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How people came to believe that individual choices could save the Earth

By: 
Kate Yoder

It was the late 1980s, and the headlines warned of acid rain, air pollution, and contaminated water. So John Javna, then a writer best known for books found on the back of toilets, traveled from drought-stricken California to Washington, D.C., with his backpack, looking for practical advice on how to save the world.

Javna self-published the book he’d written in his attic in California: 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth. The guide featured “unbelievably easy” steps, like installing low-flow showerheads and bringing cloth bags to the grocery store.