Actress, producer, mother, and imperfect environmentalist, Gilbert understands how helping the environment can seem overwhelming. She shows how small changes here and there in everyday lives can make a "big" impact on the environment.
Actress, producer, mother, and imperfect environmentalist, Sara Gilbert understands how helping the environment can seem overwhelming. Between keeping up with work, friends, and kids, who has the time or money to maintain a compost pile, become an activist, or knit a sweater out of recycled grocery bags? Fortunately, we now know that small changes here and there in our everyday lives can make a big impact on the environment. We just need to know where to begin. That's where Gilbert comes in, with this tongue-in-cheek reference guide packed full of helpful information, available at your fingertips. Read it cover to cover or just open it up to a random page; you can take what you want from it when you want. Whether you've got money to burn or have to crash on a friend's couch, here are all of the eco-essentials to get the planet back on track, and you won't have to hug a single tree unless tree-hugging is your thing. Sharing the basics on health and beauty, work and money, home and gardening, family and fitness, and more, The Imperfect Environmentalist cuts through the clutter both in our homes and in our heads and offers simple approaches to help us clear out the pol
Sara Gilbert is creator, executive producer, and co-host of CBS's Emmy-nominated The Talk. She first captured America's heart in her role as Darlene Conner in the long-running hit series Roseanne, for which she received two Emmy nominations. Since then she has appeared in movies and regularly on a variety of television shows, including The Big Bang Theory, ER, and 24. The vegan mother of two and a magna cum laude graduate of Yale, Gilbert has established herself in the Hollywood community and beyond as a trusted voice on family, health, parenting, and eco-conscious living.
Advance praise for The Imperfect Environmentalist
"This book really opened my eyes. Then my eyes started stinging and tearing from all the toxins in the environment I'm now aware of. Thanks, Sara, I have a lot to do now."--Lisa Kudrow "Sara's passion and commitment to the environment have given me an awareness that I never had before about our planet. I learn from Sara every day and she makes me want to be a better person. See, you can teach an old dog new tricks."--Sharon Osbourne
Commended for Books for a Better Life (Green) 2013
Commended for Books for a Better Life (Green) 2014
"There's no doubt that my friendship with Sara has had an indelible impact on my life and the way I view the environment.
" Actress, national talk show host, and Hollywood eco spokesperson, Sara Gilbert provides us with an easy-to-use, one-step-at-a-time approach to help us live better and live cleaner (not to mention, greener). "
chapter one clean eating and drinking Why don''t we pay more attention to who our farmers are? We would never be as careless choosing an auto mechanic or babysitter as we are about who grows our food. --Michael Pollan, journalist and environmentalist, The Botany of Desire We Are What We Eat What we eat affects who we are, not just physically but emotionally and spiritually. For me, clean eating and drinking is about starting from the inside out. It''s the environmental issue closest to my heart and the place to begin. I became a vegetarian because I''m strict and weird and like to control things. I was thirteen, so I felt good all the time anyway. Years later, when I became a vegan, I really felt it in my body. I immediately had more energy and watched an extra layer of fat just melt off. When I began having some stomach problems, I started seeing food as medicine and became macrobiotic--my stomach was suddenly fine, my skin got clearer, my energy became even throughout the day, and my overall mood improved. This isn''t to say I''m not moody, but...not as moody. And to me that''s worth eating all the berries and twigs I can find. Even the Water''s Not Safe? Cut to the Chase, Hippie: What''s the Least I Need to Know? Safe drinking water isn''t just something to worry about on your tropical vacation. U.S. tap water is ridden with arsenic, lead, and pharmaceutical drugs. In short: Get a filter. Intriguing...I Can Handle a Little More Tap water has been protected under the Safe Drinking Water Act since 1974, but experts warn that the water in our pipes increasingly doesn''t meet health-safety guidelines. My tap water contains a horrifying thirty pollutants--including illegal levels of by-products from disinfectants, and dangerous amounts of arsenic and chloroform. How do I know? I went to the Environmental Working Group''s website and typed my zip code into the "What''s in your water?" tool. You can, too. Here''s their website: So grab the bottled water off the grocery-store shelf? Not so fast. Is that glass or plastic bottle going to wind up in a landfill? And just because it''s bottled doesn''t mean it''s chemical-free. If the water in your area is suspicious, stay hydrated by investing in a filter for your tap. Currently the two most popular types of filters are reverse osmosis and ionizing or alkaline filters. There are arguments in favor of both sides, but basically proponents of reverse osmosis filters claim that they get the water more pure by actually removing most of the chemicals. People who like ionizing filters say that because of the purification process, reverse osmosis water is overly stripped of minerals and therefore "dead" and acidic. Since the water doesn''t have enough minerals, our bodies own are leached as we process it. Fans of ionized water also say that it is more hydrating and boast that it is alkaline, which is supposed to be a good thing, I guess. So far there are