This book tells the tale of Dick Strawbridge and his family, who give up their 'normal' life in Malvern, Worcestershire and move to a derelict smallholding in the Cornish countryside and find out how feasible it is to lead a truly sustainable life whilst not totally sacrificing their 21st century habits.
The book is overflowing with useful information, one example being details of how to stop receiving junk mail and telephone calls with one easy phone call. Written in a friendly and accessible style without being self-righteous, the book is broken up with text boxes and diagrams to keep the reader engaged. From building water wheels to creating homemade bio-diesel it is perfectly clear from the outset, indeed, from the title, that the Strawbridges have not set themselves an easy task; but who ever said easy was rewarding, or even fun for that matter?
The Strawbridges's 'can do' attitude comes through at all times; any problem encountered is approached with truly admirable levels of objectivity and imagination. It is a great example of how a sustainable lifestyle leads to much greater community interaction; everyone possesses different skills which are useful to others and so everyone helps out each other.
Despite its title the main objective of the book is to make being green easier for the reader. It is clearly explained and wherever possible gives details of organisations or websites to aid the reader: they do the research so you don't have to. Perhaps we could all take a leaf out of their book!
It's Not Easy Being Green by Dick Strawbridge
(BBC Books, £7.99)
This article first appeared in the Ecologist January 2009