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The Gap Year Blog

Books That Inspire An Eco-Friendly Lifestyle

14 Feb 2018 16:45 PM

Flickr | PRORosmarie Voegtl

Edited with permission by Frontier

Eco-friendly lifestyle brings many new obstacles to daily routines. From struggles with homemade natural cosmetic to arguments with a family about the necessity of recycling or long minutes wasted with searching for the palm oil in the endless ingredients lists. Many bloggers provide great tips on what to do, however, the motivation to change is far more important. These books might help you to find the needed inspiration.

No Impact Man by Colin Beavan

Colin Beavan felt the urge, so well-known to eco-activists, to tell the world that we need to change our behaviour, question our consumption and consumer choices. He was desperate that people can’t see the clear fact that carrying on our current lifestyle will lead us to disaster. What he was especially anxious about was his wife’s behaviour. Criticising the whole society is one thing but what about our loved ones? Why do these kind and intelligent people still maintain their disastrous habits?

Beavan realizes that being upset about his wife is easy but pointless. To understand her and gain the credit to become a speaker for environment, he must sacrifice his own comfort. That’s why he decided to start his one year long project to live in the centre of New York with minimal environmental impact. Beavan takes his reader on a heroic journey of one peculiar family that voluntarily walks hundreds of stairs to give up a lift and risks their health riding a bike in the busy NYC streets.

Flickr | Nelson L.

The book isn’t a list of practical tips, rather a record of the struggle to combine one’s ethical believes with societal duties. Stop using a car is one thing but try to explain your parents that you must skip Thanksgiving because there is no way how to get to their place eco-friendly! Beavan comes to the conclusion that it’s not possible to fight climate change without people and it’s not possible to change the world without love. As he says, “it is just possible that a world in which we already suffer so much loss could be made a little bit better if husbands were kinder to their wives.”

Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, Wendell Berry (editors)

To make the new eco-friendly lifestyle sustainable, some strong inner conviction is necessary. While it’s handy to know 10 great ways how to go zero waste or 5 easy tricks to reduce your water consumption, it’s also important to know why you want to do that. Spiritual Ecology collects numerous essays written mostly by Canadian Aboriginals that inspire you to find the beauty in nature. It provides a spiritual response to ecological crisis and makes you believe that even you as an individual can make an important difference. According to one Aboriginal saying: “Thank you for being well. What happens to you and what happens to the earth happens to us as well, so we have common interests.”

Flickr | [bastian.]

Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

Jonathan Safran Foer wrote a book whose goal isn’t to make you go vegetarian. Despite the fact that during his three years long investigation of factory farming, he became vegetarian himself. Foer mastered skills of naturalistic descriptions so if internet videos of animal abuse haven’t impressed you, his writing will. However, this book isn’t only about exhaustive amount of data or freezing stories from slaughterhouses. Its power lays in the inclusion of different views on the ethics of eating meet.

The word in the book was given to the vegetarian who raises animals for food while making their lives as happy as possible. To her husband who eats meat but loves and respects the animals he looks after. To the member of Peta who believes humans don’t have any rights to intervene to the lives of animals. To vegan who helps to build slaughterhouses so animals can die in more humane conditions. The author doesn’t say which approach is right or wrong, it’s on the reader to judge. Whether you eat meat or not, the need to stop factory farming and its vast environmental impacts should be the common goal for everyone.

Pixabay | Pixel-Sepp

The Idle Traveller by The Art of Slow Travel by Dan Kieran

Dan Kieran makes you question your holiday plans. Try to ask yourself: What is your vacation actually for? What is its goal? How does it enrich you? It’s never a good idea to do lazy holidays on a beach just because it’s how things work. If you really want to experience your days off fully, they need to have a purpose. Of course, a bus is slower than a plane and a tent less comfortable than a four stars bed. But think about what makes you happier - anonymous departure lounges at the airports with unified design around the world or unforgettable hitch-hiking adventure? Maybe it’s time to reconsider the way you do your holidays and add to them a new environmental dimension! Why not to apply to one of our projects?

Flickr | pascal richard

Libraries hide many more books that can inspire you to adore the nature. Thanks to them, switching to more sustainable lifestyle isn’t merely easier but also pleasurable and exciting. Among many others, we can recommend the German author Peter Wohlleben who combines scientific facts of natural life with his original catchy style of writing and leads his readers to the magical worlds of The Hidden Life of Trees and The Inner Life of Animals.

By Eliška Olšáková - Online Journalism Intern

Frontier runs terrestrial & marine conservationcommunityteaching and adventure projects in over 50 countries - join us and explore the world!