I Count by icount.org.uk

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I Count by icount.org.uk

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Category: Home and Family
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: A breezy, upbeat book that will get your feet on the path towards a carbon-reduced lifestyle. It's easy to follow, has great advice and is full of humour. I Count would make a wonderfully virtuous gift but is perhaps a little too graphics intensive for some.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 80 Date: October 2006
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
ISBN: 0141030259

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Don't feel bad, feel good. Discover the power of off.

I Count is a practical little guide to reducing your carbon emissions and using your democratic influence to avert climate chaos. It's the manifesto of Icount.org.uk - the organisers of the recent rally in Trafalgar Square. There are 16 steps and by following them, you will have gone a long way towards reducing your carbon emissions by the 60% the government tells us is needed. You will also have made your opinion felt by some simple political pressure on your representatives.

It's all incredibly upbeat. Reading I Count, you don't feel as though you're giving up a great deal. Rather, you feel inspired and virtuous and successful. It makes you smile. There are lots of jokes, lots of encouragement and lots of pats on the back. Everything is explained very simply and you won't struggle to understand any of it. There are lots of facts and figures. Did you realise, for example, that you could save up to half a tonne of carbon simply by discovering the power of off and not leaving electrical items on stand by? Did you know that putting lids on saucepans when you cook saves up to 90% of the power required? As the book says, that's a poke in the eye for climate chaos.

There's advice on everything: domestic energy use, transport energy, spreading the word, political action. This little book would make a great teaching resource. There's not an ounce of doom and gloom to be seen. Some might not like this - in fact, many scientists think even a 60% cut in carbon emissions is too little, too late. In fact, I probably agree with that. Individuals aren't going to save the world and making them believe that an energy-saving lightbulb will do it, is counter-productive. But I don't agree with that. If you want people to apply the pressure, to force governments and business to act, you have to make them believe that they count. And if energy-saving lightbulbs make people believe that they count, then they will count. In my opinion, I Count is quite right to look for that domino effect. The book is very graphics-intensive though, and the older reader might just find it a bit of a headache. But that's ok. Their grandchildren can read it and pass on its messages!

Y'know, doing something about carbon emissions isn't just for the virtuous. Even if you are the head-in-the-sand type and tell yourself climate change isn't proven, you won't escape. Even if you use Gaia as an excuse and convince yourself the planet will survive anyway, you won't escape. Even if you are the selfish type and don't care about what kind of lives your grandchildren will lead, or how many untermenschen in other countries will die, you won't escape. In your lifetime, in your near lifetime, power and fuel bills will spiral. Unless you get used to living a life using less power and less fuel now, your standard of living will fall. And soon. And unless you start pestering the people in power now, your share of the increased costs will be greater, because big business is already pestering the people in power. If you're not careful, you'll be paying their share as well as your own. So be selfish. Buy the book. Make the adjustments. Tell Tony and Gordon what you think. Do it for yourself.

I'm going to buy I Count for every single young person I know this Christmas. As a parent, I understand very well the irresistible nature of pester power. I also know that young people are strong, and tenacious, and passionate. I think a little book like I Count, with its upbeat style, its focus on dreams coming true, its simple prescriptions, will harness the dreaded pester power into something rather wonderful. So, parents of Devon, watch out this Christmas. A Murphy gift is heading your way.

I'm giving I Count the full compliment of five Bookbag stars. No, it probably isn't ruthless enough. Yes, its appeal is probably confined to the younger generation. But bugger all that. It's encouraging. There is nothing like being told you count. And you do count. I count. They count. We count. Let's start counting.

And for heaven's sakes, it only costs three quid.

Thanks to Penguin for sending the book.

Those who would like to read about the subject in more depth might like to try Heat by George Monbiot.

Booklists.jpg I Count by icount.org.uk is in the Top Ten Green Books for Eco-Warriors.

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Buy I Count by icount.org.uk at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy I Count by icount.org.uk at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy I Count by icount.org.uk at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy I Count by icount.org.uk at Amazon.com.


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