Green, American Style – Becoming Earth-Friendly and Reaping the Benefits by Anna M. Clark

“Americans of all stripes are finding their footing in the green movement. What was once a road less traveled is quickly becoming a superhighway as those who were once reluctant find that going green is not about giving up. It’s about gaining more money, time, opportunity, health, and well-being even as we preserve the American lifestyle in a rapidly changing world.

Green, American Style is a guide to going green and loving it. Its uniquely American perspective means it speaks to readers from their own paradigm, taking into account the largely conservative values of much of this country, its democratic and capitalistic history, and its resistance to reining in. More than a list of ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle, this book explores the green movement from the diverse perspectives of business, faith, and lifestyle, recognizing the economic, physical, and spiritual benefits of sustainable living.” – BakerBooks

An Excerpt from the Introduction

It began as an experiment. What would it be like if I tried living life from a completely new angle? I had my reasons for going this direction, some voluntary, others not so much. But during the course of this transition, I discovered something amazing. Living greener is a better way to live. It’s easy. It’s exciting. It’s convenient. It’s purposeful. It’s fruitful. It’s fun. It’s none of the things I thought. I thought it would be about giving up, but I ended up saving money, getting healthy, finding my voice, making money, making a difference, and taking life at a more enjoyable pace. When I decided to take a break from living luxuriously, I finally learned how to live well. The secret? Sustainability, or what I like to call the “green advantage.”


The green advantage has worked so well for me that I can’t help but share my enthusiasm with anyone who will listen, so I started a consulting firm that would allow me to do just that. My company, EarthPeople, visits organizations large and small with the aim of teaching them how to be more profitable through eco-friendly practices. The goal is sustainability, which has been defined as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

In my experience, too many people still think sustainability is nonsense. The green movement has become so politicized that it’s easy to forget that it started as a necessary reaction to industrial threats to our human health and natural resources. Long before Al Gore took center stage, there were Americans in every generation (including presidents) who championed the cause of conservation. Even if the climate-change debate rages for decades, our individual beliefs about it have little bearing on the good we can do by practicing commonsense sustainability.

Endorsements

“Dispelling the eco-hype and celebrating a sustainable model of ‘business better than usual,’ Anna Clark makes going green seem as American as (organic!) apple pie. Read Green, American Style, then pass it along to a friend. It will change your life–satisfaction guaranteed.”–Matthew Sleeth, author of Serve God, Save the Planet, and Nancy Sleeth, author of Go Green, Save Green. Blessed Earth

 

“Anna Clark provides a practical guide for those wanting to learn more about minimizing the impact their lives have on our planet, especially as consumers. Clark’s insights, drawn from her personal journey to living sustainably, make this book a joy to read.”–Jim Thomas, vice president of corporate social responsibility, JCPenney

“Regardless of our belief system or worldview, we’ve all asked ourselves, ‘What really matters?’ and ‘How can I make a difference?’ Anna Clark asked herself these questions and took action, embarking on a mission to make the world a better place one step at a time. She invites us into the conversations she’s having with green leaders and friends across America who are seeking a greener way of living that saves money, our health, and our planet. At a time when many of us are experiencing ‘green fatigue,’ Green, American Style inspires us to think smarter, cultivate natural-grown leadership skills in others and ourselves, and use our pioneering spirit to cause a ripple effect that will transform our communities, our country, and our world.”–Lee Enry Erickson, community manager for SustainLane Creation Care.

“In Green, American Style, Anna Clark takes the out-sized and overwhelming world of sustainable living–from the living room to the corporate boardroom–and turns it into an engaging and detailed look at the green economy that’s rapidly taking root across the country. Through extensive interviews with green leaders ranging from oil tycoons to suburban chicken farmers, Green, American Style makes the case that every individual and every business can play a part in and benefit from the greening of America.”–Matthew Wheeland, managing editor of GreenBiz.com

“Well done, Anna! The more those of us who are helping our planet recover from the ravages to which we have subjected it are made to seem normal and correct, the more ‘Joe and Josephine Citizen’ will be inclined to do their bit without thinking that they’re behaving on the fringes. This is a book everyone should read!”–Tony Frost, former head of the World Wildlife Foundation in South Africa; author of After the Rain.

Anna M. Clark is president of EarthPeople, LLC, and an advisor to the Center for Global Sustainability and Ethics at the University of Dallas Graduate School of Management. Clark and her family live in Dallas, Texas, in one of the first Texas residences to earn a Platinum LEED-certified rating from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Reposted from BakerBooks, a Divison of Baker Publishing Group with permission by Anna M. Clark. Meet the Author. Learn more about green living and leadership on Anna’s blog Life in the GreenLane and Eco-Leadership on GreenBiz.com

Blog Tour Review of Tending to Eden – Environmental Stewardship for God’s People by Scott C. Sabin

If you are taking time to read my book review of Tending to Eden by Scott Sabin, you are telling me that you are a compassionate person who cares about people and cares about the planet. However, the odds are that you have never experienced in your own personal life what you are about to read on the journey you will embark on with Scott Sabin, the Director of Plant with Purpose, within the pages of this book. That is, unless you are one of the 840 million people in the world that are chronically hungry, or survives on less than $2.50 a day, or are one of the 27 million people living as a slave.

