Book Reviews - Sallie Eden Book Reviews 2020

Book Review – May 2020 – Sallie Eden

The Carbon Buddy Manual: Your practical guide to cooling our planet – by Colin Hastings. Available from

Something different for me to review this month – a manual, not a book.

Carbon emissions, climate change, environmental best practice – all issues it’s difficult to avoid these days. For anyone wanting to know more there are endless sources of information from academic treatise to books by well meaning, but sometimes ill-informed amateurs. Thankfully, here we have something much more readable and which lives up to its description as a ‘a clear, structured guide to getting started and keeping going’.

The author acknowledges what many so-called experts frequently overlook: the various barriers to climate action eg the behavioural, financial and practical issues. He also understands that too often people are turned off when they’re faced with the hectoring tones of certain types of activist and frequently conflicting messages.

I liked his approach, which I’d describe as one of ‘you don’t have to run a marathon on day one, you can start with baby steps, even those will get you nearer to where you want to be’, He suggests we should try to encourage and work with others and have fun whilst we’re taking action.

The format is suitable for older children, maybe siblings working together, as well as adults, but would work equally well as the basis of a family or household project or one to carry out with work colleagues.

By the start of Chapter 2 I’d already had an idea of my own to supplement one of Colin’s suggestions (helpfully provided in little boxes alongside the main text). I’m sure if I’d had the opportunity to bounce ideas off someone else I’d have more ideas, even on a first reading.

I really enjoyed this book. It was different, pragmatic, very readable, well-informed and contained an unexpected, but vital piece of advice: it’s ok to reward yourself when you’ve completed your environmental action list (not sure I’d go with pavlova though!).

Highly recommended. Bravo Colin!

(Colin is also interviewed by Sallie in this month’s Writers Talking)

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