Synopses & Reviews
From Pulitzer Prize winner Edward Humes comes Eco Barons
, the story of the remarkable visionaries who have quietly dedicated their lives and their fortunes to saving the planet from ecological destruction.
While many people remain paralyzed by the scope of Earth's environmental woes, eco barons—a new and largely unheralded generation of Rockefellers and Carnegies—are having spectacular success saving forests and wildlands, pulling endangered species back from the brink, and pioneering the clean and green technologies needed if life and civilization are to endure.
A groundbreaking account that is both revealing and inspiring, Eco Barons tells of the former fashion magnate and founder of Esprit who has saved more rainforests than any other person and of the college professor who patented the "car that can save the world," the plug-in hybrid. There are the impoverished owl wranglers who founded the nation's most effective environmental group and forced a reluctant President George W. Bush to admit that humans cause global warming. And there is the former pool cleaner to Hollywood stars who became the guiding force behind a worldwide effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
At a time when there is no shortage of dire news about the environment, Eco Barons offers a story of hope, redemption, and promise—proof that one person with determination and vision can make a difference.
"Pulitzer Prize winner Humes (Mississippi Mud) profiles a band of idealistic environmentalists devoting their lives and fortunes to protecting nature, including such tycoons as Doug Thompson, the founder of fashion house Esprit, who now spends his millions buying up thousands of acres of land to create nature preserves, and Roxanne Quimby, creator of the cosmetics giant Burt's Bees, who is purchasing huge tracts of forests in Maine woods to 'trump the real estate investor's visions of resorts, golf courses and suburban homes on clear-cut lands.' But other 'barons' are more David than Goliath. The Center for Biological Diversity, a cash-strapped nonprofit founded by an 'owl expert, scientist and mystic' and a 'former engineering student turned philosopher,' is responsible for the recent campaign to fight climate change by protecting the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act. Engineering professor Andy Frank has spent 20 years 'battling a recalcitrant [auto] industry and confused policy makers' to produce an affordable, plug-in hybrid car. Readers concerned with conservation will appreciate this optimistic if starry-eyed introduction to these little-known giants of the environmental movement." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
“A dramatic, insightful history of environmental conflicts and breakthroughs threaded through timely and inspiriting profiles in courage and creativity.” Booklist (starred review)
“ECO BARONS...offers encouraging, often inspirational, profiles of nearly a dozen would-be planet savers. . . .[Humes] urgent message is clear: We must all strive to become “eco barons” in our own right if we are to save Planet Earth.” New York Times
“I know some of the heroes chronicled [in ECO BARONS]--they are unlikely champions, but united by passion, hard work, and a willingness to think outside of conventional paths. Their stories will dramatically expand your sense of what you can do for the environment! Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature and Deep Economy
“Humes is a master story teller, illuminating the compelling lives of an unlikely cast of characters who just may save us from ourselves, while inspiring us to save our planet.” Terry Tamminen, former Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency and Chief Energy Policy Advisor to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
“What [ECO BARONS] uncovers are folks who have taken their profitable businesses and turned them into seriously beneficial enterprises. . . .These profiles are lessons in the lasting power of conservation, which, even more than corporate profits, remains an essential part of the great American identity.” E - The Environmental Magazine
“Humes in-depth reporting makes the book stand as a solid portrait of the new face of American environmentalism.” Outside magazine
“Eco Barons reminds me of the best that journalism has to offer as Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edward Humes has a knack for flowing the narrative in his tales as well as any fiction writer....offers welcome tales of people making positive change.” Reuters
“This is a fine little book: a collection of starry-eyed portraits of environmentalists who have devoted their lives and/or fortunes to saving the Earth.” Los Angeles Times
Pulitzer Prize-winner and bestselling author Humes examines a crucial crossroads in environmental preservation--and the remarkable steps taken by philanthropists and visionaries who dedicate their lives to saving land from destruction.
“Well written and compelling, Eco Barons gives the reader a first glimpse of the activists, philanthropists and gadflies who may well turn out to be the J.D. Rockefellers and Rachel Carsons of our time.”
—Cleveland Plain Dealer
Pulitzer Prize-winner Edward Humes offers readers an eye-opening look at the remarkable philanthropists and visionaries who are devoting their lives to saving the earth from overdevelopment and destruction. In Eco Barons, Humes, the bestselling author of Mississippi Mud and Monkey Girl, gives us fascinating portraits of extraordinary men and women who are dedicated to humankinds survival—as important a contribution to the environmental cause as Al Gores An Inconvenient Truth. As the New York Times points out, “Humess urgent message is clear: We must all strive to become ‘eco barons in our own right if we are to save Planet Earth.”
About the Author
Edward Humes is the author of ten critically acclaimed nonfiction books, including Eco Barons, Monkey Girl, Over Here, School of Dreams, Baby E.R., Mean Justice, No Matter How Loud I Shout, and the bestseller Mississippi Mud. He has received the Pulitzer Prize for his journalism and numerous awards for his books. He has written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Magazine, and Sierra. He lives in California.