‘Greenwashing’ is a modern word to describe companies that pretend their products are ‘green’, when they are not. From cars that claim they are green (you can have a greener car, but not a green one) to companies that claim to be green (but items are not biodegradable and contain toxic chemicals), the big ad budgets go to town on trying to convince you otherwise.
One of the biggest forms of greenwash in recent times is ‘sustainable palm oil’. Very few companies know where their palm oil is from (it has to be certified organic to establish source). The Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (often quoted) is just a self-policed body that Greenpeace says is as ‘useful as a chocolate tea pot’, with many orangutans being found killed, on ‘certified plantations’. It’s better to just give up palm oil (mostly found in junk food).
- Is It Really Green? is a guide packed with answers to 140 everyday questions: Are paper bags better than plastic? Are electric cars any good? What’s best – washing by hand or the dishwasher? This book gives you all the info from Georgina Wilson-Powell, founder of Pebble.
- Greener Marketing is a book for businesses to learn of how widespread public support is for sustainable products are significantly outperforming conventional ones. Recent shifts in consumer behaviour (from organic food to flying) make this timely book an essential read, if you want to be guided in green marketing, and not greenwashing. Looking at what is drying consumer protests, boycotts and petitions, the author argues that green companies that need to go beyond marketing to not just look good, but do good.
- Beyond Greenwash looks at how consumers are increasingly confused by labels (white bunnies, pink ribbons) and how many are little more than superficial exercises in ‘greenwash’. How can we separate greenwash from genuine attempts to address environmental challenges. This book investigates the credibility of many labels, and proposes a new novel way of eco-labelling that upends conventional wisdom. It does not depend on who creates or manages it – but on the type of businesses that use the label.
These books to help live more sustainably are are non-preachy. Climate change could soon become irreversible and there is no point in waiting for government and big business to act. The answer lies in millions of people making little lifestyle changes themselves.
Check medications for foods to a void. Avoid nuts, seed/nut butters for young children, and cut carrot sticks/veggie hot dogs lengthwise and again, to avoid choking. See foods to keep away from pets.
For beauty/cleaning recipes, avoid essential oils near pets or children, and for pregnancy/breastfeeding. See make your garden safe for pets to know toxic plants and items to avoid.
- Live Green is another beautifully illustrated book. This features 52 simple ways to live a greener lifestyle, so you can work your way through the year, or dip in when you feel like it. Make your own cleaning products, buy vintage furniture, create natural beauty rituals and build a capsule wardrobe. Check out the author’s blog at Little Birdie.
- A Year of Living Green is a daily journal of soulful monthly suggestions. Unplug from the grid, support local economies, nourish the earth, cook simple recipes and find green thoughts and poetry.
- The Sustainable(ish) Living Guide is a beautiful book packed with easy suggestions that can fit into anyone’s daily life. Buy things to last, unsubscribe from tempting emails and keep a mug by the kettle. Author Jen Gale runs a nice blog and offers services for schools, community groups and businesses (and you can also join her ‘knackered mums eco club!’
- Simple Acts to Save the Planet is a nice book, which takes the form of small paragraphs. Just dip in or work your way through the book to find 500 simple lifestyle swaps including reducing food waste, using travel mugs, and choosing reusable containers. Make one change each day!
- The Joyful Environmentalist is a feel-good book by comedian Isabel Losada, with well-researched yet non-preachy suggestions. Find short chapters for busy people on how we live and travel, what we eat and drink, how we vote and bank, and where to volunteer.
When you leave this earth, you can nothing with you that you have received. St Francis of Assisi