The Wax Conspiracy

The Green Book by Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen

Every tiny thing you can do to hug the environment, and to follow the "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" mantra, helps. Unless you're in a place where they don't ever recycle glass bottles, then what's the point of living?

The Green Book is a collection of paragraphs with tidbits and pointers on what you can do to lessen your disgusting carbon footprint smearing the earth, and the Earth. A lot of the advice is of low-hanging fruit. Minor, practical changes that are easy enough to do that still/may all add up in the grand scheme of things.

Quickly repetitive in format after a dozen examples (there is really little to no variation on how it's presented), it makes for paragraphs that you just want to draw a little star next to each heading and to underline each topic sentence. So much so it inspired the person who borrowed this book last to do such a thing:

Inside pages of The Green Book
Tips so tasty you'll want to drop ink all over the pages

And then you turn the page and see this:

Homeopathic vs. Manufactured Pharmaceuticals

Consider using homeopathic medicines instead of over-the-counter or prescription pharmaceuticals to treat medical conditions. The process of manufacturing synthetic drugs emits more than 177 million pounds of untreated pollutants into air, water, and soil resources each year. If just 5 percent of the population could find a homeopathic remedy for half their medication needs, fewer pollutants—4.4 million pounds's worth— would make it into the water system.

On the surface, it's solid reasoning. Taking no medication at all is better than taking anything that will stem the pain. Sugar pills with the memory of a fingerprint is always going to be a less resource heavy type of ingestible. Unfortunately for the environment all of that is offset, swamped really, by the sheer amount of hot stinking manure that's gone into shilling this market.

It's a shame for the sham to shim its way where the aim of the book is to improve your environment without much disruption to your own life. Some of the impact claims are questionable, such as how many phone books were already making up landfill (10% in those years?), but the spin of homeopathy as a viable alternative to anything other than placebos, well, you have to weed out people somehow.

Yes, it is a book from the flowery days of 2007. North Korea starts denuclearisation. Latvia and Russia sign a border treaty. J.K. Rowling drops Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows allowing many children to start weight-lifting. A year of turmoil and uncertainty. But even then the legitimacy of homeopathy was never even reasonable.

And that is the sour taste that lingers across the rest of the chapters.

The Green Book: The Everyday Guide to Saving the Planet One Simple Step at a Time is a start into bringing yourself back into a reading mode, and to refresh yourself on tips about how you can lessen your environmental impact while saving money in the long run (unless you have to pay for a voicemail service on your phone line, in which case wait for them to call you back). Don't take too much to heart about anything it says that would affect your health.

Back cover of The Green Book
The Green Book from the library

Incidentally, The Green Book does not weigh up which body disposal method is the greener way.

Ethan Switch

Reviewed on Wednesday, 9 September 2015

The Wax Conspiracy


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