Initially conceived in the UK as an online community that supports one another in suggesting small everyday but sustainable lifestyle changes, the project recently spawned a book, published by US-based Mountaineers Books' Skipstone division. It comes with the subtitle of '50 small acts that make a big difference.' The shelves of bookstores have, since the 70's been weighed down by volumes offering 50 to 101 ways to save the planet. And to a degree Live Generously follows this path. But in one important regard it also diverges. It realises that to save the planet, we must first rescue ourselves. If we care equally about the people next door, in the nursing homes, living in cardboard boxes, as we did about pandas and polar bears, our world, overall, would be a saner place.
Reading this small book, which fits into an outstretched palm, you'll certain get the usual tips on recycling, conserving water and energy, etc. But what sets it apart from its kin are acts that are more directly related to improving the lives around us. Acts of sharing, instead of competing.
Readers are gently nudged towards becoming organ donors. For while daily in the US 77 people benefit from other's generosity and receive a much needed organ transplant another 19 die due to a shortage of organs.
Credit Union and Community Banks are highlighted as a alternative form of ethically responsible investing.
You'll learn about starting up a food buying club with a link to expert advice from the National Cooperative Business Association.
Likewise community gardening is enthused about as a means to not only securing more your food supply but connecting with your neighbours.
Live Generously refers also to an easy to remember acronym for the act of responsible shopping. You might think of it as 'using your LOAF' (Local, Organic, Animal-Friendly and Fair Trade).
Or the simple daily act of taking time before chowing down to give thanks to the plants, animals, farmers, truck drivers, chefs, etc, who made our meals available acts as reminder of our connection to one another.
The fine white text is probably the book's only failing. As it has a strobing effect that make the longer passages harder to read, than plain old black ink on white would've been.
Those already started down the road of living socially and environmental aware lifestyles might not find too much that is new between the covers of Live Generously, but it will certainly provide them with an attractive and easily digested book to gently lead friends, family and colleagues in a similar direction. For those starting out, this is book full of signposts.
If your predilection is more to pixels than printed paper maybe you'll prefer the website, noted above, where you can sign up to join the growing band of folk who choose to Live Generously.