Home Ecology: Making Your World a Better Place was published in London when I was 31, with a 3-month-old baby and a toddler. The book was a surprise bestseller thanks to its being chosen one of Britain’s Top 20 Green Books in a national promotion sponsored by The Observer. You can see the time I was interviewed on national television while changing my baby’s nappy (diaper) – a truly terrible first media experience! You can read about the financial disaster I suffered as a result of threats from the law firm representing McDonalds in what became the infamous McLibel case, when the US hamburger chain McDonalds spent vast sums attacking UK environmentalists in a way that was impossible in the US.
In addition to publishing on sustainability and running the Train Campaign in western Massachusetts (see our Climate March video), I’m now working on a relaunch of Home Ecology aka Eco Living aka The Armchair Environmentalist. This won’t be just a book, but the online guide I first imagined in the 1990s, along with a weekly Home Ecology edition of my Substack newsletter. My current tagline for it is “Preparing for climate change without losing our minds.” More coming very soon. Sign up at https://karenchristensen.substack.com/.
Here’s how I started Eco Living, published by Piatkus Books in 2000 (and mentioned in Judy Piatkus’s recent book Ahead of Her Time), with a foreword by Jonathon Porritt:
Most worthy authors of environmental books don’t realise how much most people have to think about: day-care, the company’s plan to relocate, finding a date, doing taxes. They bombard us with statistics and indigestible lists of advice, and mix good practical suggestions with completely nutty ideas (‘Write small so you use less paper’). They think we have endless time and money to devote to the cause. But in between figuring out how to afford a new suit or find time to go to the gym, we want to know where our choices can have the greatest environmental impact. And we want environmental thinking to contribute to a sense of well-being and balance in our lives, not to unhinge us altogether!
A few of the comments that have meant most to me:
The Armchair Environmentalist is filled with wisdom and Karen Christensen has incorporated more environmental advice in this crisp, tightly written volume than in anything I’ve seen.” —Lester R. Brown, founder of Worldwatch Institute
“Karen Christensen demonstrates how we can enrich our lives, have fun, and save money while dramatically reducing our ecological footprint.” —Denis Hayes, principal organizer of the first Earth Day
“We can make a difference – Karen Christensen shows us how.” —Anita Roddick OBE, founder of The Body Shop
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