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How Bad Are Bananas?: The carbon footprint of everything [Kindle Edition]

Mike Berners-Lee
3.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)

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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


'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


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 2196 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 256 Seiten
  • Verlag: Profile Books (9. Dezember 2010)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B004E3X9ZC
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Nicht aktiviert
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 3.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #174.272 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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2 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
I had high hopes when I bought the book, but my expectations were not met. The book classifies productcategories, based on an estimate of the average CO2 footprint. The reality is always more balanced. The differences within a productcategory among individual producers is considerable. Suppliers that have achieved 'energyneutral' are averaged with the 'laggards'.

For consumers with little knowledge about what (not) to do, it is a helpful first start
War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?
Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 3.9 von 5 Sternen  28 Rezensionen
52 von 55 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Not as helpful as I would have liked 2. September 2013
Von Annette Sonnenberg - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
The book was extensively researched but not very useful as a shopping primer. He has two whole lines in the book comparing hybrid to electric cars but doesn't compare them to biodiesel. This is the biggest reason I bought the book so I can purchase the best vehicle. He rates tea not on the chemicals used or region of the world it was grown but on how much milk you put in it. He rates rice on the efficiency of the farmer but never gives brands of efficiently produced rice. How would anyone know if a particular rice was grown efficiently. He gives the carbon footprint of a car crash, a forest fire , a space shuttle even a heart surgery. I'm sorry but I'm not going to choose to die because of the carbon footprint of a life saving surgery or decide whether to crash my car into a tree because of it either. Exactly what am I suppose to use this information for. There is some interesting things in the book but it is laid out so poorly you have to weed through all kinds of useless facts to get to it. This isn't very helpful for someone wanting to be a greener consumer.
16 von 16 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen A somewhat flawed but essential handbook everyone should take to heart 18. Juli 2011
Von J. S. Radford - Veröffentlicht auf
I have a few problems with this book but the bottom line is everyone should have or have access to a copy.

Admittedly, I am no expert familiar with whatever may be in the field of analysis that this book inhabits. That said, this is the only book I know of that analyses in detail the "carbon cost" of almost everything we make, eat, do. It is absolutely an essential type of book, one that can help us judge what in our lifestyles is important and what is not. It helps us make innumerable value judgements on a daily basis beyond the obvious ones (carpooling vs. not, for example).

One line (p85, r.e. CO2 cost of asparagus out of season, as an example) perhaps is worth the price of the book: "... it is difficult to see how there can be any place at all for air-freighted food in a sustainable world." Berners-Lee gives us the numbers for air freight vs. ship freight, etc., to prove the point and to give us the tools we critically need to make unbiased, sane judgements pertaining to our lifestyle choices.

One qualm I have about the book is it's graphical style. I think it should have more "punch" and be a little more "ready-to-hand". But the data are there as is an index to look up our favorite activity or lifestyle choice.

Another small but disconcerting qualm I have is with a table of numbers in the back of the book (pp.194-195). There is a serious editing error in that population numbers are labeled "millions" but all the number are actually thousands. The resultant GHG (greenhouse gas) number thus becomes not "tons per person per year" but MILLIONS of tons per person per year, which is absurd. Apparently the author was tired when doing the table and obviously had no editorial help. What is perhaps disconcerting is the fact that the ENTIRE book is all about numbers and if he screwed up such a simple tabulation ....?

But actually, I don't think that is a concern because all the calculations in the text of the book are detailed section by section and transparently explained.

Ultimately, this is a readable, valuable handbook that will, I hope be analyzed and refined and enhanced in the coming very few years and become part of everyone's daily consciousness.

PS - bananas are NOT very bad at all, being shipped by sea (1% CO2 cost of air freight) in their own packaging, requiring little other CO2-generative support.
18 von 20 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen 4.5 Stars for readability 3 stars for science 22. Juli 2011
Von Jeff Schulte - Veröffentlicht auf
For most people this book is a great primer about the world of carbon accounting.
While I haven't had time to fact check the results, the input-output model Berners-Lee uses is top notch and catches emissions that are typically overlooked in other analyses. The short topic format makes for a quick and easy to follow read. On other notes: Like other readers I found a couple of typos, and even though the edition I read was the US edition the UK home of the author continues to chow through.
In short a recommended light read for the average budding environmentalist. For people in the know about the science though, this book is frustrating. The methodology is there, but it is buried in appendixes. Additionally, most of the data makes use of second hand references which make it difficult to fact check and follow the same methodology for other items you might want to compare. Finally, you'll want to make sure your comparing your apples to your oranges properly. For example apples, oranges and bananas are given per piece, but potatoes and other vegetables are given per kg (2.2lbs). Which is the only down side for the typical American that is uncomfortable thinking in 2.2 pound increments.
18 von 21 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A primer in "carbonomics" 2. Mai 2011
Von K. F. Laux - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
If you accept the scientific consensus that climate change is happening, is caused largely by humans, and is something that requires immediate action, then this book is a must-read. (If you don't accept the above premises, why are you reading this review at all?)

