Book review: How to Go Carbon Neutral: A Practical Guide to Treading More Lightly Upon the Earth by Mark Brassington (How To Books, 2008)
Author Mark Brassington is determined to go carbon neutral.
He has doggedly set about trying to do so from scratch, using his existing house. As a father, he wants to do his bit to make sure that his son Charlie as a future on this planet. He has read lots of books, surfed lots of websites, asked lots of questions, and made lots of mistakes. He’s tried everything from putting vegetable oil in his car to composting dog poo. This has left him with a broad knowledge of going carbon neutral, which he is passing on to you in this book.
Going carbon neutral means not contributing any carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere thereby reducing the ongoing problem of global warming. It is about recognising the problem, adjusting your lifestyle and taking measures to gradually reduce your carbon footprint.
This book gives you the nuts and bolts instructions for changing your lifestyle towards becoming more carbon neutral. It includes everything from the back yard compost bin to the electric car.
If you’ve ever wondered how to start going about being more eco-friendly, this the sort of book that will help you on your way. If you’re not into eco-friendliness to save the environment, you can always do it to save money. My dad, coincidentally, is very economical – which often has the side-effect of being eco-friendly! So regardless of your motivation between wanting to go green, this book will give you good pointers where to start.
It’s easy to read, covers a lot of ground and specifically says when it doesn’t go into further details – and why – and suggests where you can find more information. It’s meant as a basic introduction, and as such, it does a good job.
There are a couple of editing mistakes (at one point, it says “see page X” … and that’s not the correct page) but that happens. The book is a quick and easy read, but as it came out in 2008, I’m not sure how much the situation around these things has changed, with legislation and fees and so on. Still, that’s something you could easily find out if you got into it.
Many of the simple and easy things we already do, like recycling, composting and energy saving lightbulbs. Other things, I’d like to have done, but it’s a matter of suitability for our house and where we live, not to mention the cost. Or hassle. Sure, we can get free loft insulation, but our loft is boarded, and they sure won’t rip up those floorboards, and/or put them back down again …
How to Go Carbon Neutral is written by a Nottingham-based author and talks about regulations and costs as they relate to people in the United Kingdom, but there is a lot of general advice applicable to any country as well. Now, if I could only get one of those free solar panel people to come and have a look at our roof … (UPDATE 2021: We did. The conclusion with the size/shape of our roof and it’s position was that we wouldn’t be offsetting the amount we use, so it would be a huge outlay for no actual return. 🙁 So that was disappointing, but at least he was honest about it.)
4 out of 5 wind turbines.