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Do One Green Thing: Saving the Earth Through Simple, Everyday Choices Paperback – March 16, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (March 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312559763
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312559762
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 7.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #978,029 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

This straightforward guide provides multiple lists on good and bad choices for dozens of products and uses. From an opening chapter on just why bottled water is the wrong choice in very nearly every instance imaginable to sections on fish, meat, and produce, Pennybacker includes not only “Choose it/Lose it” tables but also clearly elucidates why one should reach for canned wild salmon caught in Alaska as opposed to its farmed equivalent from the eastern seaboard. As a former editor for The Green Guide, a National Geographic Web site, Pennybacker has the eco-qualifications to back up her assertions, and she also includes plenty of source notes and Web site references. Most importantly, she assumes nothing about her readership other than a curiosity about green living, and tackles everything while creating her lists from union-made goods to humane living conditions to cancer-causing ingredients. The format and language are clear, and the outlook is determined as Pennybacker lays it all on the line for those eager to change, and leaves readers with no excuses for not starting immediately. --Colleen Mondor

Review

"One green thing: It’s so simple. This book takes the pressure off by giving you one easy but effective choice to make in each basic area of your life...  Do One Green Thing makes me feel happy and confident that more positive change is afoot, and that we all have an important and rewarding part to play." Meryl Streep

“Provides multiple lists on good and bad choices for dozens of products and uses… Pennybacker includes not only “Choose it/Lose it” tables but also clearly elucidates why one should reach for canned wild salmon caught in Alaska as opposed to its farmed equivalent from the eastern seaboard.... The format and language are clear, and the outlook is determined as Pennybacker lays it all on the line for those eager to change, and leaves readers with no excuses for not starting immediately.” –Booklist

“Mindy Pennybacker has provided a nifty catalogue of how to live more lightly on the earth.  You'll learn a good deal here, especially about how simple small changes can be.” Bill McKibben, author of Earth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

"The clearest, easiest-to-use, and most reliable guide to green living that I've seen, from one of our best all-round authorities on the topic." --Bob Schildgen, environment advice columnist for Sierra, the national magazine of the Sierra Club and author of the popular collection Hey Mr. Green


“This is a lovely book.  Practical and down-to-earth, it encourages each of us to follow our best aspirations, to take simple steps to improve our planet and enhance our own health and the health of all our children.” Philip J. Landrigan, MD, author of Raising Children Toxic Free

“Helpful “Choose It” and “Lose It” charts and other graphics make it easy to make the green choice. The attractive, magazine-like layout makes this a book you’ll be likely to thumb through often.” Sierraclub.com

“This is the book I’ve been waiting for. Well researched and compactly presented, Do One Green Thing makes it quick and easy to decide what’s best for our families, the planet, and the world’s farmers. From pesticides and produce to nanotechnology and sunblocks, Pennypacker translates the latest research into concrete advice enabling every consumer to go green.” Margaret Mellon, senior scientist and director of the Food & Environment Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists

"Now you can stop making excuses and go green in a way that suits you, and that you understand. Do One Green Thing is a trove of good advice that is fun to read. Added to that, Mindy’s done all the hard work.  This is a wonderful book." Jane Smiley, Pulitzer Prizewinning author of A Thousand Acres

“Do one green thing:  Take this book with you when you shop!” Dani Shapiro, author of Slow Motion and Devotion: A Memoir

“Why feel guilty when this wonderful book makes it so easy to feel—and be—green?” Kenneth Cook, President, Environmental Working Group

“Pennybacker cuts through the clutter of green retail claims, offering advice that’s clear and concise. Heed her words, then spend your newfound time taking political action—she tells us how—to protect our planet.” Elizabeth Royte, author of Garabageland and Bottlemania

“Mindy’s mantra is “keep it simple” and for all of us who juggle work, families and the hope of being kind to the planet, this book is an outstanding primer to read on the checkout line.  A must-read for easy but meaningful things you can do keep your family and the planet healthy and happy.”  Tensie Whelan, President, Rainforest Alliance

Do One Green Thing is a handy guide full of practical tips for everyday green living.  I hope it inspires many people to do many green things…for their well-being and the survival of our planet. Fred Krupp, Environmental Defense Fund

More About the Author



Mindy Pennybacker is editor of GreenerPenny.com and the "Ask Mindy" columnist for Body + Soul Magazine. She edited The Green Guide for over a decade and co-founded TheGreenGuide.com.

Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii and a lifelong surfer, she graduated from Punahou School and holds a B.A. in English Literature from Stanford University, where she was also a Stegner Fellow in Fiction. She received an M.F.A. in fiction from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she met her husband, Donald C. Wallace. Their son, Rory Donald Wallace, was born and raised in New York City's Chelsea neighborhood and went on to Stanford. A member of the California Bar, Mindy has a J.D. from the University of California, Davis. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Nation, Sierra, Worldwatch, Natural Home, E. Magazine, TheDailyGreen.com, The Atlantic Monthly, Fiction Magazine, Honolulu Weekly, Bamboo Ridge, and elsewhere.

