Divided into six parts (home, transportation, recycling, energy, garden & kitchen, and clothing & personal care products), "Living Like Ed" is a manual for making environmentally positive changes in how we live. It reads like an annotated "to-do" list. The ideas in it are great. He covers everything, and his wife adds interesting sidebar comments that give a different perspective. There are handy checklists in the back of the book to help you keep track of changes you have made and the results of those changes. It’s all good stuff.
Reading the book, though, I was disappointed that I didn’t end up with any information that was personally useful to me. We’re already doing most of the easy stuff. We’ve already done some of the big stuff, too, such as living in a well-insulated house and buying some energy-saving appliances. Others of Ed’s ideas were too expensive (solar panels), not practical at this stage of our lives (with an untrained preschooler, I'm not doing all the wash in cold water!) or not applicable to our situation (we can’t ditch the gas-powered lawn mower – we don’t have one because we don’t have a lawn!).
There’s another category of changes which we haven’t made because we don’t want to (use a rain-barrel to collect water), but most of these ideas I already knew about. One thing stuck, though. I think if I spent enough time listening to Ed, he’d convince me our next vehicle should be an electric car! He makes a good case for using natural personal care products, too.
Ed makes a big deal about how his changes can save money, but again I was disappointed. The relevant ideas that we are not currently implementing may save a great deal of money, but the payback time is significant, too. Also, I was baffled to see that with everything he is doing to be energy efficient at his own home, we use less electricity than he does, and we’re all electric as opposed to using some natural gas like he does. Maybe the most energy efficient thing a person can do is to move to a part of the country where there is no need for air conditioning.
It’s a little hard for me to rate this book. I thought Ed’s ideas were great, but I got bored reading because there was so little new (to me) material. If someone were just beginning to make eco-changes, the book would be very educational. I’ll give it 3.5 out of 5 stars, for light green to medium green readers.