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Book review

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Book review

How Bad are Bananas? purchase at amazon.caHow Bad Are Bananas? The Carbon Footprint of Everything by Mike Berners-Lee Greystone Books, 2011, 240 pages, $19.95 ISBN: 978-1-55365-831-3 Hélène Meurer On the surface How Bad Are Bananas? seems like a fun tool for starting (or stopping) conversations between even the savviest environmentalists and eco-geeks. Filled with wildly fascinating facts, there is no question that this book is not only informative and highly relevant but also entertaining. Yet, below the surface Berners-Lee presents us with a thought-provoking and potentially disturbing story that might significantly alter how we think and feel about everyday actions and the things around us. Berners-Lee is a clever and creative thinker. He’s also refreshingly honest about the challenges involved in quantifying our carbon impact. By examining the footprints of almost 100 objects and actions—from sending a text message to having a child—we begin to develop a carbon instinct that remains long after we close the cover. It’s hard to say which aspect of Berners-Lee’s presentation is most impressive. The facts are a treat and How Bad Are Bananas is a page-turner that leads us from the least impactful things in life to some of the very worst. Equally fascinating is just how the author arrives at quantifying the world around us in carbon terms. How to weigh one action against another? What unit of measurement to use? What is the degree of certainty and how do we make sense of the numbers? Think about it: do you even know what a ton of carbon looks like? (You will when you’re done reading.) How Bad Are Bananas serves as a buying guide for the eco-conscious. Thinking about purchasing a new TV? There’s a page for that! Can’t decide between a coffee, cappuccino, or latte? There’s a page for that too! Which pants or shoes are the best additions to your eco-friendly closet? Check the pages. Have you considered the carbon footprint of your mortgage? What about eating porridge or buying jewellery? No need—Berners-Lee has done it for us. Thanks to his endless research and engaging presentations, we can more easily step on the path toward carbon footprint awareness. How Bad Are Bananas? buy at amazon.ca

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