Feeling Healthier, and Looking Younger the Raw Food Way.

The complete list involves 14 selections, but among them is Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, Lester Brown’s Plan B 2.0: Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble, and Julia Hill Butterfly's, One Makes The Difference. Ad on the back to join the Sierra student coalition. Great book, really densely packed and bursting with energy at the same time. With a green greener, greenest rating at each step, “better safe than sorry!” and loaded with questions people ask, if you are looking for some guidance and some excellent answers, or know a youth who is, grab this book and do what Tosh Sivertsen tells you to. You'll be glad you did.