Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Book Review: Gardening Eden


Over the last year, I've toyed with making our household more green and trying to cut out waste while making things healthier for our family. I've taken baby steps and changed quite a bit about the way that we live. Most of what I cook is from scratch, which eliminates excess packaging (and extra preservatives and other unwanted chemicals). I've switched to homemade cleaners, which are much safer considering I have a little one running behind me. I started a compost bin, which helps reduce trash, but also creates an organic fertilizer for the garden I've started. I'm hoping to reduce our grocery bill by growing some vegetables at home.

Honestly, my primary motivation for this whole movement has been money, or lack thereof. By making these small changes, I have already saved us a TON of money. We've slashed our grocery bill in half. I know that according to proponents of global warming, the world will come to an end if I don't start making changes, but that was not the reason I decided to make changes. Granted, there are other benefits for making lifestyle changes, and that's where Gardening Eden enters for me.

Gardening Eden by Michael Abbaté is written from a Christian perspective detailing why we should make our homes and lifestyles greener according to God's word, which is what our compass should be anyway. Included within its recycled pages are biblical reasons to motivate us to care for the amazing creation that God has entrusted to us, along with realistic baby steps on all levels that you can take to make changes that really matter. My favorite quote from the book says, "If we recognize the true goodness endowed in Creation by the Creator, how can we not be impelled to appreciate, respect, and protect it as His wonderful gift to us?" (pg. 32). I was honestly convicted as I read through the pages thinking, "Why have I not done more, sooner?"

I have established several of the practices he recommends in the book, such as cooking at home, eating less, turning the thermostat down, changing out standard light bulbs for CFLs, and avoiding disposables. Some of the suggestions he makes are in process. Environmentally-friendly landscaping is something we are looking into, and shortening the length of our showers is happening on most days. I'm getting ready to start a larger compost pile that will hold everything that could be composted.

Some of his suggestions just didn't pan out for me, even after research. I looked into joining a Community Supported Agriculture group, but the cost for CSAs from local farms is prohibitive for us right now, considering the vegetables we eat are a bit limited. Buying a more efficient car isn't on the docket right now, either. Although we would eventually like to trade our X-Terra for something that doesn't use as much gas, replacing it isn't an option right now. But following every tip wasn't Abbaté's point. He wanted to make you think about the lifestyle changes that you could take, emphasizing that every step toward a greener lifestyle was another way to worship the One who created everything for us.

Overall, this was a GREAT book, giving me lots of ideas to help this become a permanent change in our home and not just a fad. We are called to work and take care of the garden He has given us. I know after reading it, I'll be scrutinizing my decisions more carefully. Happy Earth Day!

1 comment:

tinabea said...

I'm reading this book (Thank you Charissa!) and so far it is really good. I haven't read all the things he suggests, but I am really interested in growing my own vegetables. Specifically, tomatoes. Last year I insisted I was going to start a tub garden on my back deck, but it never happened. If I could grow my own tomatoes and basil I'd be so happy!