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How Bad Are Bananas?: The Carbon Footprint of Everythingby Mike Berners-Lee
Synopses & Reviews
Is it more environmentally friendly to ride the bus or drive a hybrid car? In a public washroom, should you dry your hands with paper towel or use the air dryer? And how bad is it really to eat bananas shipped from South America?
Climate change is upon us whether we like it or not. Managing our carbon usage has become a part of everyday life and we have no choice but to live in a carbon-careful world. The seriousness of the challenge is getting stronger, demanding that we have a proper understanding of the carbon implications of our everyday lifestyle decisions. However most of us don't have sufficient understanding of carbon emissions to be able to engage in this intelligently.
Part green-lifestyle guide, part popular science, How Bad Are Bananas? is the first book to provide the information we need to make carbon-savvy purchases and informed lifestyle choices, and to build carbon considerations into our everyday thinking. It also helps put our decisions into perspective with entries for the big things (the World Cup, volcanic eruptions, and the Iraq war) as well as the small (email, ironing a shirt, a glass of beer). And it covers the range from birth (the carbon footprint of having a child) to death (the carbon impact of cremation). Packed full of surprises — a plastic bag has the smallest footprint of any item listed, while a block of cheese is bad news — the book continuously informs, delights, and engages the reader.
Highly accessible and entertaining, solidly researched and referenced, packed full of easily digestible figures, catchy statistics, and informative charts and graphs, How Bad Are Bananas? is doesn't tell people what to do, but it will raise awareness, encourage discussion, and help people to make up their own minds based on their own priorities.
"From its modest initial entry, a text message (which creates .014 CO2e ), to its grand finale: burning all the world's fossil fuel reserves (2.5 trillion CO2e, or 50 years of current global emissions), this compendium of the specific costs to the climate (in carbon emissions) of our everyday behaviors deftly blends intelligence with entertainment, perhaps creating a unique genre: a page-turner for the climate conscious. Berners-Lee, founding director of a British climate change consulting company, doesn't claim absolute accuracy; although he believes that the carbon footprint is the essential 'climate change metric,' it's 'also impossible to measure.' His book is intended as 'an early map,' and it covers the carbon footprint gamut, with entries for a heart bypass operation and the World Cup, revealing some startling conclusions: 'tomatoes, at their worst, are the highest-carbon food in the book,' but grown locally in season are fine; the intensive electrical use of data centers may make paperless offices as carbon-heavy as old-fashioned paper-intensive ones. Berners-Lee also offers ideas about cost efficiency, giving readers a sense of how to 'pick our battles.' Refreshingly, the book shows how difficult it is to accurately track carbon usage while providing ways to realistically analyze day-to-day actions and make responsible and effective decisions for the most climate-friendly results. And bananas, by the way, at only 80 grams CO2e even when imported from across the world, are 'brilliant!' (June)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A smart, practical, and accessible guide to measuring our carbon footprint, from internationally recognized expert, Mike Berners-Lee.
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