Get the Right Guide

The right advice can make eco-smart living easy

By Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen [Three Rivers Press, $13]
THE SPIN: "Selfish consumers" can still save the earth! Bonus: Deep eco-thoughts from Cameron Diaz and Will Ferrell. GREAT IDEA: Go light. "Every additional ten pounds per traveler requires an additional 350 million gallons of jet fuel per year." OVERKILL? Keep stocks in your brokerage's name—don't have paper certificates sent to you. THE VERDICT: Stunning stats (Americans toss 1.6 billion pens per year!). But if we wanted to hear what Jennifer Aniston has to say, we'd have splurged on Us Weekly. GREEN-O-METER: 2

By Lori Bongiorno [Perigee, $15]
THE SPIN: Choose tips that are right for you, depending on your level of earth-changing commitment. GREAT IDEA: Support local breweries—no fossil-fuel-using shipping required. OVERKILL? Skip the toxic lice-removing shampoo and comb the critters out by hand. (OK. Then we'll eat bananas, swing from trees, and throw doo-doo at the visitors.) VERDICT: Good tips despite a bad case of earnestness. (Use baking soda, not deodorant? Crack a smile when you tell us that.) GREEN-O-METER: 3

LIVING LIKE ED: One Man's Guide to Living an Environmentally Friendly Life By Ed Begley Jr. [Clarkson Potter, $18]
THE SPIN: Straight talk from Hollywood's original eco-nerd, with asides from his doubting wife, Rachelle. GREAT IDEA: Invest in a wireless home energy-control system, like GreenSwitch (, and save up to 45 percent on monthly power bills. OVERKILL? Trade your gas grill for a solar-powered one—and move it around the yard, following the sun, until your steak is done. The VERDICT: Smart, friendly, and well-packaged advice—we'll overlook that photo of Begley in his sustainably made short-shorts. GREEN-O-METER: 4

WAKE UP AND SMELL THE PLANET: The Non-Pompous, Non-Preachy Grist Guide to Greening Your Day Edited by Brangien Davis with Katharine Wroth [Skipstone, $15]
THE SPIN: The folks offer pointers on "making it through the day with your values—and your sanity—intact." GREAT IDEA: Commercial car washes use 60 percent less water than you'd use in your driveway. OVERKILL? Ditch the diapers and let your baby go commando. THE VERDICT: Funny, fast-paced, and detailed—and it includes a section on the eco-friendliness of sex toys. Need we say more? GREEN-O-METER: 5

Filed To: Culture
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