Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Green Books Campaign Review: The Carbon Diaries, 2015

This review is part of the Green Books campaign. Today 100 bloggers are reviewing 100 great books printed in an environmentally friendly way. Our goal is to encourage publishers to get greener and readers to take the environment into consideration when purchasing books. This campaign is organized by Eco-Libris, a a green company working to green up the book industry by promoting the adoption of green practices, balancing out books by planting trees, and supporting green books. A full list of participating blogs and links to their reviews are available on the Eco-Libris website.

For this program, I requested to read The Carbon Diaries: 2015 by Saci Lloyd. As the title says, it's 2015: global warming means that things have gotten bad. As in, Katrina X 2 every year bad. In an attempt to stem the tide, the United Kingdom becomes the first country to mandate carbon rationing. One has to wonder, though, is this too little too late? This book is one girl's diary during this tumultuous first year. Not only is there rationing, storms, and danger, but her punk band is struggling to stay together and there's a cute boy living next door. It's a lot to deal with.

In some ways, the book is a slice-of-life YA book, about the struggles of dealing with being a teen in any circumstance. I liked Laura as a character and narrator. I wanted her to do well, though since I'm not teenager anymore, some of the more angst-filled moments made me roll my eyes. But largely, this aspect of the book was okay.

But clearly, Carbon Diaries is mostly meant to be a cautionary tale, a warning that if we don't curb our carbon- and water-greedy ways, we'll be in dire straights in just a few years. It does a really good job at this. I honestly felt myself imagining what my life would be like if I couldn't use my car anymore, or could only take 5 minute showers (I'd have to cut my hair, for one thing. It takes me that long just to lather it up!). Lloyd paints a very compelling vision of what our future could hold.

There were some forced moments where these two aspects of the books - enviro-disaster morality story and teen angst story - bumped up together, and I ended up feeling somewhat preached to. The email exchanges with Laura's American cousin come to mind as an example of the occasional preaching. (As a side note, I wonder if these were the same in the UK edition.) Mostly, though, I thought this was a solid read and one that most YA readers would enjoy. It seems like this would be a really good way to teach kids about environmentalism without making it feel like work.

Buy The Carbon Diaries, 2015 on Amazon.

The Carbon Diaries, 2015 was "printed on environmentally responsible paper, 30% post-consumer waste. In addition, the printing process and ink reduces VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) emissions and uses less energy." VOCs, by the way, are toxins released into the air by manufactured products. For example, you know that new carpet smell? Its actually the result of the carpet off-gassing some nasty chemicals into the air. Same with the smell of fresh dry cleaning. VOCs are known to cause headaches, sick building syndrome, and allergies, and are believed to be linked to certain cancers. They're bad stuff. Eliminating them from our books? That's a good thing.

This book was provided by the publisher for review, as part of the Green Books Campaign.


  1. This sounds really good. I think we all need to be reminded from time to time of how wasteful we've become.

  2. sounds like a good book, but very startling.

  3. It is a really terrific read, and the book received three starred reviews! Check out THE CARBON DIARIES Facebook Fan Page at http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/The-Carbon-Diaries/96284673715?ref=ts

    Terry Borzumato-Greenberg
    VP, Marketing
    Holiday House


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