Change the World For Ten Bucks: 50 ways to make a difference by the We Are What We Do group (a not for profit based in the UK which calls themselves a “behaviour change” company who try to motivate people into making socially responsible and eco friendly changes) is a slightly misleading title. I thought it was going to show 50 different ways a small $10 investment could make important changes to some good thing or other. Actually, the aforementioned $10 is the price of the book, and within you get a list of 50 things you can do to change the world. Hmmmm…I’m a bit of a cynic, but I’m happy that I took it out from the library and got the 50 nuggets of wisdom free of charge, since most I already do or have previously heard about. Yet, as a whole, it makes a nice attempt at showing how a few concious decisions can make a lot of little eco-friendly or be-nice-to-your-neighbour ripples. So, maybe it’s worth ten bucks…
Another bonus, at 108 pages, it is a speedy read, and counts down a list of 50 things you can do to help the environment (#2 decline plastic bags whenever possible) or other people (#1 Learn mouth to mouth) with generally just a few sentences to explain the point. They are listed in no particular order, and are accompanied with a mix of colour images, including photos and cartoons. This isn’t listed as a children’s book, as some suggestions are definitely for adults, but it is sort of laid out like one, reading a bit like an extra long do gooder greeting card, and would be fine for adults and youth with lower literacy levels. I think the concept is that it’s meant to be shared without age limits.
The content of the book isn’t too bad, and does manage to inspire, since if most people did everything listed the world would be a better place. It also lists loads of related topic websites so it could keep you busy for while if you wanted to check into everything in more detail or find resources to help you with the points it makes. Here’s my top 3 points from the book:
#1 Plant Something – The book mentions that “1 tree can give enough oxygen for 2 people” which about.com basically agrees with and quotes Environment Canada as saying that “Two mature trees can provide enough oxygen for a family of four” (although I can’t find a direct link to Environment Canada report that confirms these quotes). Anyway, I love planting stuff and trying to grow food from the seeds I get from the grocery store. So far I have a pretty large Avocado tree, and am hoping to grow a kiwano plant and some other less typical plants if I can. If I can have some fun growing my own food and add oxygen into the environment while I’m doing it, then it sounds like a triple win to me!
#2 learn one good joke – Everyone who’s read readers digest should know that laughter is the best medicine, and evidence of physical benefits to laughing are pretty easy to find online. The book tells a joke here that is kind of cute so I thought I’d condense it a bit and share it:
Two creatures meet in a forest. The first asks the other, “What kind of creature are you?” “I’m a wolf dog.”
“What’s that?” Asks the first animal.
“Well, my daddy is a wolf and my mommy is a dog so I’m half wolf, half dog, a wolfdog. What kind of animal are you?”
“I’m a dragonfly.”
#3 – Find out how your money is invested – The book suggests that you ask your investment advisor “Can you ensure my investments don’t harm the planet or hurt my fellow man?”. I really like this one, since I agree that if people really knew what and who they were supporting with their finances they could then change from supporting the corporations that don’t care about people and the environment to the ones that do, which could have a massive impact and, if enough people do it, get big businesses to change to become more responsible.
All in all, I think that this one has the potential to inspire you and get you thinking, and worst case scenario, if you did buy it, it could make an inspirational addition to your bathroom literature so you can think about being a better you, one pit stop at a time. Happy reading (wherever you do it)!
Got a favourite family friendly joke? What little things do you do to try and make the world a little nicer?