Wednesday, December 30, 2009

David Bach’s
Go Green, Live Rich
50 Simple Ways to Save the Earth and Get Rich Trying

Reviewed by Amy Behlke

In this time of economic crisis, many people want to help the environment, but fear they cannot afford to. There is often a concern that being eco-conscious is more expensive than just doing things “the old way.” A quick and easy read, David Bach’s Go Green, Live Rich is full of information, ideas and suggestions for leading a more eco-friendly life while saving, and maybe even making, money at the same time.

To get started, Bach helps readers calculate their carbon footprint and “litter factor” in terms of personal impact on the environment. Things that many people don’t even think about on a daily basis, can add up to a serious blow to the planet. Plastic water bottles and wax-lined paper cups used to hold that daily dose of caffeine can add up, and will sit in the landfill for forever.

The eleven chapters in the book are very quick to read, yet packed with interesting facts and ideas. In chapter 2, “Drive Smart, Finish Rich,” I learned that by driving a car that gets 35 mpg as opposed to a car that gets 20 mpg, you can save $884 per year in fuel costs. Bach, being a financial professional, suggests that if that $884 were invested at 8%, it would earn a return of over $108,000 in 30 years. Now that is some serious fuel savings!!

Becoming more aware of your home’s energy usage, saving water, green shopping strategies and recycling are all discussed; with the focus being not only on how to do these things, but how to save or earn money while doing them. Going green in the workplace is often a topic overlooked on a day-to-day basis, but Bach provides easy tips and ideas for making eco-friendly choices in your daily job. Chapters ten and eleven spotlight ways to give and receive in “green” ways. Investment and business ideas are provided, including some interesting links to “green” direct-sales businesses. Many environmental focused causes are cited, along with information about carbon off-sets and how to become an eco-activist.

Each chapter ends with “Go Green Action Steps,” full of great ideas and resources. These suggestions are easy to follow and full of links and other sources where further information can be found. There is also an amazing and well organized index at the back of the book, listing all sources cited in the book by chapter. I love this section because, with so many great links and resources mentioned in the book, I didn’t have to leaf every page and thumb through endlessly to find sites I wanted to visit after reading the chapters. Every interesting fact and statistic is listed by chapter with a short description of the source as well as a link when applicable.

Overall, I found David Bach’s Go Green, Live Rich and enjoyable and helpful book for anyone interested in learning how they can make changes in their lives that will help them tread more lightly on the earth while saving money at the same time. In this time of economic uncertainty, we are all interested in how to protect our investments and increase our income, and Bach’s book delivers with great suggestions for how to do both and help save the planet at the same time.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


The winter issue of Community Seeds Eco Magazine is here! Take a moment and check it out! There are many articles on green tips for the winter and community connections.
Excerpt From Fake vs Real: Which Christmas Trees are Greenest? by Melissa Breyer from

I wonder if it’s time to join the 29 million American households who will buy a fresh cut tree this year? Or should I opt for an artificial tree?

Petroleum is used to make the plastics in the trees and lots of carbon dioxide-creating energy is required to make and transport them–and they are difficult to recycle. In addition, three out of four fake trees are made in China under less than favorable labor conditions. Fake trees made in China are required by California Proposition 65 to carry a scary warning label for lead content. The potential for lead poisoning is serious and frightening. Most artificial Christmas trees are made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride)—often referred to as vinyl, as well as “the poison plastic.” According to the Campaign for Safe, Healthy Consumer Products, PVC is dangerous to human health and the environment throughout its entire life cycle, at the factory, in our homes, and in the trash. Our bodies are contaminated with poisonous chemicals released during the PVC life cycle, such as mercury, dioxins, and phthalates, which may pose irreversible lifelong health threats. When produced or burned, PVC plastic releases dioxins, a group of the most potent synthetic chemicals ever tested, which can cause cancer and harm the immune and reproductive systems.

Nowadays almost all of the nearly 30 million Christmas trees Americans use for decoration are grown on farms—like flowers, or vegetables. Not to be the Grinch here, but when you consider the use of water, pesticides and herbicides, in combination with soil erosion and the energy used to maintain the crop and transport the trees, well, I don’t know.

On the other hand, the trees are renewable, provide habitat for wild animals, absorb carbon dioxide and create oxygen, and the industry provides many jobs. Still mass agriculture is mass agriculture, so if you decide on a fresh cut tree follow these tips.

• Try to buy an organic Christmas tree.
• Buy from smaller, local farms to reduce transportation miles and support a small, sustainable operation.
• Recycle your tree! Check your local municipality to see if there is Christmas tree recycling near you.
• Don’t use tinsel or fake snow spray; they are hard to remove and make your tree ineligible for recycling.

See the article on a local Paradise tree farm on page 34 at