Showing the importance of nature for our physical, financial, and emotional health, I killed a Penguin, is a serious book with an important message. It is written in an easy-to read, lighthearted style. How do small actions of one average consumer contribute to the death of a penguin? It is a sobering though. This ecological memoir really brings to light the impact that our every day choices make on the world around us.
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I Killed a Penguin: An Ecological Memoir
Title: I Killed a Penguin
Subtitle: An Ecological Memoir
Author: Fritzie von Jessen
Publisher: Publish America
Pages: 284 (paperback)
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About Fritzie von Jessen
Growing up in Denmark, Fritzie von Jessen came to the U.S. in the early 1960s-at the time of the “green revolution”. In her book I killed a Penguin, she poignantly compares how we were just 50 years ago, to the developments that have led to present-day threats of global warming and climate change. She suggests ways each individual can assume personal responsibility without changing our comfortable lifestyle-small changes that lead to significant impact on our environment.
I Killed a Penguin Book Review
This is wonderfully written book. It takes each aspect of our daily lives and presents ways we can change them to minimize our impact on the environment.
First, there is a quick look into the plight of the penguin. There are many sad statistics on how many species are struggling to survive. The book then highlights of the author’s average day. A drive to the grocery store, buy stuff for dinner, throw some stuff on the grill, etc. How did these small actions of one average consumer contribute to the death of a penguin? It is a sobering thought. I Killed a Penguin really brings to light the impact that our every day choices make on our environment.
There are 66 chapters in this book, but each one is only 2 to 3 pages. The book covers a huge array of topics including clothing, food, water, and shelter, to natural resources, transportation, and the plight of the ocean.
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Highlighting the Simple Changes
Fritzie von Jessen provides a great overview of numerous topics. There are also a few resources and statistics scattered throughout. However, there are not so many facts that you feel like you are reading a text book. Along with discussing the issues, she presents simple changes we can make in our every day lives that will lesson our ecological footprint.
My Concerns over the Science
As a scientist, there are one or two statements that I found a bit extreme. For example, in the discussion of antibacterial soaps, the author mentions the controversial use of Triclosan and it’s toxicity to the liver.
While I am completely against the use of antibacterial soaps for the general public, I have to wonder at WHAT LEVEL it shows liver toxicity. Many laboratory trials use extremely high doses which would not be found in the bottle of soap you buy from the shelf. I have no doubt that it IS toxic to the liver. However, that is not the reason I avoid these products. I am more concerned with bacterial resistance than any other issue.
There are only a few areas in I Killed a Penguin that I stopped to question things. Overall, it is meant to be an easy to read guide for greening up our lives. There is a brief bibliography in the back. This section lists the resources she used to help guide her writing. If you would like to do further research on any of the topics mentioned in the book you have a place to start.
Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.