The author sets out to establish estimates of the carbon footprints of a wide variety of products and services--cherry tomatoes, e-mail, swimming pools, nylon pants, a lamb chop.... As he frequently reminds us, approximations are unavoidable and in many places the process is more art than science, particularly when examining something as complex as a computer, or an automobile, or a war (!). But he presents reasoning and arguments that seemed to this reader to be credible, if the results were sometimes surprising.

If we are to take carbon emissions seriously henceforth (and I'm sorry to say that it's not clear that we will, yet, especially here in the U.S.), we will need to "pick our battles", as the author puts it--understand that whether we dry our hands with paper towels or an air blower is utterly trivial next to the question of how many intercontinental flights we take each year. In a sense, we have only a very poor understanding of the carbon costs of all manner of things; this book is a helpful first step to remedy the situation, and contains quite a few surprises. (especially about cheeseburger-powered bicycles!)

I would have organized it a bit differently myself...presenting different alternatives for eg. vegetables (locally grown vs. air-freighted in etc) is quite useful, but I'm not sure how totting up the carbon footprint of "the world's data centers" helps anyone choose anything. Worse still is the tacked-on "black carbon" near the end, which is not a product or service, indeed not even in the same category--it's a consequence, not a cause.

But these are relative nits. Sooner or later (...and for our childrens sake, it had better be sooner) we will all have to learn about the environmental costs of our lifestyles, to parallel the financial costs. This is a valiant effort to that end.
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen The short version: A great reference with a catchy title 3. September 2012
Von Isaac - Veröffentlicht auf
The book itself is laid out in a logical manner, going in orders of magnitudes of carbon emissions equivalent (under 10 grams to 1 million tons and beyond). The author combines both top-down and bottom-up approaches in calculating his footprints, which is no easy task given the interconnectedness of everything we produce and consume nowadays.

Some interesting tidbits from the book:

-How bad really are bananas? They are a very low-carbon food: they are grown without greenhouses, shipped with minimal packaging via large cargo ships, the most efficient form of long-distance transportation. Keep eating them!
-Bottled water has 1000x the carbon footprint as the stuff coming out of the faucet. Avoid anywhere you have decent tap water.
-Plastic bags are nasty for a bunch of reasons, but are not a big carbon concern.
-Meat (especially from ruminants like cows and sheep) and dairy have huge footprints due to the generation of methane.

The book isn't perfect. On occasion, his methodology is hard to understand. References are provided in the back, but they are not always adequately explained. I'm still trying to figure out what a "climate-change related death" is and how it is calculated. In addition, the book is from the UK, so sometimes it's a little difficult relating his experiences to the ones in North America, even though he converts everything to pounds and has included a lot of Canadian and American content.

But those are minor quibbles. The content is informative and presented in an appealing and accessible way. Above all, it is his approach and his writing that really sold me on the book. In the first few pages, the author stresses the need to look at the big picture, to pick the right battles for reducing carbon emissions, to not succumb to misdirection and obfuscation, and to hone in on areas of your personal life that work for you to produce the most bang for your buck.

He frankly admits to the fuzziness of the numbers and that there is a lot of room for improvement. But his real goal is to produce a resource with ballpark figures so that people can wrap their heads around this really complex issue. I found this aspect really refreshing as I went through the book; it's evident that he is a subject matter expert and has poured a lot of energy into this, but he never comes across as being boisterous and authoritative. He even provides an email address for improvements and suggestions.

I don't buy too many books nowadays, but I'm glad I got this one: it's a keeper. It's for anyone who thinks, to quote the author, "climate change is a big deal, it's caused by humans, and we can do something about it", and is interested in some carbon awareness. Highly recommended.
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