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Wake-up call to more sustainable lifestyles

Authors Mark and Thomas Delaney.  Photo: Supplied
Authors Mark and Thomas Delaney. Photo: Supplied

This book is pitched for the ordinary, decent person in a wealthy part of the world, who hasn’t had a lot of time to think in detail about climate change, and who has in good faith gone about living a decent, average life. It includes a lot of people, many of them in faith communities. Although it’s fair to describe our current situation as a “climate emergency”, my reading of the Australian public is that only a minority have really given much serious thought to the challenges we face.

This book is a gentle wake-up call. Climate change is explained in a way which is easy to understand, and the suggestions for decreasing one’s carbon footprint are practical and encouraging. Yet Mark and Tom don’t shy away from challenging myths and excuses. They do this gently but firmly.

My lifestyle has a fairly low footprint, but I still found the book challenging.

This is not just another book, though, about these subjects. It’s woven in with real life stories, from India and from the lives of the Delaney family. I was impressed that some years ago they were approached by journalists and documentary film-makers from Australian Story to see if they’d like their story told for the world to hear. They saw this only as boosting their “egos”.

Instead, they have woven their message with stories of people’s lives; their own, the story of Ruksana and the story of Kallu. It’s these stories which put flesh and bones on what are normally the drab, uninspiring outlines of more frugal lifestyle choices

Some environmentalists will say, hey, it’s structural change which will keep the world under a change rate of 1.5 degrees Celsius, and there’s plenty of truth in that. But an individual’s lifestyle change remains important as a driver of personal transformation and eventually cultural change in the broader society. Aside from the important outcome of stopping at least some greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere, a person’s integrity matters. What I do matters because we each matter. I matter.

This book is a great resource to help popularise steps to sustainable lifestyles.

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