no real comprehensive long-term studies on which water is better, so go with your gut. You can go to a hardware store or pick up a unit online where there are stores that specialize in water filters. I chose a company called A Divine H2O since they offer a system that combines reverse osmosis with an alkaline system that remineralizes the water, because I figure more is more. Plus they set positive intentions on the tank in the back of their store, so I mean, how can I not buy happy water? Once your tap water is filtered, take it with you in a reusable stainless steel or glass container. If you do need to rely on bottled water, choose a local brand in a glass bottle. I mean, do you really need your water to come from Fiji? I Need Some Facts to Bore My Friends With Why no plastic? Well, most water bottles are made with plastics called "polycarbonates," which leak low levels of BPA into everything the plastic touches, including cool water. High BPA levels are associated with heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer, and abnormally high levels of certain liver enzymes. It''s one of many chemicals classified as an endocrine disruptor, which is why polycarbonates are banned for use in baby bottles in Europe and Canada. Good news: As I write this, BPAs have been banned in the United States, too. Because, hey, if BPAs aren''t good for Canadian babies, I''m going to bet they''re not that great for the rest of us. Organic Matters: You Are What You Eat Cut to the Chase, Hippie: What''s the Least I Need to Know? Anything you''re going to eat without peeling should be organic, but the inside of organic produce is better, too--with up to 40 percent higher levels of nutrients like vitamin C, zinc, and iron. Intriguing...I Can Handle a Little More My grandma used to say, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away," but maybe not when that apple''s been treated with methylcyclopropene, a chemical gas that prevents fruit from ripening and makes that conventionally grown Fuji look fresh even if it''s a full year old. Yes. A year old. The only way to be sure your produce is fresh and pesticide-free is to buy 100 percent certified organic food, which has to comply with regulations that severely limit the use of additives and fortifiers, and requires it be grown in a way that maintains the integrity of the soil and is in harmony with the larger ecosystem. I Need Some Facts to Bore My Friends With From personal health to global sustainability, organic food is truly at the heart of a sustainable lifestyle. Every time you cook a meal with organic food, you''re not only doing your body a favor but the earth, too. Organic farming reduces pollutants in groundwater and creates richer soil that aids plant growth while reducing erosion. Now, that is a really boring fact--don''t pull it out on a first date. I''m Donald Trump Buy all organic all the time and eat only at certified organic restaurants. Okay, I''ve Got My Own Place, But I''ve Also Got Credit Card Debt If you''re going to peel it, go ahead and buy the conventional produce, but when it comes to berries, make an organic vow--nonorganic blueberries have been found to be laced with as many as fifty-two different pesticides, and off-season strawberries are often shipped from countries with no pesticide regulations. I''m Sleeping on My Friend''s Couch and Eating Ramen Noodles Wash nonorganic fruits and vegetables in a colander in the sink. Use a little baking soda and a nail brush and dry them off before eating. This will remove most of the pesticides and wax, making your produce safer to eat. Eating Local: Because You Wouldn''t Drive All Day to Pick Up a Tomato Cut to the Chase, Hippie: What''s the Least I Need to Know? When eating out, ask your server what''s local. Order it. Intriguing...I Can Handle a Little More Buying and eating locally grown food is good for the local economy because it keeps our dollars circulating close to home. It''s environmentally friendly, because the food doesn''t have to be transported long distances, requiring both fuel and preservatives. And local fruits and vegetables are better for our health--when food is picked ripe it tastes better and maintains its nutritional value. I take my kids to the farmer''s market--knowing I''m buying local and fresh makes the humiliation of the little choo-choo train ride worthwhile. If you don''t have a year-round farmer''s market near you, ask your neighborhood grocer to offer more local options, or join a CSA--that''s community supported agriculture, a popular way for consumers to buy seasonal food directly from area farmers. Go to for the low-down on where to find the best food grown closest to where you live. I Need Some Facts to Bore My Friends With According to a study by the New Economics Foundation in London, every dollar spent locally generates twice as much income for the local economy. When businesses are owned remotely, money leaves the community with each and every transaction. Produce that''s purchased in a supermarket has often been in transit or cold-stored for days or weeks. In comparison, produce at your local farmer''s market has often been picked within the last twenty-four hours. And it turns out that eating local is even more important for air quality and pollution than eating organic. A 2005 Food Policy Journal study found that the miles organic food often travels to our plate creates environmental damage that outweighs the benefit of buying organic. So go to that farmer''s market, suffer the choo-choo train, and buy local and organic. I''m-a-Better-Mom-Than-You Bonus If you join a CSA, you can visit the farm once or twice each season. With that personal connection, parents find that kids favor food from "their" farm--even vegetables they''ve never been known to eat before. Eating Out: From Greasy Spoons to Fine