For big environmental change, check the mirror
- Ellison G. Weist
- Portland Tribune - Sustainable Life
Resource guide offers laughs along with advice in fight against global warming
Not often do we equate humor and laughing out loud with global warming.
Thankfully, that's just what Laurie David gives us in her slim, pocket-size book, 'The Solution Is You!'
There's also plenty of useful information and several well-thought-out diatribes. But the tone David takes, along with the manner in which the book is laid out, makes this the perfect introduction to a serious subject.
Alternating sarcasm with passion, David details why all of us should be concerned with global warming and what each individual can do about it.
Her personal quest began shortly after she became a mother, when she joined the National Resources Defense Council. From there she worked on several environmental documentaries, including the recent, 'An Inconvenient Truth' with Al Gore and the HBO special 'Too Hot Not to Handle.'
David wants to assure her readers that you don't have to be a Hollywood insider to make a difference. One of the best chapters is 'What Can You Do,' chock-full of ideas that the average person can put into immediate effect.
She advocates everything from cleaning the lint out of your dryer after every use - 'When your dryer filter is clogged, it needs more energy to run' - to calling local gas stations and requesting that they carry biodiesel or flex fuel ('Be a nudge, keep asking').
Interspersed throughout the book are quotes from a wide range of public figures, each professing concerns about global warming - Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., shares the page with Christie Brinkley. Less expected contributions come from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gen. Wesley Clark.
There also are sidebars from David herself. The best are where she lashes out at the hypocrisy of people such as Bill Ford, who claims that his company is committed to fuel economy ('no one is taking you seriously'), and President Bush, who David believes is ignoring the scientific conclusions of his NASA staff.
The author's sarcasm may grate on some readers' nerves, but you have to admit, she gets her point across.
Most of the book's humor focuses on David's attempts to include her family in her mission to protect the environment. Witness her switch from conventional toilet paper to the type made from 'post-consumer recycled materials.'
Immediately, one daughter began smuggling in rolls of the old stuff. And during a lecture, her husband suddenly turned to her and hissed, 'I can't sit here anymore because of your damn new toilet paper!'
David is married to comedian Larry David ('Curb Your Enthusiasm,' 'Seinfeld'), whose hilarious foreword to the book is worth the cost of admission by itself. Less witty but extremely helpful is the 15-page resource section at the end that recommends books, DVDs and an array of Web sites.
At just over 70 pages, this diminutive paperback is an ideal primer for a teenager casting around for a worthy cause or a stocking stuffer for the wayward spouse with his/her eye on a shiny SUV.