Customer Reviews

This book is an easy to use, valuable resource.
Frances Brown
Do One Green Thing Saving the Earth Through Simple, Everyday Choice by Mindy Pennybacker, is a must read if you are interesting in making eco-friendly choices.
Eco-Friendly Interior Designer
It's a great guide on everything from containers to chemicals in beauty products.
E. B. McGrath

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Eco-Friendly Interior Designer on April 19, 2010
Format: Paperback
I have been as green as possible for many years, but I always like to check out new books on the subject to get any new tips.

Do One Green Thing Saving the Earth Through Simple, Everyday Choice by Mindy Pennybacker, is a must read if you are interesting in making eco-friendly choices. We get bombarded from everyone lately on how we should make green choices in purchasing products...but it can be confusing to know what exactly to buy Pennybacker removes the mystery and guides us on how to make eco-friendly choices that are both good for the planet and our own health.

The book has lots of illustrations and "Choose It" "Lose It" charts to make decisions a snap. For instance, under storage containers, she has as a "lose it" #7 plastics (the numbers are always found on the bottom of products.) #7 plastics leech toxins and are not recyclable. Instead, opt for a #5 plastic, which is cleaner and won't leech chemicals into food. Even better is glass or stainless.

Throughout the book are guides that make becoming greener easy to do. Pennybacker's philosophy is to go green gradually, step by step. Do not worry that following her many tips will be expensive and will make your current world unrecognizable...on the contrary, may tips will save you money. Furthermore, you may be surprised at how "little" changes make a big, green impact.

Finally, I recommend Harmonious Environment as a companion to Do One Green Thing for great ways to decorate and design your home using green materials.

Highly recommend.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mike Reizman on March 17, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I recently bought a compact fluorescent light bulb. Do One Green Thing provided me with more information than Consumer Reports in making my choice. Both sources listed Energy Star-approved bulbs as the best choices.

Do One Green Thing One provided additional information -- especially about the mercury in the bulbs, which was one of my big concerns. The book even tells you what to do if a bulb breaks, down to the detail of how to safely remove the tiny amount of mercury drops. I've never broken a compact fluorescent light bulb. But now at least I know what to do if it ever does happen.

I was happy to see that the book also explained those triangular numbers on the bottom of plastic containers and bottles.

Very nice layout and graphics, specific information. A fine book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Love at First Book on July 16, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A few months ago I read a book that totally changed my life: Garbology by Edward Humes.

From that moment on, I have changed many of my wasteful habits and started going green(er) than I previously had been. Most of these changes end up saving me money as well!

One day after reading Garbology, I was at the library and randomly picked up Do One Green Thing by Mindy Pennybacker. I knew it was a book I needed to own because of all the great tips, so once I got home I ordered my own copy.

What a smart choice! Because this book is one of the best! I have learned so much from this book to make myself and my world a little greener, to make healthier eating choices, and to save some money in the process.

Some of the things I will take with me are. . .

The best fish choices for my health and the environment
Which foods to purchase organic and which ones I can skip
That some microwave safe plasticware still leaches hazardous materials (the book describes which ones do that!)
The difference between hand washing and dishwashing dishes - both environmentally and financially
Plus this tidbit: "Replace one 6-ounce can of albacore "white" tuna with one 6-ounce can of wild Alaska salmon, and reduce your mercury intake by 89 percent." After reading that, we no longer buy canned tuna fish, but we buy canned Alaskan salmon. It's a little more expensive, but it takes almost the same when made in the normal "tuna fish" way.

I also have about 50 other sticky notes on pages with green info, plus a few I photographed (like the one about the healthiest fish, so I have it in my phone for reference at restaurants!).

I highly highly recommend Do One Green Thing. The book is full of valuable information for going green, and most of the tips end up saving you money!

What do you do to be green?

Thanks for reading,

Rebecca @ Love at First Book
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By E. B. McGrath on March 18, 2010
Format: Paperback
Mindy Pennybacker has years of experience evaluating all things green, and this book brings it all together. It's a great guide on everything from containers to chemicals in beauty products. My favorite: the list of green shoe companies.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Paul McRandle on March 18, 2010
Format: Paperback
Mindy Pennybacker knows her stuff and in the clear and concise format she's chosen in Do One Thing Green, she brings to bear years of experience researching environmental consumer topics to provide advice on everything ranging from beer to fabric finishes. The layout allows for easy leafing with topics distilled into lists of favorites and not-so-favorites, choose it or lose it comparisons, most-asked questions and suggestions on how to do all this in a budget. Best of all are the precisely detailed recommendations that make label reading and ingredients lists understandable and the hundreds of resources on the web and in print she references throughout. This is a book you'll find yourself turning back to for advice for years to come.
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