'Give a Sh*T: Do Good. Live Better. Save the Planet' (book review)

Give A Sh*t book cover
© K Martinko

This handbook to sustainable living will help you practice what you preach.

You know that saying, "Life doesn't come with instructions"? Well, I have some good news for you. Sometimes it does! And sometimes those instructions come in the form of a book that's written in a fun and sassy style, yet is comprehensive in its reach. Let me introduce to you, Give A Sh*T: Do Good. Live Better. Save the Planet (Running Press, 2018) by Ashlee Piper.

If you're wanting to transform your life into a more ethical and sustainable version of itself, then this is a book you should definitely check out. Piper is a political strategist turned eco-lifestyle journalist who has penned a guide to making every aspect of your life gentler on the Earth, and she's about to tell you exactly what you have to do – but in a nice, only slightly bossy kind of way.

Piper is a strong believer in the power of personal lifestyle choices to effect change, which she also thinks her fellow Americans owe to the world. She pulls no punches in her introduction:

"Americans are disproportionately responsible for climate change, very recently dethroning China for the infamous designation as the biggest carbon polluter in history. Accounting for only 4 percent of the world's 7.5 billion people, Americans create 14.34 percent of harmful global emissions... Despite our size, the belief that four-car garages and nightly steak dinners are the apex of realizing the American dream has put us at the head of the class when it comes to f*cking up the planet."

The book unfolds as a how-to guide to get us all back on track, starting with the home. Piper covers basics such as paring down belongings, cleaning without toxic chemicals, learning how to compost, minimizing food waste, using safe cosmetics, building a conscious wardrobe, saving energy at home, and using green transportation. She delves into less common topics such as the dating scene and navigating relationships with one's new environmental conscience, planning a wedding and family, and responsible gift-giving.

Piper is also vegan, and her passion for animal rights shines through in the sections on why eschewing animal products in one's diet, clothing, and skincare should be a priority – not only for environmental reasons, but also because animals are smart, affectionate, empathetic creatures. Detailed charts explain the atrocious processes that countless animals undergo to become the meat we see in supermarkets, and decode the various ethical and environmental certifications that one sees on products.

By the time you finish reading, Piper will have turned you into a serious sh*t-giver when it comes to the planet, and given you a great resource for implementing those newfound beliefs on a daily basis.

Learn more at ashleepiper.com.

'Give a Sh*T: Do Good. Live Better. Save the Planet' (book review)
This handbook to sustainable living will help you practice what you preach.

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