My siblings can always be relied upon to give me a good reality check. A month ago, when one of them read the Welcome to Everyday Life On A Shoestring post, they laughed and called into question my claim to have been interested in simple living since the 1980s.
Dear readers, you know I would never lie to you! My journey to a greener, simpler, lifestyle began when I read Seeing Green by Jonathon Porritt in 1986. To thank you for sticking with me for a whole month, I would like to offer one of you the chance to read the book that was so life-changing for me.
When I looked for the book on Amazon, I saw that Caroline Lucas, who is the UK's only Green MP and leader of the Green Party for England and Wales, also cites this book as being a major factor in her green conversion. (I can imagine more laughter from my siblings , "Look at what SHE went on to do after reading that book!" To which I would reply, "it takes all sorts!") Read an interview with Caroline here, where she says,
"Then in 1986 I read a book by Jonathon Porritt called Seeing Green and it was one of those books that completely change your life within the space of time it takes to read 250 pages."
Despite being written in the 1980s, I think the book still holds its own in 2012. There are parts that are clearly dated, such as discussion about the Cold War, but the sections on green economics seem highly prescient, given the current global financial situation.
The minimum criteria for being green that Porritt lays out may be idealistic to some, but still make interesting reading:
a reverence for the Earth and all its creatures
a willingness to share the world's wealth among all its peoples
lasting security to be achieved through non-nuclear defence strategies and considerably reduced arms spendinga recognition of the rights of future generations in our use of all resources
an emphasis on socially useful, personally rewarding work, enhanced by human-scale technologyprotection of the environment as a precondition of a healthy society
an emphasis on personal growth and spiritual developmentrespect for the gentler side of human nature
open, participatory democracy at every level of societyrecognition of the crucial importance of significant reductions in population levels
harmony between people of every race, colour and creeda non-nuclear, low-energy strategy, based on conservation, greater efficiency and and renewable resources
an emphasis on self-reliance and decentralized communities.
prosperity to be achieved through sustainable alternatives to the rat race of economic growth
a rejection of materialism and the destructive values of industrialism
If you would like to be in with a chance of winning a secondhand copy of this book, you have until midnight on Sunday 10 June. Please comment below! I am happy to post it abroad. Have you ever read a book that changed the course of your life?
Both Jonathon Porritt and Caroline Lucas have their own websites and blogs which are full of interesting green things: