Promoting Laziness … Environmentally

November 18, 2009

I have to admit, I wasn’t too keen on perusing author Josh Dorfman’s book, The Lazy Environmentalist (2007, Stewart, Tabori & Chang), or his more recent The Lazy Environmentalist on a Budget (2009, Stewart, Tabori & Chang). Personally, I get tired of the whole “we can’t ask people to sacrifice to be green” argument.

That sentiment comes from the not-so-lazy environmentalist in me, who knows that much more can be done to fight climate change and promote energy efficiency if people just sacrificed something small, like an hour of their TV time or a wasteful trip in the car. One could even say that The Lazy Environmentalist is an oxymoron. After all, environmentalism usually involves some sort of action—saving trees, for example—not sitting at home and munching Fritos.

But the writer, businessman and marketer in me realizes that doom-and-gloom predictions and asking people to sacrifice is no way to prosper a movement. So with a heavy sigh I recently picked up Dorfman’s books and prepared to embrace my inner laziness.

Dorfman’s books are compilations—lists, really, of various green products and services with descriptions of each and categorized by markets like transportation, cleaning solutions, clothing, baby items and electronics. The brief descriptions are informative and interspersed with engaging introductions of each green market segment, and the latter is where Dorfman shines.

Dorfman writes with a simple, engaging style that explains the complexities of many green innovations with simplicity and ease, as well as a sense of élan. It’s entertaining, and we like that!

Many of the services listed could even give you ideas on green solutions of your own. Just peruse these books, and you’ll realize that green everything is being sold.

Just be wary of some companies featured in the older book, like the green rental car service that no longer exists, which is understandable in the nascent green market.

Though Dorfman only tackles electronics lightly, he is big proponent of products that perform multiple fuctions, such as smart phones that also work as contact managers, iPods and web devices. He’s also high on home media centers that combine TV, DVR (digital video recording), stereo system with a home computer, because they cut down on clutter. “Purchasing fewer products without sacrificing productivity or pleasure is an essential tenet of lazy environmentalism,” he writes.

Dorfman also promotes occupancy sensors that can turn off lights automatically, smart surge strips that cut power to connected computer or home theater devices, and web-based news.

Being the green tech maven I am, I know Dorfman’s take on greener electronics can go much, much deeper. His books barely scratch the surface. But they serve as solid resources for the lazy person in all of us when considering a green product or service in an area we know little about. These are books to own, not take out of the local library as I did. And for those who are wondering, they are made from 100 percent recycled paper.

They’re also available in the electronic Kindle format, and I think they’ll make a useful  and welcome addition to my multipurpose (and therefore somewhat green) iPhone. I’m looking forward to having a green resource that travels with me.


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