Bothered by My Green Conscience

by Franke James

Green Book Festival Medal by Franke James

May 2010: Bothered by My Green Conscience is the winner of the 2010 Green Book Festival Award for Graphic Novels. The award honors books that, “… contribute to greater understanding, respect for and positive action on the changing worldwide environment.” Bruce Haring at the Green Book Festival said, “Franke’s book is a sheer delight and the judges are proud to honor it with this award.”

Author and artist, Franke James commented, “I’m thrilled it won the Green Book Festival Award for Graphic Novels! Book awards catch the attention of the media — and are therefore a great way to get the core message of my book to the public, and that is, ‘Do the hardest thing first.’ And then brag about it, shamelessly! Tell everyone about the wonderful green thing you did! Pretty soon, you’ll discover it’s fun and you’ll be inspiring others. Your friends and family may feel envious at first — but before you know it, they’ll be doing their own ‘hard green thing.’ And then we’ll have a real green revolution happening! And we need that.

“We’re treating our world as though it was disposable, and we had another shiny new one just waiting on a shelf for us. But we don’t! We need to get serious about protecting the environment, so that our children and grandchildren will have a healthy planet to live on. We can do a lot to fix the world, but we need to get ambitious now — and not wait for the politicians to save us.

“Do the hardest thing first. You’ll be surprised how fun it is, and how good it makes you feel!”

Where art meets personal activism

Bothered by My Green Conscience is the story of my true-life adventures in going green. It includes the story of us selling our only car (an SUV), winning approval from Toronto City Hall for the right to build a green driveway (and actually building it as a long weekend DIY project), rediscovering eccentric glamour in my own closet, understanding the real poop on social change, and also writing a visual letter to my future Grandkids in 2020, and wondering how they will judge us. The collection of five visual essays was published as a 160-page full color book by New Society Publishers in April 2009.

Buy it on Amazon: Bothered by My Green Conscience

What’s bothering your Green Conscience?

Read about Franke’s Green Conscience Art Workshops to see what is bothering other people’s green consciences. Since the book was published in 2009, Franke has spoken at educational events in Canada and the United States, including the University of Colorado, the Canadian Ecology Centre, Bates College, Ontario Teachers Federation, and the University of Cincinnati.


Reactions to Bothered by My Green Conscience:

“Franke James totally gets it! GREEN and GROOVY are not mutually exclusive. Glamorous eccentrics care about the planet… They care about the stage upon which they sizzle and shine!” Simon Doonan, author of Eccentric Glamour

“Franke James uses right-brain thinking and a unique visual style to green her future, and ours. She fuses together the conflicting ideas around her personal lifestyle and her concern about climate change and arrives at some novel solutions. Bothered by My Green Conscience leaves an imprint. Fantastic!” Daniel H. Pink, author of A Whole New Mind

“Magnificent visual essays. Spectacular!” Dan Roam, author of The Back of the Napkin

“Franke suggests Doing the Hardest Thing First, which for her is giving up the car… And the change in her life… is a lot more significant.” Lloyd Alter,

“In her quest to wake up people to climate change, Franke James uses whimsical collages of words and images that bite you under the surface and tease your values. She isn’t afraid to take on anyone, from big industry to the cultural icons who try to make global warming an intellectual game. When my co-editor, Kim Blank, and I decided to edit a book of cultural readings for university students, we knew that we wanted James and Rachel Carson to anchor the conclusion.” Stephen Eaton Hume, author of Economics Writing

“I love the reactions of ordinary people to Franke James’ idea of selling her SUV. Love Suzuki the uber-environmentalist. Love that Franke has a beer fridge and that she is not perfect in this green stuff and that Suzuki would find a lot to criticize. My SUV and Me Say Goodbye shows that the imperfect person can still contribute a lot because people don’t have to be environmental purists in order to make a difference.” Claire Bernstein, You! Be the Judge

“Thanks for taking that huge first step and for not taking ‘No’ for an answer from the City of Toronto. You demonstrate that change may surprise us by being more fulfilling than maintaining the status quo. So many of us want to do something substantive… Thanks for showing us the way.” Joan Chadde, President, Michigan Alliance for Environmental & Outdoor Education

