Book review: “How bad are bananas? The carbon footprint of everything”

An atheist, a vegan and a crossfitter walk into a bar.

I only know because they were telling everyone within two minutes.

Or so the joke goes.  Equally, you could probably put a few other things in that category too.  But this book, despite being written to inform you about your carbon footprint and how to reduce it, isn’t like those annoying people.

This book isn’t out to tell you what to do and not do.  how-bad-are-bananasThis book doesn’t give you answers for your life in a nice simple silver bullet.  This book doesn’t make you feel guilty without giving you a way out.  This book is one of the few I’ve read on the topic that seems to talk sense and be practical, manageable, easy to read and impact all who read it.

Given to me by a good friend (thanks Johnny Clarke), I’d been wondering about how to be more environmentally friendly, given the mess this world is spiralling into from human pollution (if you doubt that, he has a lengthy appendix on it).  And instead of pointing fingers at big corporations or other nations, it helped me to see that the buck starts at home with me.

The book gives a two page chapter on each human activity commonly participated in, that results in a carbon footprint worth talking about.  Some are ones I thought were bad, but potentially aren’t actually (things like a dishwasher) and others which I thought were grand, but shocked me (like buying tomatoes from Ireland – more carbon goes into heating greenhouses than flying over tomatoes from Spain!).

But instead of loading guilt on top of you, it lets you see what is big in your life, and what will make a big different in your life.  It suggests dealing with one or two main things and then establishing a good rhythm in your life without them, before ever trying to cut down on others.  Such a hands-off, uncontrolling approach was very freeing for me, and one that I loved.

Written in a humourous and understanding style, Mike Berners-Lee had me finishing this one within  a few days of picking it up, though it equally would work as a quirky toilet book to be read a page at a time!  I’d recommend this to anyone as a starting point for bringing about change in your life in this regard.

So, how bad are bananas for the environment?  You’ll have to read it to find out.  But then again, if you want to read it you’re using paper.  Kindle anyone?  And the dilemma goes on…

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One thought on “Book review: “How bad are bananas? The carbon footprint of everything”

  1. Pingback: Travel and Environment | al-jabr

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