About the author:
“Adria Vasil is the bestselling author of Ecoholic, Ecoholic Home and Ecoholic Body. She’s been writing the practical and feisty weekly Ecoholic column for Toronto’s NOW Magazine since the spring of 2004, answering reader questions about everything from greening your food choices, finances and footwear to detoxifing your home, school, office, you name it. She has also covered broader environmental news issues for over a decade.
After working as a researcher in the non-profit world investigating corporate practices, Adria, who has a degree in politics and anthropology from the University of Toronto, decided to draw attention to the issues that most concerned her by becoming a journalist. She went back to school to attain a graduate degree in journalism from Ryerson University and has been writing about the broader ramifications of our consumer choices ever since.”
Excerpt taken from About the Author, Ecoholic.ca
This book was published in 2007. Despite it being out of date now, a lot of the topics are still very relevant today. Vasil breaks up this book into areas such as body care, pharmaceuticals, food, kid stuff, house and home, transportation, gift giving, businesses and common environmental issues. I find this book very easy to read. It’s not overly filled with jargon and when Vasil does use jargon she explains terms clearly. In each section she also outlines the problems with conventional products, how they affect the environment and our bodies, suggests alternative products to try and gives resources where to buy these products or go the DIY route. Everything is written in a way that brings seriousness to the issues that Vasil discusses but she doesn’t try to overwhelm or scare the reader. This is what I enjoy about Vasil’s books. I’m sorry to say a lot of eco-friendly, green or environmental books can scare the reader off by the tone of dread in the book. For someone like me, reading such a book can be depressing and counterproductive. It makes me feel like no matter what I do I won’t really be helping the situation. That’s not the message I think the average reader should get. I believe that the job of such books is to inform and enlighten so that we are motivated to make changes that benefit our health as well as the environment. If everyone felt this way, pitched in and became more aware about toxic exposure then we could all have a cumulative effect on the environment that is positive. I also liked that Vasil pretty much addresses every area of a person’s life where eco-friendly changes can be made. Most of us don’t think about what ingredients make up our body care products which we use every day. A lot of schools also don’t think too much about how they can use eco-friendly school supplies. Cars are also one of the products we use that have a big environmental impact. Yet a lot of people don’t drive electric cars or hybrids, though these numbers are increasing. Outside of the average individual’s personal life, there is also the big issues of climate change, endangered species, energy crisis, water shortage, deforestation, chemicals, and food. Vasil outlines her views on these bigger issues and what action is needed. At the end of that chapter she mentions what the individual person can do. I find these suggestions reasonable and she lists several options so people can find which action suits them best.
At the end of the book there is an appendix about plastics, a glossary, as well as a city by city resource guide. While some of the stores and websites have moved or are no longer in business this is a good primer for someone living in Canada who wants to start on an eco-friendly journey. I would also recommend reading Adria Vasil’s more recent books: Ecoholic Home & Ecoholic Body.