Bag Green Guilt by Jen Pleasants

This quick read is a good beginner's book for those starting on a green-living journey.

Going green can be overwhelming when you’re just getting started. For beginners, the steps involved may seem too complex to digest and act upon. This can cause a large amount of anxiety, resulting in impaired physical and mental health, such as high-blood pressure (a leading cause of heart attacks) and paralyzing guilt. Bag Green Guilt: 5 Easy Steps: Turn Eco-Anxiety Into Constructive Energy by Jen Pleasants explores options to reduce such needless stress.

Some of our anxiety is a direct result of factors like overpopulation and global warming, which often seem beyond our personal control.

Bag Green Guilt is a very short read that offers useful tips to prevent us from shoving our heads into the sand or making ourselves sick with guilt and worry about how to fix our ailing earth. The monumental stress we feel each time we see injustices resulting from environmental issues can paralyze us.

Pleasants offers readers methods of dealing with factors that seem beyond our control. She suggests to begin by breathing (correctly) in order to relax the mind and body. “Breathing is a powerful tool in coping with and overcoming stress and guilt,” she writes. By relaxing the mind and body, we free our energy from guilt to make positive changes. These reassurances could also be found in any meditation class.

The author starts by making a list of ways to reduce her own overwhelming guilt, and suggests that readers use her list or make their own. Making a list is a constructive way to chart a plan toward living a green life. “Our goal,” she writes, “isn’t to be perfect, it’s just to make a difference.”

Because it is a short, straightforward read, the author demonstrates a keen understanding that contemporary consumers have incredibly busy lives. We require simple and easy ways to get started with green living.

Environmentalism is a well-researched topic, and there are many books, publications, and websites that go into greater depth than this book does. Individuals who have experience with many of the issues related to reducing their carbon footprint would likely find Bag Green Guilt to be too simplistic. Yet, the vast majority of consumers are not yet living a truly green life and will doubtless find that the author’s practical suggestions are easily digestible and readily implemented.

Suggestions such as the following are easy to act upon:

  • “Run your washer and dishwasher with full loads.”
  • “Use 100% post-consumer recycled paper in your printer and copier.”
  • “Take shorter showers.”
  • “Unplug chargers when the charge is complete.”
  • “Eat less meat.”

There are also suggestions that, Pleasants writes, might take “More effort and money, but [provide] more reward:”

  • “Install low-flow toilets and faucets.”
  • “Make sure your walls and ceilings are insulated.”
  • “Install a gray-water system and reuse water from the bath and washing machine for your landscaping.”

As a huge bonus, the author includes a list of websites that lead to tips and hints by which consumers can reduce our carbon footprints. Sites like,, 1 Block Off the Grid, and provide an education on ways to promote social and green change.

Pleasants consolidates several sites that promote ways to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and describes each site’s content and purpose. Though a few of the sites listed are new to me, I have often read or heard of a number of these websites. Yet, I have never taken the time to jot them down and store them in an easily accessible place. I found this the part of the book that I most appreciate.

As an individual who has not really explored many services and methods to reduce my carbon footprint, I enjoyed Bag Green Guilt and appreciated Pleasants’ suggestions.

Bag Green Guilt is available on and at other retailers. The cover price is $12.95 in the U.S. and $16.25 in Canada. It would make a great gift for someone who is just beginning on the path to green living.

The Small Print

Blue Planet Green Living received a free sample of the book reviewed in this post. No other compensation or incentive was provided.

Blue Planet Green Living’s review policy is to only review those books we feel merit overall positive comments. If we do not like a book , we do not review it. We are not influenced by complimentary books and provide our honest opinions. For more information, please visit the Policies tab on the top navigation bar.

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Jaia Rosenfels

Contributing Writer

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)


5 Responses to “Bag Green Guilt by Jen Pleasants”

  1. Jaia Rosenfels, Contributing Writer | Blue Planet Green Living on August 16th, 2010 12:08 pm

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  2. Bag Green Guilt by Jen Pleasants | Blue Planet Green Living | Welcome2Green on August 16th, 2010 4:06 pm

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  3. Jane on August 18th, 2010 4:43 am

    The first sentences of this piece strikes a nerve. When it comes to green living, many people I know say “oh, I don’t have time for that” or “what could I possibly do in light of the huge problems?” I feel this is the misconception. Starting somewhere is all that is required, and it starts at home. It has to, and makes sense. I’m one of those people who at one time did not recycle faithfully, didn’t hesitate to throw anything in the trash, and didn’t compost for years, and felt terribly guilty. Now, it’s habit, and easy to do.

    In the next ten minutes, you could have a pail under your sink for kitchen scraps for the garden, and a basket or tub started for recyclables like plastics or paper. That is your start if you don’t do anything like this now. I still have a long way to go, but it’s a work in progress.

  4. Jaia Rosenfels on August 19th, 2010 9:19 am

    Thank you for taking the time to write and comment on this article. As one gets into a routine, conducting life by green standards is relatively simple. However, in the beginning, this plan can seem burdensome. This effect is the reason why millions of Americans aren’t living green lives, and thus incur stress and guilt. Compassion begins with understanding, and it is important to have an understanding of why people do not live as they should — or as we would like them to.

    I applaud you for your efforts in being environmentally friendly. You’re absolutely write that it doesn’t take long to get the ball rolling. Your comments will surely inspire other readers to begin this process.


  5. jen pleasants on September 30th, 2010 2:36 pm

    thank you jaia for your sweet words/review of BGG! i so appreciate your help making the world a better place! xoxo jen pleasants