Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The greening of money

It used to be, and still is in some circles, that when you mentioned the word “green,” people immediately thought about money. Now, when folks hear the word, they tend to think about the environmental movement in one way or another. Well, Neale Godfrey wants you to think about both when you hear the word, and what one has to do with the other.

I had the privilege of "meeting" Neale Godfrey, founder of Children's Financial Network, Inc., on one of the radio shows I was hosting. She was a delightful guest and I contacted her following the show to see if she would be interested in doing a guest post for me here on the blog. She graciously agreed. If her name sounds familiar, you may have seen her on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, Today, CNBC, CNN or Neale is the author of many financial books for adults and children and her groundbreaking book, Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees:  A Parent’s Guide to Raising Financially Responsible Children gained a coveted spot as #1 on The New York Times Best Sellers list. Neale’s commonsense wisdom is what drew me to her. When she asked me to review her book, ECO- Effect: The Greening of Money, co-written with Beth Polazzo, how could I say no? 

The first thing I loved about the book when I first received it was the two-sided cover. I remember having books like this when I was a kid. The covers are upside down from each other and, when opened, take you into two different, but similar books. On the one side is a picture of the earth being held up but a variety of hands of different hues. Flip the book around and you see animated kids (again of different hues) gathered around the open book with enthusiastic smiles on their faces. These are likeable kids. Endorsements from Oprah Winfrey adorn both covers.
So what’s the gimmick? There’s no gimmick really. It’s just that one half of the book is geared toward adults; flip it around, and you have a teen book. Brilliant.

The teen’s side starts off with a “Why Me?” page, which includes this explanation:

Now, instead of just talking about budgeting money, I want to talk about something just as big, if not bigger – the budgeting of our earth’s resources.

What?! A financial book that includes caring for the earth? Again, I say, brilliant. She continues:

How are they related? Well, no matter how much money you or your family earns, you’ve got to divide it up in order to spend o save for things that you need or want, right? In the same way, when it comes to the earth, we also need to save resources and “spend” them wisely.

She goes on in the book to explain how ECOnomy and ECOlogy are related; thus the ECO Effect. For example:
When you’re in a store, look at the packaging – more is not better. It’s simple – fewer layers of plastic and paper create less garbage. That means less has to be hauled away to landfills in trucks that use fossil fuels, such as gasoline. It sure helps save the environment, and it may even save you and your family money.

Makes sense, doesn’t it? And the cool thing is, it will make sense to your teenagers as well.

I really liked the ECO-IQ quizzes in the book, and readily shared them with my kids (who are adults) and my husband. The quizzes are full of info we didn’t know. Like this: 

20. The first recycling plant was built in New York City in:

a. 1798
b. 1898
c. 1998

Do you know? I didn’t, and was shocked to find out the answer was 1898!

I also liked the F.Y.I. and Did You Know? boxes scattered throughout the pages:

If half of the polyester fabric made in the U.S. each year were produced with recycled materials, it would be enough to cover the entire state of N.Y.

Then there are the Top 10 Reasons to Recycle  and the Top 10 Things to Recycle lists.

2. Creates Jobs – Recycling in the United States is a $236 billion a year industry. More than 56,000 recycling enterprises employ 1.1 million workers nationwide.

Did you know that? I’m telling you, this book is packed full of really interesting stuff. But it’s not just interesting. It’s motivating as well, and the fact that it speaks to teens in an informative and non-condescending way is … again, I have to say it … brilliant.

Did I like this book? What do you think? How many more times do I have to use the word ‘brilliant’ to get my point across? And Neale and Beth even mention vinegar in the Clean up Naturally section … imagine that!

Do I think every home, with or without kids, should have a copy of this book? Absolutely! Seriously, this is one of the best environmental books I’ve read. Plus, it has the added bonus of being a common sense financial guide as well. What could be better?

ECHO to your kids and “start spreading the word!”

I’m not doing a giveaway, so there’s no reason to delay ordering this book right now. It will save you money many times over the cost of the book. And the earth just might thank you for it if you listen hard enough.

Check out the website (and let your kids spend some time there) for more great info and features like ECO-Effect Tip of the Week and ECO-Effect Fun Facts.

Disclaimer: I received the book ECO-Effect: The Greening of Money at no cost to me. I was under no obligation to review it and it did not influence my opinion in any way.

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