Living Green: The Missing Manual

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9780596801724: Living Green: The Missing Manual

Taking care of the earth is more important than ever, but the problems we're facing can seem overwhelming. Living Green: The Missing Manual helps make earth-friendly decisions more manageable by narrowing them down to a few simple choices. This all-in-one resource is packed with practical advice on ways you can help the environment by making simple changes in your home routine, work habits, and the way you shop and get around town. You don't have to embark on a radical new lifestyle to make a difference. Living Green: The Missing Manual shows you how small changes can have a big impact.

With this book, you will:

  • Learn how to make your home energy efficient and free of toxic chemicals
  • Discover how to reduce waste, repurpose and recycle, and do more with less
  • Build and remodel earth-friendly homes with new techniques and materials
  • Learn tips for buying organic food and what it takes to grow your own
  • Get helpful information on fuel-efficient cars, including hybrid and electric models
  • Make your workplace greener and more cost-effective -- from changes at your desk to suggestions for company-wide policies
  • Explore how to choose renewable energies, such as wind and solar power

The book also provides you with ways to connect with like-minded people and offers a survey of exciting new green technologies. Learn how you can help the planet with Living Green: The Missing Manual.

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Living Green: The Missing Manual is packed with information about how human actions affect the environment and how we can improve our stewardship of this planet we call home. You'll find tips and suggestions for greener living at all levels: small changes you can make today, lifestyle adjustments that will keep your family green and healthy, and how you can get involved with like-minded groups and large-scale pro-environment efforts.

Six Easy Ways to Be Greener
By Nancy Conner
1. Clean with food.
When life hands you lemons...use ’em to clean your house! The mild acid in lemon juice makes it great for cutting grease and getting stains out. A mixture of equal parts lemon juice and water in a spray bottle will clean your kitchen and bathroom and leave them smelling wonderful. No need to squeeze endless lemons, either—bottled lemon juice works just as well as fresh squeezed.
And you’ve probably heard that olive oil is good for your heart, but did you know it’s also good for your wood furniture? To clean wood without using chemical furniture polishes, combine three parts olive oil with one part white vinegar. Or, if you like lemon-scented furniture polish, try two parts olive oil and one part lemon juice. Use a soft cloth to rub a small amount of the mixture into the wood, and then buff it with a clean cloth.

2. Keep the heat in.
Much of the money you spend to heat or cool your home could be going right out the window—or through the mail slot or cracks in the wall. As much as 30% of your energy bill may be pouring out of your house through air leaks. One spiffy way to find air leaks is to use a stick of incense: Light the incense and hold it next to a place where you suspect a leak (be careful to avoid anything that can catch fire, such as drapes). If the incense smoke goes straight up into the air, the spot is airtight. If the smoke streams into or out of the room, you’ve found a leak.

3. Reject wasteful packaging
Sometimes, it seems like what we buy is more packaging than product. Whether the product is hidden inside a box or sealed in a plastic clamshell, packaging that looks good on the shelf too often ends up in landfills. As a conscientious consumer, you can reduce the amount of waste from unnecessary packaging by voting with your wallet. When you have a choice between two products, go for the one with less packaging. For example, when you’re shopping for cereal, buy the kind that comes in a bag rather than a bag inside a box.

4. Donate your e-waste.
Discarded electronics contain hazardous materials, including lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury. When it’s time to upgrade your computer or replace an old TV, make sure those chemicals don’t get into the environment. Find an organization like Free Geek, a Portland, Oregon–based nonprofit that refurbishes computers and related gadgets and donates them to schools and other charitable organizations or sells them in its thrift shop. (Anything Free Geek can’t refurbish or sell for parts is recycled responsibly.)

5. Green your kids.
Kids love playing computer and video games, so encourage them to play games that teach them about the environment.

6. Buy used.
Thrift-store shopping doesn’t have to mean hideous bridesmaids dresses and t-shirts advertising bands that last toured in the ’70s. You can also find basics in good condition at low prices—including kids’ clothes that were outgrown too fast to show much wear—even if it takes some hunting to unearth them. A lot of shoppers treat thrift-store visits treasure hunts: You never know what you’ll find, and there are often real gems hidden among the polyester pantsuits. Don’t forget consignment shops, which often sell designer fashions at prices that are almost too good to be true.

About the Author:

Nancy Conner holds a Ph.D. from Brown University and is the author of numerous books, including QuickBase: The Missing Manual and Google Apps: The Missing Manual. She lives in Ithaca, NY, recently named one of the greenest U.S. cities, where she shops for organic produce at the local farmers market and browses second-hand stores. Each day, she commutes up the stairs to her home office, where she works as an author, editor, and distance educator. Read Nancy's Living Green blog at

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