The Green Business Guide
Author: Glenn Bachman
Publisher: Career Press, 2009
Pages: 287 Cost: $15.99/$18.95
Reviewed by Terri Schlichenmeyer
You happened to be working late one night when the office cleaning crew arrived. You watched, dumb-founded, as they hauled away bag after bag after bag of trash — paper, discarded cups, empty soda cans, empty printer cartridges — to the dumpster. You’ve been doing all you can at home to be greener. So why can’t you do the same at work?
You can, but it won’t be easy. With The Green Business Guide by Glenn Bachman, however, corporate greening is more doable than ever. Bachman says there are three trends that affect going Green in your business: a global economy defined by “relatively free exchange of goods,” a change in the health of the planet and a growing worldwide population. Within the next 20 years, it’s projected that there will be 8 billion people on Earth.
To get started on greening your workplace, embrace an eco-design, both in the product you put out and the products you use. Eco-design is “a meld of art and science that creates ecologically benign and economically viable products and services,” which pretty much sums up what you’re about to do. Designate a person within your corporation whose responsibility is to make sure your materials procurement strategy is ecologically sound. When shipping your product, know what kind of packing you need and don’t overuse. If you’re thinking about building, be sure your contractor is in agreement about Earth-friendly materials.
Inside your building, make use of settings to avoid running appliances when they’re not needed. Take a hard look at your automotive fleet and the transportation needs of your staff, including all business trips of all lengths. Consider telecommuting. Make a goal of becoming a certified Green enterprise.
Looking for a lighthearted way to go Green at work? You won’t find it here. The Green Business Guide means business, in more ways than one. There’s no “dumbing down” in this book and nothing cute. Bachman uses technical terms and advanced math-based concepts to help you find the best and most efficient ways to make your corporation greener. Some of the ideas are new but common sense (let shareholders know what’s in it for them); some seem to be grumpy (if someone sends you a document, single-sided, call and request that they not do it again); and some feel nitpicky (use only narrow-ruled notebooks). Still, there’s nothing that says you cannot pick and choose your ideas to do what feels right for your business.
If you’re a greenthusiast, a greenback, or a sprout just starting out in business, pick up a copy of The Green Business Guide. With its help, you can make a noticeable difference.
By Dolen Perkins-Valdez
Amistad/HarperCollins, January 2010
288 pp., $24.99
Stories set against the backdrop of American slavery are crushing. Story lines about the relationships between slaves and their families in particular grab hold of the deepest emotions and hold tightly. In her impressive debut novel, Wench, Dolen Perkins-Valdez delivers a tale centered on the lives of Lizzie, Reenie, Sweet and Mawu. The women develop a strong bond at a sprawling, exclusive resort in the free state of Ohio in the mid-1800s; the commonality they share, however, is that they are the mistresses of their slaveholders. Each woman has a hurtful story to share, as they desired both romance and freedom. There are countless stories to be told and to be read regarding the lingering, emotional impact of slavery; and here, Perkins-Valdez has imagined a memorable one, her characters are framed within a well-crafted and expressive narrative.
Big Machine By Victor LaValle
Spiegel & Grau, August 2009
384 pp., $25
Ricky Rice can’t seem to escape cult culture. As a kid, he and his family were drawn to a so-called religious cult in a tenement building in Queens, New York; now, as an Unlikely Scholar, he’s been inducted into an organization in Vermont comprised of other Unlikely Scholars, or onetime cons, who sit in a grand library and read through obscure articles to decode any message from The Voice to “go forth and survive.” Big Machine is not simply original, but admiringly so. The mixed bag of paranormal detectives was created in part because it was believed “that a mission would defeat an addiction.” LaValle says he wrote this bizarre, readable story because “I wanted to write something complex about issues that are usually treated simply. Not just good and bad, but choices that many people wrestle with their entire lives. I wanted to write about the wrestling.”
— Reviewed by Clarence V. Reynolds