Eileen Flanagan is a former Peace Corps volunteer who shares her journey from one world to another, and how she finds a way to connect the two. From being content in a mud hut in Botswana to living as a suburban mom in the states, she learns that life is not only very different, but very wrong. The way that people live in much of the developed world is destroying the planet and really taking away from what life is meant to be.
One of my favorite parts about this book was getting to read about what life was like as a Peace Corps volunteer in Botswana and all of Eileen's other travels. It was a true change to what my life looks like in the rural United States. She has led quite an interesting life and it was neat to live somewhat vicariously through her experiences. While her experiences are unique and exciting, there is a lot to learn!
While the stories and quirks are great, there is a really important issue that is pushed throughout- sustainability. Living in the United States it's hard to imagine living a sustainable or simple lifestyle when we aren't surrounded by it or when we don't really understand what that means. We've been conditioned to want the American dream, to have it all. Life becomes a constant contest of bigger homes, faster cars, etc. Arguably for many, family is still important but that consumerism is always there. When people hear about living a sustainable lifestyle, they tend to equate that to living completely off the grid or having a stockpile of food to last a decade... but that's not how it has to be.
So how should it be? I'll let you read Eileen's book to figure that out, but I will say this- no matter what you believe, we are running through our resources too quickly. Our next generation is going to suffer if we don't start making changes now for the future. The biggest and best lesson I've learned from this book is that every single person can make an impact, especially when it comes to saving our planet. If you are reading this now, YOU can make a difference and you aren't alone in your desire to make a change.
I believe a true marker of a good book, especially a memoir like this, is how it inspires you after you are done reading. I have personally had a hard time jumping on the bandwagon with sustainability, but I think that's because I didn't really have a good picture of what that looks like. Since finishing Renewable, I have been doing more research on sustainability and various things that I can do in my home to lesson my family's footprint on the environment. It has been more interesting, and less painful, that I thought it would be. So if you're like me and you're on the fence about all of this saving the planet stuff, check out Eileen's book. It's not as scary or as difficult as it seems!
Early praise for Renewable:
“If you’ve ever felt despair about the state of the world or wondered, ‘What can I do?’ I recommend reading Renewable. Eileen Flanagan’s insightful memoir shows a deep understanding of complex global problems, while showing us how one person can change their life while working to change the world we all share.” —Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director Greenpeace International
“Simple, beautiful, and nourishing, this book is a necessary reminder that the renewable energy we need most is people power.” —Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org
Renewable is available wherever books are sold, including Amazon HERE.
I received an advanced copy of Renewable via Social Good Moms for a review. All opinions are my own.
Written by Sarah Haney