- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd (August 30, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0340954302
- ISBN-13: 978-0340954300
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 8.8 x 1.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,083,508 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Green Is the New Black Hardcover – August 30, 2007
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I found many of this books suggestions useful, but many require sewing skills or money. Neither of which I have a lot of. However, there are sewing patterns, recipes for environmentally friendly body care, recipes for food and jewelry ideas.
The art is lovely inside the book. And the book has black and green ink throughout it. There are 11 chapters. This book isn't completely relevant to those in the US as many of the references are to things and places in Europe.
I learned some interesting things while reading this book:
The fashion industry employs a billion people and uses 25% of the worlds pesticides. (40)
Even if you hate big corporations they have the power and any changes they make in the direction of green creates changes that really do make a difference. (43)
Buy items that are special and that you won't get bored of. Stick with classics that will come around again. (62)
For big events you can use live plants instead of cut flowers. The plants can go home as gifts to the guests. (71)
60% of the carbon emissions that a t-shirt generates comes from the 25 or so washing and drying it takes. (103)
Fake fur uses about 5 litres of oil to make. However, trapped fur uses 3.5 times as much and ranched fur 15 times as much. (119)
Traveling by plane results in 40 million tons of carbon emission per year. (151)
Celebrities/models often get their bags and accessories for free (200).
66% of all leather comes from cows. (216)
If you like diamonds then buy them from Canada because they have policies in place to protect the miners and the environment (231).
Having said that, this book is easy to read and provides great insight as to what is wrong with fast fashion and how ridiculous it is. The author does a very good job showing that sustainability is an exceptionally complex topic. You often have to look at it from many angles and decide which factors are the most important to you. There isn't any one solution.
The book has some good tips for basic ways to have a more sustainable wardrobe through shopping, thrifting, and looking through your closet. It covers issues surrounding cotton production, fur vs. fake fur, and leather. I also like that she covers issues about shoes and jewelry. Another useful section is one about traveling with clothes since most people tend to overpack and there's an entire section in the back with a list of places to shop, things to do, and books, magazines, and websites to read. I even ended up ordering one of the books she listed that sounded interesting.
While the person who wrote the forward in the book may be happy wearing something that looks a little ragged, missing buttons, and having a hole or two, that's not a look that I embrace. If I'm going to wear something that's second hand, and I do frequently, I look for things that look like new or that I could potentially alter to look like new. I also do the same when going through my wardrobe.
I whole-heartedly agree that buying a quality garment that will last is an eco-friendly concept, but I think that it is a bit of a stretch to imply that luxury brands such as Chanel, Prada, or Balenciaga are more sustainable due to that sole factor especially considering that those sorts of brands generally are not sustainable for most people's wallets even if they were to buy less clothing. Accessibility is an important factor to sustainability as well. She talks about luxury designers frequently throughout the book and my views just don't match up with hers. Sticking to a similar topic, with the exception of the three and a half pages discussing fur and fake fur I found the entire chapter on celebrities to be useless.
The author hit a topic that I am particularly passionate about, so forgive me for the following rant. I completely disagree with the author's suggestion on bras. She bought a particular bra that was a wireless that comes in sizes of the likes of UK size 8, 10, or 12, etc. She then says, "Now I wouldn't normally dream of ordering a bra online, given that you can't try it on first. But this isn't about fit." Um... what? Bras are ALL ABOUT FIT. For example, did you know that cup size is not actually a set volume of tissue? Because it isn't. It's dependent on the band number. Or did you know that different bra shapes will fit different people better or worse dependent on their breast shape?
First of all, most women are wearing the wrong bra size because most companies use the +4 method of measuring which came about in the 1920's/30's and despite the fact that we now use stretchier fabric than that time they haven't updated the measuring system. Most women actually should be wearing a smaller band number and a larger cup size than they think they should. Second, no single method of fitting is accurate for every person and measurements are only a starting point. Many so-called expert bra fitters don't even know the more accurate methods of fitting. I have been told that I am a 36C, a 38A, a 38C, and a 34DDD all in the same day by different "experts." My proper size is actually a UK 32G (which is the equivalent of a US 32I). This is an important issue because wearing the wrong bra size means that you don't get proper support. This is especially important for women with larger breasts. While I certainly could wear a UK size 16 or 18 wireless bra it won't fit my underbust properly at all and it's definitely not going to give me the support I need. I may as well not even bother wearing one at all at that point (ouch).
I agree that there should be more sustainable options available for bras. I WANT to wear a sustainable bra and though it is not necessarily impossible here in the US to find a conventional bra that fits, for me at least it means that I have to look for UK and Polish bras since they happen to be more standardized in terms of size and US bras just don't fit me. Bra fit is also important because it is the foundation of any wardrobe. If you wear the wrong size, then your figure is not going to look at its best. Really what I suggest for an ecological bra option is to learn to sew your own - something that I plan to do in the near future.
Next, she suggests putting lemon in your hair to lighten blond hair. Lemon is also known for completely stripping your hair. Try a mixture of honey and water if you want to lighten it instead. It won't kill your hair the way lemon would.
This is probably a little nitpicky, but saying that television will rob you of experiences is untrue as far as I'm concerned. You can get just as much from TV or movies as from reading a book so long as you are watching the right thing. Just as I feel I've experienced what I've read I feel the same way about particular TV shows. Now is it as eco-friendly as reading a book? No.
She brings up the ethics of silkworms and how they are boiled alive to get the silk they produce. However, what she doesn't bring up is that the silkworms that are bred to produce silk, if left alive can each lay a rather large quantity of eggs. If left alive and unchecked and all of the resulting eggs were to hatch they would kill all of the trees around them and die of starvation (Read Knit Green: 20 Projects and Ideas for Sustainability by Joanne Seiff for more on this). I'm not saying that it isn't cruel to kill them, but I just think everyone should know all the angles of it.
To sum it up for anyone who doesn't want to read all of that: It's a good book, but you can find this information elsewhere.
I also like the Little Green Book section at the end of the book for lots of green stores and online sites. The additional book list is great to have as well.
As for the leather references mentioned in the previous review, the author explains where most leather comes from, its impact on the environment, and the processes used for tanning and prepping the leather. She offers alternatives for leather products that leave a lighter footprint on the environment. I found that info interesting.
This book will stay on my bookshelf alongside other 'green' living resources I've collected!