In Dude Making a Difference, Rob Greenfield has some interesting ideas about how to conserve resources, promote sustainability, and how to educate others on natural resources, transportation, personal hygiene, and more. I don’t think that many of the methods that Rob uses will work for everyone, but they seem to make him feel better about his lifestyle.
In his quest to save the planet, Rob fights with the photographer who comes along on the 4,000+ mile bike ride (though he omits the details of these misunderstandings). I found that small detail to be ironic. It seems as if Rob cares more about the planet than he does about getting along with the people on it. I think that if he embraced working within the system rather than getting under other folk’s skin and bucking the system, then he might make more headway with convincing others to his point of view. As it is, Rob runs afoul of multiple municipalities on his trip because of his dumpster diving and naked hi-jinks. I’m not saying that the system is perfect or that one shouldn’t question authority if you believe that the status quo is bogus- what I am saying is that I feel as if Rob pushes the issue just to see what he can get away with and to tell the story afterwards.
I learned quite a lot about small changes that I can make to my current lifestyle to save resources like changing out my faucets or utilizing a PowerPot (that particular product seemed exceptionally cool). But, the majority of this book felt repetitive and somewhat preachy. Rob gets up from wherever he crashed for the night (rarely from a real bed, of course), he either feels energized or not, he scavenges for food from local dumpsters, gets yelled at for that or not, gets on the road where he either feels energized or not, promotes his sustainability initiative for the day- be that biking barefooted, or going without the seat on his bike, or using only leaky faucets to get drinking water- then he rides for awhile, finds somewhere to sleep, pops on social media while either plugging his computer into the grid or not- but justifying it either way- and then goes to sleep either energized by his day or not. Repeat, repeat, repeat. For 104 days.
It’s interesting how Rob relies on waste to get by for much of the time because, if he succeeds in his quest to lower waste, he wouldn’t be able to live the lifestyle that he’s promoting anymore. The cognitive dissonance in such a position would drive me bonkers, but Rob seems ok with it. I admire what he’s doing, but I just don’t believe in his methods.
If you enjoyed Dude Making a Different, you may want to read Outsmart Waste: The Modern Idea of Garbage and How to Think Our Way Out of It by Tom Szaky or The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World by Chris Guillebeau. I received a free copy of this book from the GoodReads First Reads Giveaway program. Thanks for reading!