What Can I Do?
Lisa Harrow & Roger Payne
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Buy *What Can I Do?: An Alphabet For Living* online

What Can I Do?: An Alphabet For Living
Lisa Harrow & Roger Payne
Chelsea Green Publishing
127 pages
September 2004
rated 3 of 5 possible stars

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The Internet abounds with opportunities for activism, and author Lisa Harrow has put together a pocket-sized guide to all the necessary websites for anyne who cares about the planet and its inhabitants. What Can I Do? An Alphabet for Living comes as an answer for those who often wonder what little things they can do to really change the world for the better, and with all the challenges facing our planet today, this book is more important than ever.

Topics run the gamut from green living to buying earth-friendly products, promoting democracy and encouraging environmentalism to protecting endangered species and helping to stop hunger, supporting teachers and empowering children. The topics are alphabetized for convenience and feature one or more corresponding websites that any Internet user can log on to and begin doing their part right away to contribute to the betterment of humanity. There are also wonderful sidebars featuring biographical anecdotes about some of the founders of these fine organizations.

Harrow covers mainly green issues, but you can also find some unusual listings, such as a listing under DEMOCRACY for the National Federation of Republican Women. This is one of the book’s major flaws, that of the many websites that could be included under various topics, what Harrow chose to include is often lacking or simply does not make sense. Sure, some Republican women care about real non-partisan democracy, but the author fails to list several organizations that are doing so much more to fight for democratic values than the NFRW.

In fact, the author’s listing of several pro-hunting and fishing websites and organizations simply should not be included in a book about sustainability and protecting the environment. I can tell you that at least one of the groups she lists under the category of HUNTING AND FISHING are notorious for promoting over-hunting and the culling of strong male animals, at least here in America (author is British). That environmentalists should be promoting any kind of hunting and fishing, unless it is among native peoples for food and sustenance, is a bit head-fogging.

Still, if you are looking for places to buy clean products, find information about fair trade, save trees, protect our coral reefs and find the most accurate environmental news, this book is a priceless guide. Some of the websites may be outdated, something any book about the Internet cannot avoid, but most are of large and well-known groups and organizations devoted to saving the earth and all its many living creatures and helping those who seek to do their part to find some small way they can become activists.

© 2004 by Marie D. Jones for curledup.com.

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