Quote from "Low Carbon and Loving It" by Mark and Tom Delaney, 2018: "In writing this book, we have attempted to be honest about our own efforts, our mistakes, and the ways in which we've not done well on our journey towards a low-carbon life. We are ordinary people, trying to follow our consciences and responding to the changing world around us. We've been lucky to stand outside western culture for long enough to see that many of our high-carbon ways aren't actually necessary and that low-carbon alternatives may be better for us." (p. v)
A reader may be forgiven for being cautious about reading a book on climate change and reducing your carbon footprint, but reading Tom and Mark’s book, Low Carbon and Loving It, was a delight. They managed to avoid the obvious pitfalls of causing despair or inducing guilt. There’s not the moralising, Christian or otherwise, that you might expect from people who are living such environmentally careful lives. Instead Tom and Mark leave the reader feeling inspired and challenged.
This book is pitched for the ordinary, decent person in a wealthy part of the world, who hasn’t had a lot of time to think in detail about CC, and who has in good faith gone about living a decent, average life. It includes a lot of people, many of them in faith communities. Although it’s fair to describe our current situation as a “climate emergency”, my reading of the Australian public is that only a minority have really given much serious thought to the challenges we face.
This book is a gentle wake-up call. CC is explained in a way which is easy to understand, and the suggestions for decreasing one’s carbon footprint are practical and encouraging. Yet Mark and Tom don’t shy away from challenging myths and excuses. They do this gently but firmly.
This is not just another book, though, about these subjects. It’s woven in with real life stories, from India and from the lives of the Delaney family. I was impressed that some years ago they had been approached by journalists and documentary film-makers from Australian Story to see if they’d like their story told for the world to hear. They saw this only as boosting their “egos”.
Instead, they have woven their message with stories of people’s lives, their own, the story of Ruksana and the story of Kallu. It’s these stories which put flesh and bones on what are normally the drab, uninspiring outlines of more frugal lifestyle choices.
Some environmentalists will say, hey, it’s structural change which will keep the world under 1.5 Degrees C, and there’s plenty of truth in that. But ARRCC has always held that an individual’s lifestyle change remains important – as a driver of personal transformation and eventually cultural change in the broader society. Aside from the important outcome of stopping at least some greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere, a person’s integrity matters. What I do matters because we each matter. I matter.
This year, ARRCC will be promoting the global Living the Change Initiative, which asks faith leaders and people of faith to make pledges to lower their carbon footprint. This book will be a great resource to help us popularise steps to sustainable lifestyles and we look forward to seeing many people read it.
by Thea Ormerod