Book Review: Dude Making A Difference (by Rob Greenfield)


Those of you who love to read will understand what I’m talking about when I say how this was one of these books that I just didn’t want to put down,  and gladly would have given up sleep for!  I started putting little sheets of paper into certain pages because I felt that there were some quotes there that I really needed to remember. (If it had been my own book, I would have highlighted them.)

Simply put, Rob makes me want to be a better human.  He really does.  Yes, he takes things to an extreme (such as standing up on his bike across an entire state) to raise funds for a charity, but what he does, he does to raise awareness.

This book is about a cross-country bike trip that Rob took a few years ago to raise awareness about taking steps to save our environment.  He decided on a few rules he would follow along the way:

  • only use electricity that was created from a portable alternative energy device (i.e. solar power), not electricity created by fossil fuels or from the grid
  • only use water that comes from natural resources, i.e., not from a tap or municipal system unless it’s being wasted (i.e. a busted fire hydrant, a leaky faucet, etc.)
  • only eat organic and local and unpackaged food (exception being that he could eat packaged foods if they were going to go to waste, i.e. in a dumpster, on someone’s plate at a restaurant)
  • cross the country on his bike only, so not using any fossil fuels (only exception would be if his life was threatened)
  • try to be as close to zero-waste producing as possible (i.e. if he bought something that was in non-recyclable plastic, it would travel with him the entire time)

Those are just some of the parameters he put in place.  Pretty impressive, huh?  Did I mention he also raised money for several non-profits, including Reuse Alliance, Growing Power, Solar Sister and Community Cycles, just to name a few.

Rob very rarely broke any of his rules, but of course he wasn’t perfect.   The book is mainly his journal that he steadfastly worked on during the entire trip.  It chronicles the many people who gave him shelter through the Warm Showers program, the many weather challenges he faced, his riding across the entire state of Pennsylvania without money.  He includes many nuggets of wisdom, such as:

  • “If you don’t support wasting water, then take shorter showers, do less laundry and pay attention to how much water you’re dumping down the drain.”
  • In terms of embracing all that the earth and your life has to give you, “[i]f your neighbors are too loud and keep you up at night, it means  your ears are functioning properly.  If  you smell nasty cigarettes at a bar or a rotting animal on the side of the road, it means your nose is doing its job.”

Another great nugget is:

“No human being has more or less time than any other.  Time is not something we can buy or win.  it is not something we can steal or borrow. . . .There is no such thing as not ‘having’ time for something.  We choose not to devote our time to doing something so that we can spend our time doing something else instead.  it’s a choice.  Life is a choice.”

My favorite quote of his is the following, and I think it’s because he exemplified this throughout the entire book.  He remained happy in the face of downpours, lightning strikes, you name it. He CHOSE to be happy rather than miserable.   So I will leave you with this quote.

“Life is a matter of perspective.  Change your perspective today and you’ll be living in a new world tomorrow.”

I strongly encourage you to read this book, however you get your hands on it.  I borrowed mine from the public library, but it is also available through Amazon (this is an affiliate link) and the book publisher’s website – New Society.

As always, thanks for reading, and if you have a comment, or a suggestion on another book I should read, please write me below! And if you think someone can benefit from reading it, or Rob’s book, please do feel free to share it!! And thanks!

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