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How Bad are Bananas? The Carbon Footprint of Everything by Mike Berners-Lee

How Bad are Bananas? The Carbon Footprint of Everything

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Sue Baker's view...

There are lots of ways to whittle away at our carbon totals, it’s all achievable and doesn’t mean a life of sackcloth and ashes. Mike Berners-Lee’s carbon footprint listing throws up some surprising calculations, the increased carbon footprint of baby vegetables versus their more knobbly grown-up relations, the high totals for rice, the importance of eating in season and what staggered me is the huge carbon footprint of cut flowers and the accumulated totals for an average Christmas. And that’s not to forget our last act – dying and the carbon footprint we leave as a legacy. It’s serious stuff but the author’s enthusiasm for his subject is most infectious, there is pleasure to be had in cutting down and changing our way of life, a view he most successfully conveys.

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Who is Sue Baker

The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. This book attempts to fill some of the knowledge gap preventing the ecologically aware from being truly ‘green’. What is a carbon footprint and what makes it larger or smaller? What are the environmental consequences of sending an email, leaving the TV on standby, or eating a steak? Answers to these questions and many more are set out in accessible form with lots of suggestions for how the average human being can make sensible choices to reduce his or her own negative impact on the planet.
~ Victoria Bentata


How Bad are Bananas? The Carbon Footprint of Everything by Mike Berners-Lee

This is the first book to work out the carbon footprint of (nearly) everything, from a cup of tea and a bottle of wine through to skiing holidays and volcano eruptions. We always hear the same old green less, turn the thermostat down, drive a hybrid car. But what about all the other things we buy and do? Part green-lifestyle guide, part popular science book, How Bad Are Bananas? is the first book to provide the facts we need to make carbon-savvy purchases and lifestyle decisions. It also helps put things into perspective with entries for the big things (bushfires, volcanic eruptions and the Iraq war) as well as the little things (newspapers, sending a letter, a pint of beer). This book is packed full of surprises - a plastic bag has the smallest footprint of any item listed, while a block of cheese is fairly bad news for the climate - and continuously informs, delights and engages the reader.


It is terrific. I can't remember the last time I read a book that was more fascinating and useful and enjoyable all at the same time. -- Bill Bryson an engaging book that manages to present serious science without preaching.It offers tools that any reader will be able to use and make informed choices, and even seasoned eco-enthusiasts will be in for plenty of surprises * New Scientist * Mike Berners-Lee knows more about carbon footprints than anyone else in the UK. Enjoyable, fun to read and scientifically robust. A triumph of popular science writing -- Chris Goodall. If we're serious about really addressing climate change, we need to become energy and carbon literate, and get to grips with the implications not only of our choices but also the bigger infrastructures which underpin the things we consume. How can we educate our desires unless we know what we're choosing between? Mike Berners Lee, to my complete delight, has provided just the wonderful foundation we need - a book that somehow made me laugh while telling me deeply serious things. -- Peter Lipman, Director of SUSTRANS This book is amazing. I was either going wow or snorting with laughter. -- Rachel Nunn, Director, Carbon Neutral Stirling Curiously fascinating to both climate geeks and well-rounded human beings alike. -- Franny Armstrong, Director of The Age of Stupid and founder of 10:10

About the Author

Mike Berners-Lee is the founding director of an associate company of Lancaster University which specialises in organisational responses to climate change.

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Book Info

Publication date

13th May 2010


Mike Berners-Lee

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Green Profile an imprint of Profile Books Ltd


256 pages


Green Reads
The Real World
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The environment
Green lifestyle & self-sufficiency
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