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Hey Mr. Green: Sierra Magazine's Answer Guy Tackles Your Toughest Green Living Questions

Readers of Sierra magazine will recognize Bob Schlidgen as "Mr. Green," the writer of an advice column about living ecologically. In Hey Mr. Green, Schlidgen offers a compact volume of the best of his column from over the years. The book's five chapters each focus on one area of green living: home, food, recreation, waste management, and "The Big Picture," which tackles often controversial but overlapping issues such as politics and religion, and how they relate to green living. Within these areas, the author covers a broad range of topics, written in an advice column format using actual questions from readers of the magazine.

Some questions seek actual information, others seek Mr. Green's opinion, and still others are purely commentary, but Schildgen always responds with frank, down-to-earth, often hilarious (but consistently well-researched) answers. For example, he responds to a question about space tourism by first stating that he believes that this activity is justifiable only if the trips are one-way. He then goes on to give a scientific answer about the actual chemicals involved in space travel and why they have a negative impact on the environment.

One of the most impressive aspects of this book is the lack of snobbery in the author's tone. Yes, Schildgen sometimes mocks or gets a little sarcastic, but he never holds his knowledge over the reader's head. Anyone could pick up this book, read a page or two, and have learned something that he or she could put into practice today, without buying fancy equipment or making a huge lifestyle change. At the same time, Mr. Green does present challenges to readers. In response to a question about manhood and SUVs, he states, "Real men ride bikes."

Fun and substantial, this green guide is a valuable read for men and women alike. Written clearly enough for everyday people, but detailed and far-reaching enough for hardcore environmentalists, Hey Mr. Green will find a welcome home on many different shelves.

Written by: Amanda Moss, August 29th 2009

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