Book Review: A Good Life

Every week we turn to the Guardian for the latest missive on ethical living, a subject introduced by Leo Hickman and carried on by Lucy Siegle. Many of these have been collected and published in A Good Life. The book attempts to "explain in detail some of the problems and injustices our habits and lifestyles are causing and them presenting practical solutions to reducing their impact, from eating less meat and lowering car emissions to domestic cleaning advice."- it is not just about global warming, it is about the state of the globe and what we can do to make it, and our lives, better.

Graphically, it is more of a magazine format, with lots of sidebars asking questions like "should I eat the New Zealand organic apple, the Kent non-organic apple or the Fairtrade apple from South Africa?" or dotted with windows with tidbits like "driving a 13 MPG SUV instead of the average 22 MPG care for one year wastes more energy than if you left a fridge door open for six years or left a TV on for 28 years"


It looks as good as a book printed on recycled paper with vegetable inks can, with chapters covering all aspects of living one's life ethically. Yet it is accessibly written, broad in scope and full of useful information. Each chapter has extensive references and links to sources and shops, but it is all UK based.

Conceptually the message here is similar to TreeHugger's How to Go Green series- it explains the issues, provides background, makes recommendations and suggests further reading.

Leo Hickman is an excellent writer and takes what could be a dry and depressing subject into an invigorating and optimistic challenge. More importantly, the concept of "ethical living" is broader and I think a better description, a better phrase than "greening" which so many in North America think of as putting solar panels on their monster homes. The book is very British in its writing and content, but it appears that a new addition is in the works. ::A Good Life

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