We talk to the co-founder of this lightweight eco directory and guide to green living.

Want to lead a greener lifestyle, but not quite sure how? Struggling to know which companies are genuinely green and where to find them?

Recently published, Book of Green is a free, lightweight eco directory of companies with environmentally friendly, sustainable, fair trade, organic, natural, ethical and socially responsible products and services. Its goal is to offer an essential guide to living a greener lifestyle by listing green companies within fashion, food, drink, business services, energy, travel, leisure, health and beauty, home and garden and many other areas.

Book of Green was co-founded by Katie Keegan, founder of OneGreenEarth.com and co-founder of GreenSisters.com and Sue Jueno, founder of Allthingseco.com.

Here, Katie talks exclusively about the common misconceptions associated with green living, the eco products she simply can't live without and why Prince Charles is such an important figure in the fight to save our planet.

Why are you so passionate about green living?

“Green Living” in its general meaning seems to me to be the most obvious, practical, and ethical way to live.

What prompted you to launch One Green Earth?

I was working in investment management for about nine months in 2005-6.  I couldn't stand the detachment from reality. I had an opportunity to start a green fund, but I felt out of my depth, so decided to invest my time and energy promoting green businesses. After a fortuitous meeting with my web programmer, One Green Earth was finally launched in October 2006

What is the most rewarding aspect of helping to connect green businesses?

Knowing that green businesses and the people behind them are out there making a difference is very rewarding.

What is the biggest misconception about leading a green lifestyle?

One misconception is that living green means that your life will be restricted, or less rewarding. Entirely the opposite is true. Having your hot water heated by the sun, growing your own food and making jam or bread are all are extremely rewarding, and can save a lot of money too.

What things do you do to live a greener lifestyle in your day to day life?

I love shopping for clothes in charity shops and carboot sales – it’s amazing the original clothes that you can find compared with those on the high street. When I moved into my flat, I furnished the entire place using Freecycle, which is effectively a free ebay where you go and collect the items in your local area.

What is your favourite green business and why?

Good Energy is one of my favourite green businesses. It supplies 100% green electricity to the grid and also helps install microgeneration projects - generating power near where it is needed makes much more sense.

What green products could you not do without?

I could not do without my Onya bag. It is attached to my house keys and prevents me from using plastic bags. Eco paint is another – the ones I use are petrochemical free and have extremely low levels of VOCs. Home grown vegetables: I grow a few things like rocket and tomatoes on my windowsill in summer. Soon I will be moving to the Lake District where I hope to grow many more vegetables and keep chickens and pigs too!

What is the biggest challenge in maintaining high standards of social and environmental responsibility?

I think the biggest challenge for all of us is to face our own responsibility and work together to produce results. It is common to assign blame to 'corporates', they in turn blame 'government' and both blame 'consumer demand'.  Each of us needs to examine every aspect of our lives and review how we are contributing to the world.

How do you know if a company is genuinely green or if it is just ‘green wash’?

By meeting the people behind the company and checking that their actions follow their words. And by looking online to see if they are approved members of ethical directories. Is what they do the most environmentally sound way of doing it? Could you support other companies doing more? Electricity providers are required to fill their quota of green electricity, but some of them are just doing the minimum then saying 'Look how green we are!'

Who do you think is the most influential figure promoting green living today and why?

With so many aspects of green living and so many people playing their part, this is a tough question. Despite his wealth and standing, and a large carbon footprint, Prince Charles has been heavily involved in many different aspects of the environment for a long time. From sustainable farming, to housing, the rainforest project, hydropower, and more, he shows deep concern. His Richard Dimbleby lecture on the BBC was delivered with fluidity and urged us to view ourselves as fundamentally part of nature.

Book of Green is free and is available at BookofGreen.co.uk and a number of listed retailers.

By Emily Jenkinson

6th September 09