“Franke James’ Bothered by My Green Conscience contains powerful visual essays. As a university professor who has taught environmental engineering for almost twenty years, I find that the messages are especially clear, complemented with excellent research. The weaving of a self-deprecating personal journey with ecological principles is brilliant. Her visual essay style is a treat for the mind. Franke’s stories will help the rest of us be less fearful of making changes in our everyday lives.” Alex Mayer, Ph.D., Director, Center for Water & Society, Michigan Technological University

“Atmospheric CO2 is well above safe levels of 350 parts per million, and signs of climate change are all around us. We’re just years away from the point when scientists begin counting the number of days that the Arctic Ocean is ice free each summer. Should we bury our heads in the sand like an ostrich? Or, should we press on like artist Franke James with her eyes wide open and heart fully engaged with the people and world around her? I say, “The latter!” Bothered by My Green Conscience is a rare work of emotional leadership that can help people choose to get moving in the right direction, page after beautiful page.” Michael McGee, Founder of

“Wowzers! This is FANTASTIC. Franke’s visual essay clearly articulates the risks of NOT acting. Policy analysts struggle to convey what My Green Conscience has so clearly expressed.” Eli van der Giessen, David Suzuki Foundation

Book Description

Bothered by My Green Conscience
How an SUV-driving, imported-strawberry-eating urban dweller can go green
By Franke James

You’ve changed all your light bulbs and switched to cloth bags at the grocery store. You recycle cans and bottles and you don’t print out that e-mail unless you absolutely have to. What’s next?

Using her signature style of lively drawings mixed with photos and hand drawn text, artist Franke James shows how we can meet the global warming challenge with imagination and creativity. Five vibrant, dynamic, full-color visual essays present refreshing and insightful ideas that make climate change personal.

Bothered by My Green Conscience: Table of Contents

Bothered by My Green Conscience: Table of contents

Chapter One: My SUV and Me Say Goodbye — Tackle global warming by doing the hardest thing first
Chapter Two: Green Eccentric Glamour — Whittle down your wardrobe, wear only your fabulous favorites
Chapter Three: The Real Poop on Social Change — Change bubbles up from the grassroots
Chapter Four: Paradise Unpaved — Fight city hall and get back to the garden
Chapter Five: To My Future Grandkids in 2020 — an environmental time capsule

Bothered by My Green Conscience is a must-read for anyone who is concerned about climate change and ready to take the next step towards a more sustainable lifestyle. Fun, engaging, humorous and upbeat, this book is an ideal gift for anyone in your life who is seeking inspiration to create change.

About the Author:

Franke James is an artist, photographer and writer focused on social change. An entertaining and persuasive advocate for the environment, she has a Masters degree in Fine Arts from the University of Victoria and lives in Toronto.
Bothered by My Green Conscience is available through booksellers and online retailers, including Amazon, as of April 21, 2009.

The book is available for purchase on Amazon.
Bothered by My Green Conscience: How an SUV-driving, imported-strawberry-eating urban dweller can go green

Bothered by My Green Conscience book by Franke James. Photo by Central Image Agency

3 Responses: One Comment and 2 Tweets

  • Gwyn Michael says:

    TRACKBACK […] One of the artists I mentioned on Monday is Franke James, who’s work I discovered sometime last year. Franke is extremely active as an artist and activist speaking on the environment and our responsibilities as citizens of the earth.

    Franke James merges science, art and storytelling to inspire people to take action and “do the hardest thing first” for the planet.

    I have Franke’s books, follow her blog, and follow her on twitter. I truly admire the way she really gets the “word” out while seeming to have fun and do something she loves. This is what I want to do! So today when I saw Franke was on twitter I did something I’ve never done, I direct messaged her and said something about loving what she’s doing and, admiring, and hey maybe you could look at my project and tell me what you think. Guess what, she tweeted me right back made a pledge and gave me a shout out! I love her.

    That gave me a whole new perspective on how to go about both promoting Journey to Confluence and defining my new work while my new business.

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