Wendy Richardson is an author for the Nerdy Books publishing company, where she helps write books that provide tips and information for complicated subjects in a fun and easily read format. Nerdy Book’s philosophy is that "any topic– no matter how complex– can be broken down into easily digestible nuggets of information." Nerdy Book’s publishes a series of eBooks, CD’s, and books called "Just the tips, man," which mostly give useful computer software tips and shortcuts to their readers as an alternative to long, boring software manuals. There are about a dozen different computer and software manuals available for purchase on the site. But there is also one other "Just for tips, man" book, written by Wendy, that stands out from the other books in the series. Wendy’s book is "Just for tips, man: For protecting the environment." I saw this and said to myself, "Whoa, how random. A book about the environment thrown in the mix with computer software shortcut manuals. Weird."
Wendy goes further, and even has a blog on the Nerdy Books website, where she posts her ideas and feelings about nature, environmental books she has read, and environmental issues that come up in the media. Actually, her blogs aren’t that far from what we do in our class.
The issues she discuss are like Nerdy Books literature; straight forward, easy to understand, and written in an informal yet informative language. In one blog, entitled "Speaking to a Bunch of Eco-Unaware Third Graders," Wendy talks about her experience as a guest speaker in her daughter’s class. She discusses her amazement at the amount of ignorance America’s youth has when concerning the environment. Her account is something that everyone can relate to. We have all either talked to other people about recycling, or had other people talk to us about reducing wastes. Remember back in elementary school when we would watch the videos about the 3-R’s? Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle! Remember Captain Planet? He was "our hero, taking pollution down to zero." In another one of Wendy’s blogs, entitled "School cafeteria trash heaps," Wendy goes into an account of the measures she takes to reduce her wastes and conserve energy. She actually encourages her kids to bring home the little plastic Ziploc baggies they carry their lunch in, so that she can wash and reuse them. Her real life accounts are so down-to-Earth, that anyone can read, relate, and adopt the concepts she teaches.
In search for the perfect environmental media to write about, I came across lots of highly scientific or political news columns that, honestly, seemed very boring and too technical to understand. Why did I choose this one? Well, it caught my eye. I hate to sell out to commercialism, but the site looked cool. I liked reading Wendy’s personal voice and accounts, as opposed to hearing a news report about far off events and scientific discoveries.
Here’s a scenario: Johnny is searching the web because there’s nothing good on television and he hates reading books. He comes across a boring CNN article about Congress considering passing a bill to raise gas prices so that less people would waste gas and more people would exercise by walking. Johnny isn’t interested; he doesn’t drive and he doesn’t know that much about Congress and governmental and legal procedures. Next website. Ok, so here’s this site at www.nerdybooks.com/blogs. The graphic design and font look appealing, so Johnny’s short attention span has been captured. He clicks on a blog posting and scans over it. He absorbs the words "sandwiches," "Ziploc baggies," and "reuse." Now Johnny’s on to something. He love’s sandwiches. And he makes sandwiches and puts them in Ziploc bags. And now it hits him, he can actually reuse the sandwich baggies! Johnny’s saving money, and he’s saving the earth, all at the same time.
True, most articles about the environment are written by ecologists and biologists and hippies who really care about nature and the world. They want to spread their knowledge, love, and concern to others through literature and media. But writers don’t just write to see their own thoughts on paper. Writers write to be read. They write to convey information. I respect Wendy’s blog because she has found a way to convey useful information about the things she cares about, but also keep my interest and make me want to care too. She provides small things that I can do everyday to help out the environment, where as Dr. Random Ecologist over there wants me to send money in support of saving a rare breed of Egyptian spotted locust that’s battling extinction. In my observations, one of the leading causes in world deterioration is apathy. No one really cares, because they feel like they have to put forth too much effort, and the direct return is not worth the investment. They try to read the articles and watch the pollution specials on the discovery channels, but why bore themselves when they can watch Law and Order: SVU ( I love that show!). At least Wendy tries to reach out to her audience (her audience being apathetic America) and urge them to do little things that, in the long term, help out everyone.