I had mixed feelings about this book. Thrifty Green tells the story of Priscilla Short, a woman who spent a year off the grid in a straw bale home, with limited power and water. Her story revealed the vulnerability of life off the grid, and how life might look if we all tried to be a little greener.
My issue with the book wasn’t the kind, warm tone of her voice, or the engaging stories. What bothered me is that the book itself is not very “green.”
I think I would have liked this book if it has been marketed and edited as an off-grid living book, but encouraging mass amounts of air pollution in the form of burning trash and barely mentioning composting, because she herself didn’t do it while off grid. (She was afraid of attracting rats, but the solution is a rat proof composter, not just a heap in the corner.)
I also feel like she could have handled talking about moving to the grid a little bit differently. I love that she was willing to admit that she slipped, and talk about why, but I also felt like she was defensive about it–and she shouldn’t be.
There are many idols in the environmentalism world. People who create zero waste. People who eat no meat, ever. People who live completely plastic free. People who have given up their homes to walk the Earth barefoot and sit in a yurt.
I admire these people greatly, but I’ll never be able to reach these heights either. I still use disposable diapers when I’m feeling sick or for overnight. I still throw out a vegetable scrap every once in a while because I’m too damn lazy to walk all the way to the compost pile. I’m not perfect, and neither are most people.
I think instead of a tone of shame, it might have improved the story to talk about how even though she was leading a more ordinary life, her carbon footprint was still _____ compared to an average household which is _____. Maybe you could inspire someone to make a change by adding, even if you only make one change, like swapping reusable grocery bags for plastic ones, you’ll be making this much of a difference.
The author’s overall point is more or less correct however, even if she did seem to gloss over air pollution. It’s true that for the most part, if you just make saving money your big focus, you’ll be more green.
I do think that this book is a good read. I just think it also could have been better.
I found this book for free at my local library, and recommend you look there first if you want to read it. By choosing to read from your local library or as an e-book, you can lower your carbon footprint from cutting down trees to make the book and the burning of fossil fuels from shipping it.
If you do decide to buy the book however, please consider purchasing it from this affiliate link here. If you do so, it will help support Rinexii and let us continue to provide more great stories like this one.