If you have an inquiring mind and a beating heart, Tending to Eden will inform you, challenge you and change you. If you have traveled abroad to underdeveloped countries and your heart has broken for the people and their lands, Tending Eden will replace your sense of futility with hope and inspire you to act.

In the book’s foreword, Brian McLaren says it well: “Reading a book doesn’t change the world any more than writing one does. But when writers and readers are informed and inspired, they can take action together, and when that happens, change isn’t just possible; it’s inevitable.”

It has been a pleasure for me to know Scott personally, have heard him speak about Plant with Purpose reforestation projects, as well as collaborate with Scott and his staff while growing an online creation care community. I was delighted when asked to read a pre-publication galley copy of Scott’s book and be a part of his online blog tour happening simultaneously with the book’s release, today – March 3, 2010.

As the Executive Director of Plant with Purpose (formerly Floresta), Scott Sabin came to realize early on in his work that addressing serious environmental issues among the oppressed and impoverished of the world is truly foundational to the Great Commission to share the Good News, feed the poor and care for the widows and orphans – susceptible to every kind of infection disease known to man, without adequate shelter, clothing, clean water or sanitation, digging through heaps of trash for scraps to barter or eat.

Tending Eden is not going to bog you down with sad, sad stories that are more than you can bear, even though there is no end to how many Scott could have shared with his readers. Instead of painting one bleak word picture after another of the worst case scenarios and fixate on symptoms of things gone terribly wrong, Scott has chosen to inspire us and focus our attention upstream to identify causes and discover creative, sustainable solutions.

As Scott asked his questions, it became increasingly clear to him that “people need trees”, plain and simple. Without trees there is soil erosion, lack of water, failing economic and ecological systems, poverty and chronic hunger. Breaking the cycle of poverty is plausible when you know what you are up against. Take for instance waterborne disease. If you look upstream, as Scott describes, you end up with a pandemic of infectious and deadly diseases from tainted water when you don’t have trees; without firewood you can’t boil the water before you drink it. Reforestation plays a critical part in the restoration of every form of life on planet earth. But that is only one aspect of what Plant with Purpose does to help stop the vicious cycle of poverty and the ongoing depletion of natural resources.

The Plant with Purpose mission is to come along side those they serve to engage and equip them to discover and build upon their strengths. By empowering the people to participate in the process of the restoration of all things meaningful to sustain their lives, livelihood and land – dignity and independence is restored.

Plant With Purpose seeks to identify and find solutions for the real not perceived needs of the community. The impact of an environmental ministry has short-term and most importantly long-term benefits, which involves every aspect of a community: leadership and discipleship, micro-enterprises to boost the economy, rainwater harvesting and water shed restoration, agroforestry, sustainable organic farming practices, education, transportation, clothing, shelter, medical care, sanitation, quality of food and water… and the list goes on.

At the heart of the book, Scott makes it clear that in order to bring restoration, broken relationships need to be healed – personal relationships with God, relationships with one another and relationships with His creation. When you read Tending Eden, you will learn the truth about what is needed and what it takes to make a difference one life and one village at a time.

Scott has included “Step Aside” articles by some our nation’s most respected ministers and creation care leaders: Matthew Sleeth MD, Rusty Prichard, Leroy Barber, Cal DeWitt, Tony Campolo, Mark Labberton, Dr. Robert C. Linthicum, JoAnne Lyon, Dr. Paul Robinson, Tom Theriault and Tri Robinson.

Be sure to use the Creation Care Small Group Study Guide and Resources in the back of the book to start a discussion with family and friends. Seek ways to make an impact in your own community and explore ways you can partner with Plant with Purpose to accomplish their mission in the poor rural communities of Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Tanzania, Burundi and Thailand.

I found Tending Eden to be well balanced between the presentation of factual information and engaging storytelling. I pray that a copy of Tending Eden ends up in every high school and college library across the country.

Enjoy listening to Tending to Eden: An Interview with Author, Scott Sabin.

There Are No Words

There Are No Words – I read the synopsis, was intrigued by the premise, ordered two autographed copies, and as soon as my book arrived I read mine in two sittings. At first, the protagonist’s intelligence and command of language caught me off guard, challenging my perceptions. As the story unfolded, I became quite taken with Jaxon, the development of the characters’ friendships and the suspenseful twists of their fate.

Mary Calhoun Brown’s awarding winning book There Are No Words is a truly unique work of fiction about a 12 year-old, nonverbal autistic girl raised by her grandparents, whose future and fate of her and her friends are interwoven with a terrible disaster that actually happened. A train wreck at Dutchman’s Curve, which took place July 9, 1918, is the setting where their fate hinges upon trust and the outcome of their actions.

