How Bad Are Bananas?: The Carbon Footprint of Everything

Front Cover
Greystone Books Ltd, 2011 - House & Home - 232 pages
5 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.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - uufnn - LibraryThing

From the back cover of the book: Chris Goodall, author of Ten Technologies to Save the Planet, said of this book, "Mike Berners-Lee knows more about carbon footprints than anyone else...[It is] a ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - satyridae - LibraryThing

There's a lot that surprised me in this book (for instance, bananas are not only okay, they have a smaller footprint than carrots or ice cream or a red, red rose) and a lot that made me think. The ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
A quick guide to carbon and carbon footprints
5
grams 16 A text message
16
A cup of tap water 17 A web search
17
Walking through a door
19
An email
20
Drying your hands
21
A plastic carrier
22
Being cremated
115
kilos 220 pounds to 1 ton 116 New York City to Niagara Falls 405 miles and back
116
Christmas excess
118
Insulating an attic
120
A necklace
122
A computer and using
123
A mortgage
126
ton to 10 tons 129 A heart bypass operation
129

grams to 100 grams 24 A paper carrier
24
Ironing a shirt
25
Cycling a mile
26
Boiling a quart of water
27
An apple
29
A banana
31
An orange
32
An hours
33
A mug of tea or coffee
37
A mile by bus 39 A diaper
39
A basket of strawberries
41
A mile by train
42
A 500 mL 16 oz bottle of water
44
A letter
45
A bowl of porridge
52
Spending
61
A red rose
70
kilo to 10 kilos
77
Taking a bath
83
A quart of gasoline
89
A steak
97
kg 2 2 lbs of tomatoes
99
kg 2 2 lbs of trout
100
Leaving the lights
102
kg 2 2 lbs of steel
103
kilos to 100 kilos 22 pounds to 220 pounds 105 A pair of shoes
105
kg 2 2 lbs of cheese
106
A congested commute by
107
A night in a hotel
108
A leg of lamb
111
A carpet
112
Using a cellular phone
113
Photovoltaic panels
130
Flying from Los Angeles to Barcelona return
133
ton of fertilizer
136
A person
137
tons to 100 tons 139 A car crash
139
A new
141
A wind turbine
144
A house
147
tons to 1 million tons 149 Having a child
149
A swimming pool
150
A hectare 2 5 acres of deforestation
151
A space shuttle flight
153
A university
154
million tons and beyond 157 A volcano
157
The World
158
The worlds data centers
160
A forest fire
161
A country
162
A
168
Black carbon
169
The world
170
Burning the worlds fossil fuel reserves
173
How the footprint of food breaks down
176
Lowcarbon food tips
180
Further information 183 Assumptions revisited
183
The cost efficiency of selected carbonsaving options
188
Where the numbers come from
189
Notes and references
196
Acknowledgments
224
Index
226
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Mike Berners-Leeis a leading carbon consultant and author of How Bad Are Bananas?, one of the bestselling green books of recent years.

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