Excerpt: 'Gorgeously Green'

From cars to homes to offices, it seems that everything is "going green." But with the onslaught of environmental consciousness also comes an awful lot of confusion for individuals who want to make their lives more eco-friendly.

Author Sophie Uliano aims to sort out the mess in her new book, "Gorgeously Green: 8 Simple Steps to an Earth-Friendly Life."

In her book, Uliano explains how small changes in everyday life can have a big impact, both for the environment and for your pocket.

INTRODUCTION

If I make one tiny positive change today, I consider myself green. It can be as simple as flicking off a light switch or buying an organic apple. My motto is one change makes a difference, and if you can make two, that's even better! The payoff is that in doing that one thing, I not only feel good about myself, but I also know that I'm part of the new, cool crowd of women who are turning their lives from gray to green. You are about to embark on an eight-step program that will show you exactly how to live an earth-friendly life. Each step of the way, I will invite you to check off just one change you want to make. I don't want you to feel as overwhelmed as I once did. The great news about the one-change philosophy is that if every woman followed it every week — just one teeny thing — cumulatively we would create megachange in the world. Women like me tend to be more interested in their compact than their compost. We never forget a hair appointment yet always forget our reusable shopping tote. Many of us think the whole green way of life will be tedious, time-consuming, and even boring. Wrong! I have found out that caring about this planet doesn't have to be granola/hippie stuff. On the contrary, it's the most exciting, colorful way in which we could possibly live. After all, green is the new black, and we're going to be wearing this shade for a long time. Going green is not a fad that is going to fade; with temperature and pollution levels on the rise, it is becoming a way of life.

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A few years ago, I hadn't a clue. I thought organic food was a rip-off and that composting was for eco-nerds. Yoga and recycling were as far down the environmental food chain as I was willing to go. There was no way that I was going to stop dyeing my hair and painting my nails; and my gas-guzzling SUV was just fine, thank you very much!

I knew about the rain forests, or lack thereof, so I recycled the obvious things, but if I felt too lazy to walk down the hall to the recycling bin — well, a girl needs to conserve her energy for the really important things in life, like sitting down in front of the TV to find out who has been voted off the island. Then I started to hear about the ice caps melting, Manhattan submerged under water, and air pollution. It freaked me out, but it all still seemed too far away to really matter.

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The Internet is not a safe place for women like me: I shop too much and scare myself silly by Googling symptoms such as "headache" and deducing that I must have a brain tumor! Several years ago, on a sunny Saturday morning, I needed some new yoga pants, so I began surfing the Web and ended up reading about pesticides in cotton. I clicked from link to link and read on about neurotoxins in cosmetics and pesticides in my favorite foods. I became obsessed and spent the rest of the weekend glued to the computer as horror upon horror mounted.

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