Wednesday, December 5, 2012

How Bad Are Bananas? by Mike Berners-Lee

The subtitle of this book is an ambitious "The Carbon Footprint of Everything". I have to say that Berners-Lee does a commendable job with this, in a book that is just over 200 pages. Even before I was finished reading it, I was ready with facts on several occasions when the topic of climate change came up. The author calculates the footprint in terms of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalents) based on where things come from, how far they travel, and what kinds of resources they use up. Bananas, by the way, are not bad, as long as they come by to us by boat.

Berners-Lee doesn't write about libraries, per se, but he does calculate the CO2e of a book, which he says needs to be considered "in terms of 'bang for the buck': do the benefits outweigh the impact? To maximize the "bang" side of the equation, you simply have to read this book, talk about it, and pass it around."

Since I checked this book out of a library, and will return it as soon as I finish this blog post, it will be passed on to the next person who wants to read it. I have also already done a bit of talking about it, as well as writing about it. And, in fact, I learned about this book by reading this review from the Center for a New American Dream, so I'd say the "bang" on this book began even before I checked it out. I wonder if I can I take credit for a negative impact on CO2e for having read this book?

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