Review of ‘The Art of Sustainable Living’, by Jeni Edwards

This review is by Julie Bunting, and was published originally in The Peak Advertiser, the Peak District's local free newspaper, and is reproduced with Julie's kind permission.

THE ART OF SUSTAINABLE LIVING

In complete contrast to the anomaly of glossy, expensively produced books on environmental awareness, here is a handbook detailing a successfully implemented philosophy on sustainable living, put into practice and refined since long before the expression became topical. Jeni Edwards explains how and why she has reached a positively contented lifestyle, one that sits as easily on her conscience as possible.

It is the story of someone who pulled out of the rat race in the mid-1970s to work out how she and her then 'grotty little cottage' in the Peak could survive sustainably against a trend already causing her concern. Conclusions are presented as hard facts, not do-as-I-do lectures. One simple example reminds us that the true cost of our energy use is not reflected in our quarterly bills - 'Hidden away are all the other factors ...'

For Jeni, financial constraints have played their part in ways which have evolved over the past three decades, yet - as explained in her Philosophy of Enoughness - enough is plenty. Bearing in mind the need for balance, sustainable does not have to mean deprivation, especially when it comes to our physical sustenance and comfort. Thus Jeni has accepted compromises dictated by economics and viability: a plastic washing-up bowl, fridge, fibreglass bath and an open fire for reasons other than just toasting her toes.

Hers is a continuing journey of independence, hard work and endless compromise in exchange for peace of mind and 'an abiding sense of joy'.

The Art of Sustainable Living is self-published, printed and hand finished by Jeni Edwards using sustainable sources of paper and card, each cover illustrated with a pressed leaf. Priced £4.99 and available from Bakewell Bookshop or direct from the author, tel. 01629 636550 (ISBN 9781-874725-00-8).

Jeni asks the reader to recycle their copy by passing it on to someone else, each adding their own comments at the back of the book. Our review copy is already on the move - look out for the one with a wild strawberry leaf on the front.

Review by Julie Bunting


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