After moving to ultra-eco-conscious Vancouver, Robyn Harding vows to decrease the size of her family’s carbon footprint. Ten-year-old Ethan worries about getting moobs from hormones in the food supply, so Robyn commits to buying organic. She quickly discovers that to keep the family in organic milk, she’ll have to sell a kidney. Then, eight-year-old Tegan becomes obsessed with the diminishing polar bear population. Soon Robyn finds herself making litterless lunches, greening her home, and valiantly trying to de-commercialize Christmas and birthdays. To make matters worse, she befriends a three-children, no-car single mother who shuttles her offspring and their various musical instruments (including a cello) around by bike and trailer. Who can compete with that? Harding deals with the challenges of ethical consumerism with spirit and wit, pondering how far her family has come, how far they’re willing to go, and whether she can go green and stay sane — and keep her kidneys.
Novelist and columnist Harding (The Secret Desires of a Soccer Mom) faces chagrin, one-upsmanship and the potential of a nervous breakdown as she strives to save the planet for her children-who, understandably, don't always appreciate her efforts. Resettling in Canada after an ill-fated move to Australia, Harding and family land in the trendiest, most environmentally correct part of Vancouver, B.C., where keeping up with the Joneses becomes, literally, keeping up with the Greens-Valerie Green, that is, who even shops for furniture with a bike and trailer. Harding recounts her search for sustainable mercury-free seafood, milk from genuinely happy cows, and chicken legs that once roamed free; as green birthday parties for her kids lead to green Christmas for the extended family (and increased household legume consumption gives way to increased methane emissions), Harding finds herself at odds with everyone she loves, including her own mother. Harding's sense of humor and keenly observed account of social mores in the new ecology will keep modern parents, especially those with opinions on the green movement, tickled throughout.