Sunday, 15 May 2011

Girls Gone Green

After writing my last post I went to my online bookshop and bought a book called Girls Gone Green, by Lynn Hirshfield. It's an American book about American girls trying their hardest to make a difference, the youngest is only 10 years old and have already made a difference to save the polar bears. I spent the last few days reading this book and it left me inspired and hopeful that the future isn't as gloomy as I have made it out to be. A lot of people in my generation from all over the world are trying to make a difference. We buy the pitch the adults sell us of the enivironmental crisis and instead of being depressed  of what the world has come to they, and I, are after the pitch inspired and excited to try and make a difference. That makes me hopeful that when it's us who are middle aged and rule this planet it will look a whole lot different.

The book is divided into seven chapters and conatins a foreword by Hayden Panettiere and an afterword by the author herself. The foreword is written inspiringly about her (Hayden's) devotion for saving the whales, dolphins and ocean. We are the blasted foreward into the first chapter: The Beauty Entrepreneurs and Fashionistas. Three girls of 17, 13 and 14 share their stories. The first story is on beauty products like make up or simple deodorant, toothpaste and shampoo. She and her friends founded Teens Turning Green, a foundation originally created to raise awareness of the harmful toxins that are all over your everyday products, but now they also have their own green products. Connected to this story are also tips of organic and environmentally and healthy alternatives to all your everyday products that will make both you and the planet healthier. There was also this for all the girls, which I've come to love :)
The second story is on a fashionable green product; reusable lunch bags. This is not very current for me, though it's a great thing to stop wasting all those brown paper bags. However, she made me want to buy a fair amount of canvas bags for grocery shopping.
The third and last story for the chapter is on clothes. This 14-year-old girl remakes her old outgrown clothes into new fashionable items. This isn't really something for me to do as I don't really get along with sewing machines. In craft class in school I used to do more untacking than actual sewing. But it's a great idea for handy people. However, we are given four websites. On three of them you can buy green clothing; EMA, Some Odd Rubies and Roxy. On the fourth one you can give away your old dresses for charity.

Then the second chapter begins; The Animal Advocates. Four girls of 16, 18, 10 and 15 tell their stories. The first story is on the Manatees, beautiful and endangered creatures I saw at the aquarium in Seoul. In her story she's invited to visit HSWRI and later founds Kids Making a Difference, which turns into "an award-winning, nationally recognized nonprofit organization". After her story we are introduced to her role model Jane Goodall, who has done great work on chimpanzees, and her organization Roots & Shoots.
The second story is about a girl from NYC doing everything she can to clean up the Bronx River and preserve the waterlife there. After her story we are introduced to NWF and their work on protecting the wildlife in America.
The third story is about the 10-year-old girls rallying to save the polar bears. She's blogging about her passion and has recently also gotten into saving honey bees. Honey bees are disappearing at an alarming rate and nobody seems to know why.
The fourth and final story is of a girl from Hawaii, trying her best to keep the beaches and oceans of Maui beautiful and toxin free. Her biggest problem are cigarette butts that pollute the beaches and the water. Her father has an organization that try to save the ocean, whales and dolphins through understanding and appreciation. At the end of this chapter we are given some information about animal cruelty and how bad the meat industry and animal testing really are. We are also given a site that can help.

The third chapter is about The Educators and Artists. Two girls of 17 and 16 tell their stories. In the first story we are introduced to a girl who tries to save the rainforests of the world and alongside her stories we are given different tips on how to preserve our trees and forests. One of them being vintage and second hand furniture. We are also given a site that can calculate your carbon footprint and another site with information on different green topics and tips n tricks.
The second story is about 16-year-old girl feeling helpless in the massmedia of the climate crisis. She's not yet of age and feels as if she has no say in anything. Then she comes up with an idea to make herself and children from all over the world heard. A quilt. Each square on the quilt is from a child somewhere and that square represents that child's thoughts on the climate and environment. After her story we are treated some information on clothes; where do they come from? what are they made of? and the website of three green housewives sharing green tips and tricks for your home.

Halfway through! Here begins chapter four: The Recyclers. Along with the story of an 18-year-old girl from Alaska we are given great information on recycling and plastics. This girl fought for a recycling center in her hometown and tried to give the inhabitants information on the importance of recycling and why their landfill was filling up so quickly. Two sites from the chapter: here and here.

Chapter five is about The Growers and Grocers. Two girls of 17 and 15 share their stories of growing organic foods. The first girl got her whole bording school into having their own farm patch at campus, growing their own vegetables for the dining hall. She also talked the school administration into only buying organic food. Along with her story we are treated tips on how to eat healthy and not only conquer the climate crisis but also obesity. This girl also gives her very own recipe for pesto. Before the next girl's story starts Ellen Page treats us to some info on how to grow your own veggies and herbs - without a garden!
In the second story the girl tells us how her neighbourhood was given a small patch of land to work - in central LA! This contributed to a lot of relationships between the people living there and all the families and their children were able to grow their own foods and work the earth. The patch of land was later lost, but that didn't stop the South Central Farmers. At the end of her story we are also given a website where we can give back to society and a recipe for organic whole wheat shortbreads.

Chapter 6 is called The Defenders of Air, Land and Water. Here four girls of 17, 18, 18 and 18 tells their stories on how to protect the very elements around them. The first story is from a girl telling us of how she and her father got asthma and respiratory problems respectively when her family moved into the city and started breathing the polluted air. She later fights against a plant that is planned to be built in her neighbourhood. At the end of her story we are given some tips on how to be an activist.
The second story is from a Native American girl fighting to protect her clan's sacred mountains from becoming a ski resort.
The third one is from a girl who wanted to help New Orleans after Katrina and went there when she turned 18. There the new buildings were built green from sustainable resources and when she got back home she applied what she had learned about green building techniques to the people in charge of the construction project that was underway at her school. At the end of this story we learn a few things about forests and trees and the final thing of this story is some tips of how the small things you change matter.
The fourth girl's story is of UNICEF's tap project and how she tried to raise awareness that having clean water isn't something to be taken for granted. She also encourages us to join Disney's Friends For Change.

The final chapter 7 is called The Environmental Scientists and Green Engineers. Three girls of 16, 18 and 16 tell their stories.
The first story is of a girl who got really interested in wind power and got her school to build a wind turbine on their premises. She encourages us to learn everything there is to learn about alternative energy. We are also given a link to Lick Global Warming.
The second story is of a girl who wants to help clean the soil from metals and she has found a way to do this with the help of oranges and other citrus fruits. Here we are given a link to Green Works Cleaners.
The final story of the book is about a girl who wants to raise awareness that the better pumped your car's tires are the less fuel you use up. Here we are given a site where you can find environmentally friendly cars.

What's important about this book is that all of the girls succeeded in what they were trying to do and it shows that you can do anything if you want it badly enough. More than just being a book this is a handbook on how to get started and to provide inspiration. My tip for you is to buy this book and read it and then get started. Use the links I've given you if you can't buy the book. The important thing is that everyone does something. It doesn't have to be big, it just needs to be something. Something small, like changing a bad habit. This book gave me hope and it's my wish that everyone else who reads this book will also feel hopeful enough to try and change.

1 comment:

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What's the first thought in your head after reading this? Let me know!