Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Review: Not Your Typical Book about the Environment, by Elin Kelsey

An opening salvo, titled WARNING, explains why this book is not the norm when it comes to books about saving the world: "It is not filled with doom and gloom messages about the state of the planet. It does not blame you, your baby sister, or your uncle Irving for climate change. It will not introduce huge, gnarly problems that are too big to deal with. Oh yeah, the word 'extinction' barely shows up at all. In fact, there's a good chance that reading this book will make you feel hopeful … even happy."

And who wouldn't be happy with this book's approach to what the disheartened might call the coming cataclysm? Perhaps the jaundiced of eye and sensibility might object to the book's somewhat febrile illustrations and tone, but the jaundiced are not the presumed readers of this book. This is a book for the buoyant young who can and very possibly might change, even save, the world by changing all (or most) of the bad habits that their elders have visited upon it.

Big changes will result from small thoughtful alterations in, for instance, how we dress: joyfully renounce (an oxymoron?) those petroleum-based fibres in favour of bamboo, organic or even vintage clothing. Think about dressing with less, "being lean and mean in your closet."

Story continues below advertisement

Similarly, in the case of food, look at your food and think long and hard about how it got to your plate. Can we move from nations of "Captains of Industrial Agriculture" to "Super Sustainable Farmers"?

According to this book's well-thought-out logic and messaging on this and many other aspects of environmental awareness, of course we can.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
As of December 20, 2017, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles as we switch to a new provider. We are behind schedule, but we are still working hard to bring you a new commenting system as soon as possible. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to