Keep the globe in trim

<strong>The Low Carbon Diet</strong>

Polly Ghazi and Rachel Lewis <em>Short Books, 224pp, £12.99</

Slimming fanatics, keep holding your breath: this is less size zero, more zero carbon emissions. In a chunky tome (printed locally, with vegetable-based inks, on sustainable paper, should an eyebrow be raised), the authors tell us how to cut our “carbon calories” – our personal contribution to climate change and its ills. Dieting terminology is used throughout, cannily designed to appeal to a generation of ethically aware but skinny-minded consumers. Yet since it clocks in at over 200 pages, you’ll need commitment to get through this bible of green living.

The Diet itself is basic. Boil only the water you need, walk your children to school . . . obvious, perhaps, but people need reminding. More adventurously, there is an Advanced Diet, pushing us towards personal wind-turbines and “Funky Fuels” (carbon-free alternatives to diesel and the like).

Surely, though, any self-respecting dieter will be irritated that, for all the discipline, they still have that extra chin; while any non-dieter will simply be bemused by a very extended pun. Helpful though the hints are, they remind the reader how useful the internet is today: accessible from wherever, always updated and, crucially, served in bite-size chunks. As a book, this is quite a meal. For dieters, snacking is often best.

This article first appeared in the 14 May 2007 issue of the New Statesman, What now?