Monday, April 5, 2010

Girls Gone Green

By Lynn Hirshfield, foreword by Hayden Panettiere

Puffin Books, 2010

$11.99 pbk., ages 10 and up, 208 pages

Hip and stylish, this cause-inspiring book is packed with stories of teen girls making green choices in their daily lives as well as tips for readers to be green too.

After each girl's account of going green, adult mentors and eco-minded actresses offer advice, guidance and helpful websites to get readers involved.

Amy Galper, founder of Buddha Nose, an organic line of body-care products, gives directions to make a honey mask and sugar scrub, while Juno actress Ellen Page shares how to host a planting party -- all you need are some empty egg crates, dirt, a few spoons, a packet of organic seeds and your best buddies.

Readers will be inspired by 18-year-old Alberta Nells's heart-felt speeches to stop a ski resort from being developed on mountains held sacred by Native American tribes and 16-year-old Savannah Pope and Rachel Pelletier's award-winning campaign to erect a wind turbine at their Vermont high school.

Spurred by an assignment in their environmental studies class, the Vermont teens decided to enter the 2007 Ben & Jerry's Lick Global Warming contest after their school turned down their idea for aesthetic reasons.

"The administration felt that the wind turbine would be an eyesore on campus," Pope writes. "…We decided then and there that we would win…and get enough positive publicity that it would make it difficult for our school's administration to turn us down."

The teens researched turbines, wrote grants and came up with a plan to auction off native trees to help fund it, and in the end not only won the contest, but convinced the administration that wind energy would save it thousands of dollars annually in electricity costs and reduce the school's CO2 emissions by 5,000 pounds per year.

Getting a turbine built at school might sound a bit overwhelming to some, but there are lots of other ways readers can help care for Earth -- whether it's wearing a stylish vintage dress to the prom, making a sandwich tote from recycled fabric, buying recycled school supplies or (and they'll love this) educating their parents about wise energy use.

In a section "Tips to help your parents kick gas," Colette Brooks, head of the Big Imagination Group, explains the benefit of trading in the family's gas vehicle for a good used diesel car (diesel engines can go for up to 300,000 miles before they need an overhaul.)

Best Parts: There were so many amazing stories of ordinary girls standing their ground for the environment that readers will have a tough time choosing favorites.

My favorite, however, is the story of the wind turbine. How two girls managed to get a 105-foot wind mill up and running on school grounds -- and found $40,000 to make it happen -- is amazing and brings home what a little moxie can do for someone.

This fun, easy-to-navigate book makes being green popular, fashionable and just plain smart.

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