Here is  a recent interview with Mary Calhoun Brown by J.W. Coffey, reposted with the author’s permission.

Examiner.com – February 16, 2010 Lexington Literature Examiner J.W. Coffey

Author Mary Calhoun Brown, a West Virginia native, and her husband received the news in 2001 that their eldest son, William, had been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome–a mild form of autism. Rather than let the news get the better of them, Ms. Brown left her job to homeschool William and learn more of his disease. She also turned the experiences and knowledge into the fodder for her first novel, There Are No Words. The novel, published by Ohio’s Lucky Press LLC, has been receiving rave reviews as well as publishing awards, with the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) calling the book an “Outstanding Book for Young People with Disabilities 2011.”

– Tell us about your latest novel.

There Are No Words is the story of Jaxon MacKenzie, who is autistic and nonverbal. One night she falls into an old oil painting in her grandparents’ parlor and lands in 1918 where she can speak for the first time. Jaxon’s mission in this world of horse-driven carts and prejudice is to try to stop the worst train wreck in US history. Ultimately Jaxon must decide whether to stay in the past or move on to her own future without words.

This is the summary I always give when asked about the book. But There Are No Words is more than that. I wrote it as a message about the value of friendship with people who are different. Recently CNN’s Kiran Chetry aired a segment about a young athlete who befriended an autistic boy at his high school. Oh. My. Gosh. I was literally in tears when I watched it. No one knows the value of a friend unless you’ve never had one. That’s why I wrote the accompanying curriculum guide that I give away free to teachers. Peer education is the key to building friendships. The teacher assigns the book, the students read the book, and maybe one child will offer the hand of friendship to another.

– Do your characters come first or does the story?

In the case of There Are No Words, the character of Jaxon came first. I searched for an historical event that she could visit. The same is true with my new project. I know these characters. I just have to find the right story for them. I like to think Jane Austen used the same approach. Clearly she KNEW the people she wrote about. They are so true to life that I wouldn’t be surprised if Austen spent her time watching those around her, even taking notes on the eccentricities of those in her acquaintance.

– Do you ever start with one concept and see the story deviate into something else? Is the finished product close to the concept you started with?

Again, with There Are No Words, I wasn’t sure until the very end whether Jaxon would end up staying in the past or moving on to her own future without words. If she chose to go back, I wasn’t sure how that could happen. If she decided to return to Bartlett, I wasn’t sure how that would work out, either. I also didn’t plan on the crush Jaxon develops with Oliver Pack, either. Sometimes you have a story in mind, but the character leads you someplace better.

– Do you have a favorite character in this book?

I love Jaxon, of course. I spent quite a bit of time walking around in her shoes as I wrote the book, but I have to say that I adore Oliver Pack. Ahhh! I love the way he materializes out of no where and leads with his smile and dimples. I also like Mrs. Hale’s snootiness. She was fun to write.

– Do you have a favorite scene or chapter?

You know, no one has ever asked me whether I have a favorite scene or chapter. I have a few favorites. I love it when Jaxon watches the raindrops, because I think it says a lot about her. I also like the transition from present time to 1918. I added that after the first draft, and now I can’t imagine the book without it. And there’s one last scene between Sarah and Jaxon and the Grandmother that I love, but to tell you about it would spoil the ending.

– What do you have in mind for your next project?

My next project will be a series of letters from an imprisoned mother to her two children, explaining why she committed the crime for which she has been convicted. She will tell the story of her life, her adopted “twin” sister and the events that caused her to do the unthinkable.

– What’s some good advice for those starting out? What would you tell other aspiring writers?

For aspiring writers I would say this: finish your story. All too often, writers start a project, tire of it and then begin something else. You can’t get published unless you actually finish your story. The same qualities it takes to write, re-write, correct editions and get published are the same qualities it takes to be successful at anything. Toughen yourself up for rejection. You will be rejected. Over and over. Get over it and move on. If your story is worth telling, someone will relate to it and embrace it. Join Writer’s Market. It’s worth the money. Learn how to write a good query letter. It will represent your work, so it needs to be fabulous. Unless you are J.K. Rowling or Stephen King, you really don’t need an agent, no matter what the agents say. Make a web site and a blog and get on Twitter. Social media is the most valuable tool you have. Learn how to use it and make it work for you.

And by all means, buy my book.

BIO

Mary Calhoun Brown, is the award-winning author of There Are No Words. Brown tells stories about things that matter, weaving colorful and sensitive characters into history for a generation that prefers to be entertained rather than educated.

Brown is an advocate for children and adults with autism. She also partners with educators to create curriculum guides for her novels so teachers and home-school parents can meet state requirements while making the most of classroom and planning time. She is a professional speaker and loves to spend time with students, parents and teachers.

Mary Calhoun Brown lives in beautiful Huntington, West Virginia, with her husband Cam and three sons, William, Harrison and Dewey.