Self-published by Lianne Bell earlier this year, How on Earth Can I Be Eco-Friendly? is a funny, engaging and insightful read that doesn’t sugar-coat some frank truths. It provides practical advice and, while it’s perhaps aimed more at those just starting out on their eco-friendly journey, there’s definitely something for everyone – and some interesting uses for lemons that are worth a try!
Bell argues against the popular belief that sustainable living is ‘elitist’ and the option to make certain choices is not available to everyone. She makes the case that living sustainably doesn’t have to be daunting or expensive; quite the opposite.
The truth is that we buy and throw away far more than we need to and, as Bell notes, it’s hard to appreciate where our purchases come from and end up without seeing it first-hand; “When I was in London, though I didn’t see the actual piles of waste I was personally generating, that doesn’t mean they weren’t there,” she writes.
It’s a relatively quick read and is split into three easily digestible parts, focusing on the fashion, food and beauty industries. Each section is punctuated with hashtags and thought-provoking quotes from a range of notable people, from the Executive Director of Greenpeace to Elon Musk. Bell then gets straight to the point with some of the stark facts and harsh realities behind the purchases we make before offering some tried-and-tested advice.
Born in the UK and currently living in Taiwan, Bell has been attempting to live a more sustainable life for several years, with varying degrees of success. She is not at all condescending or judgemental and her anecdotes, as well as her ability to write entertainingly, highlight just how difficult it can be to make sustainable choices. For instance, just because something is labelled as organic, it doesn’t mean it is completely free of pesticides, and not all our plastic is recycled (even if you do put it in the right bin).
Bell herself admits that she is not 100% eco-friendly 100% of the time. However, her emphasis isn’t on doing things perfectly, but on the idea that even small changes, when a lot of people are making them together, can make a big difference. We all have to take responsibility and work as a team for the sake of the whole planet.
The book is very relatable, highlighting the fact that anyone can be eco-friendly and there isn’t one right way to go about it. Bell emphasises that the best thing we can do is to try; “We’ll never get anywhere if we’re riddled with guilt or crippled with anxiety about how much there is to do and how little we’re doing.”
Disclaimer: All views and opinions expressed are the author’s own, and are not representative, nor are endorsed by, any other individual or group.
Kate Groves and The Team