Green Chic: Saving the Earth in Style by Christie Mattheson

In the Introduction of this “green primer,” author Christie Matheson notes that it is “not an exhaustive guide to every aspect of green living…..” Instead, the author realistically addresses areas that everyone can do that help keep the planet healthy. Common sense thinking is always chic in my mind!

Scanning the Table of Contents, the reader can choose from several areas from being green in the home to going green when traveling. The book also includes a Green Glossary and a Resource List. Matheson does include a small section about the “big picture” so that, as she writes, you don’t “get lost in the minutiae.” Instead, her advice is to remember that the “key to green living is shifting your mindset so that you incorporate conscious living broadly into every part of your life…..”

While I was quite familiar with many of the topics that Matheson discusses, I found that her witty style of writing and honesty about what she feels she can do and cannot do made me feel less guilty about not being able to be totally green 100% of the time.

Here is a partial list of what big areas to focus on and then within those areas, break each one down to live consciously:

  • Consume (buy) only what you truly need or love.  (This goes for clothes, household items, party goods, etc.)
  • Drive less, and when you do drive, drive more fuel efficiently.
  • Eat as many local, organic, whole foods that don’t come in packages as you can.
  • Reduce the amount of stuff and packaging you acquire and throw away.

As you can see from this excerpt, these are common sense suggestions that act as reminders more than rules. In fact, throughout the book are good suggestions that I found helpful. For example, Matheson suggests that when you replace your mattress, choose a chemical-free wool mattress. In that same section is a brief discussion about the chemicals in mattresses and where to buy one that is chemical-free.

While I knew much of what Matheson has to say, I also learned quite a bit and especially liked her section on resources and all the websites mentioned in each section. For example, periodically a page will have a green box for important topics. On one, the author lists plants that help eliminate toxins, such as Gerber daisies; in the food section Matheson”green” lists produce to buy organically grown. I have a similar list from the Environmental Working Group, but having the list in the book with all the other suggestions is handy.

Green Chic by Christie Matheson is a user-friendly book that I highly recommend to anyone confused about where to start going green and how to keep on “greening.” It is published by Sourcebooks (2008) and I found it online  (used) through Note: The label in the left hand corner of the cover is the library that originally housed the book, before it was purchased by the used book company linked with Amazon.)

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