Enduring Protracted Tales of Eco-sheds in "Almost Green"

James Glave Almost GreenFreelance writer James Glave has successfully turned the planning and construction of a shed on his property in British Columbia into a thriving trade.

His book, “Almost Green,” his own blog site devoted to the book and his promotional activities selling it, coupled with the Facebook group and the website devoted to renting out the shed as a holiday home, all seem lucrative spin-offs from his long, rambling and sometimes very dull tale of building the shed.

I was very excited when this book arrived, as we are planning to build a shed ourselves, at home in Jerusalem; but this book is about as far from a ‘how to’ guide as you could hope to find.

At times Glave’s prose is funny – his ongoing green feuding with his inlaws made me laugh out loud, and most readers would identify in some way with his anguished efforts to tell his father-in-law some of his gifts aren’t appropriate.

Glave writes with a passion about the difficulties of sourcing truly green materials, in particular his trying to find and agonisingly afford recycled wood (page 144 onwards), and the ongoing efforts to ditch a gas guzzling SUV (bought for him by the father-in-law…) and buy a more environmentally-friendly family size car instead.

From chapter 10: ‘Sweat Equity’:

“As the eco-shed rose triumphantly in my yard, my confidence and sense of purpose followed suit. I was spiraling into debt, but I’d never felt so justified in extending myself. I was no longer just a househusband who could swing a mop and orchestrate a totally awesome princess-themed birthday party. I was a way-new postcarbon pioneer. I may have been fast approaching financial overshoot, but I felt like a million bucks. I remained deeply suspicious of the ‘human potential movement’, but this thing has made me feel as if I could tackle just about anything. I could walk and talk the techno-talk.”

Glave had a long long struggle building his shed, and I felt for him. He is a fine writer, and he weaves a story out of events that are really pretty thin. I would have preferred pictures, drawings, architectural plans maybe, and maybe an ariel shot of the location just to get specific about where all this was happening, as I’m not so familar with British Columbia.

But hats off to Glave for the book, the shed, and all the associated media and activism that has come along with it. If you find yourself in British Columbia, (on Bowen Island, to be precise) and would like to stay in Glve’s eco-shed, you can find all the info at www.eco-shed.ca.

If you fancy winning yourself a night in the eco-shed (travel to Bowen Island not included) his generous publishers are running a competition here. And if you fancy winning my review copy, email me at james”at”greenprophet.com with a simple sketch of your ideas for a Jerusalem shed: with 9 months heat and then today’s rain, what materials and green devices would be best for our Middle Eastern conditions? Keep it short and simple (not like Glave’s epic) but the well-thumbed copy of Glave’s book goes to the reader who turns in the most thoughtful, fun, green, and easy to understand drawing – sketches on backs of envelopes welcome!

picture credit: portrait of James Glave by Tobyn Ross

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