Book Review: The Ultimate Guide to Green Parenting

By Citizens for Public Justice

From The Catalyst, Summer 2016

The Ultimate Guide to Green Parenting
By Zion Lights
Between the Lines, 2016

Reviewed by Karri Munn-Venn

Full disclosure: I am through the birthing and baby-wearing stages of parenthood. With kids aged 12, ten, and four, I’m looking for a different kind of guidance than what I found in The Ultimate Guide to Green Parenting. Though full of potential—and a few gems of information—this guide is quirky to say the least.

It opens with valid warnings to limit screen time among children. But it then spends the next 120 pages focused almost exclusively on newborns and toddlers. Several sections also get bogged down with far too many details on things that only remotely connect with environmental decisions. For example, Lights discusses the presence of men at childbirth, breastfeeding positions, and when/how to introduce solid foods to babies.

The scientific rigour that is strongly touted in the introduction is also somewhat weak. Some points refer to just a single small study. And the UK edition (from New Internationalist Publications) is printed on uncommonly thick paper.

Fortunately, the final chapters present several clear, well-documented options for families at all ages and stages. They include helpful suggestions for mindful, green living focused on travel, play, and greening your home.

But most of Lights’ advice can be summed up in three simple points. First, buy local and secondhand as much as possible for items such as diapers, clothing, household furnishings, and vehicles. Second, avoid unnecessary chemical additives in clothing and food. Finally, buck the prevailing consumer culture.

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