Gimmicky Green Authors Wouldn't Impress Thoreau

Writers often more into self promotion than self denial
By Victoria Floethe,  Newser User
Posted Dec 28, 2008 5:34 AM CST
A replica of Thoreau's one-room cabin at Walden Pond in Concord, Mass. Thoreau, the man who urged us to "simplify, simplify," immortalized Walden as the birthplace of the conservation movement.   (AP Photo)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – Modern-day Henry David Thoreaus don't need to move to the woods for life to land a book deal. The push for green living has given us, unfortunately, no small number of gimmicky books on the subject, laments Michael Agger in Mother Jones. Temporarily living without plastic, eating only locally grown foods, and eshewing shopping are just a few of the quick tricks that have made it into print.

The authors—often more into self-promotion than self-denial—live for a year or so this way, then cash in, and are rarely changed permanently, notes Agger. "The ultimate lesson of the new Thoreauvians seems to be that change is rarely drastic," writes Agger. In fact, he argues, "We must strive for continuous,  incremental improvement. That path won't land you on Morning Edition, but it might just get you to floss, recycle, grow your own food, read more poetry." Start with Thoreau.