Wherever we turn, politicians, businesses and activists are promoting the latest fashionable “green” policy or product. Green buildings, biofuels, electric cars, compact fluorescent lightbulbs and a variety of other technologies are touted as the next key step in protecting the environment and promoting a sustainable future. Increasingly, however, scientific and economic information regarding environmental problems takes a back seat to the social and personal value of being seen and perceived as “green.”
As environmental consciousness has become socially popular, eco-fads supplant objective data. Politicians pick the latest environmental agenda in the same way we choose the fall fashions – looking for what will yield the largest benefit with our public and social circles.
Eco-Fads exposes the pressures that cause politicians, businesses, the media and even scientists to fall for trendy environmental fads. It examines why we fall for such fads, even when we should know better. The desire to “be green” can cloud our judgment, causing us to place things that make us appear green ahead of actions that may be socially invisible yet environmentally responsible.
By recognizing the range of forces that have taken us in the wrong direction, Eco-Fads shows how we can begin to get back on track, creating a prosperous and sustainable legacy for our planet’s future.
A central, yet unspoken, lesson of this book is, "You can't believe everything you read." Mr. Myers shows how this tenet is shown in the realm of environmentalism. In particular, he focuses on those movements which capture the public imagination, cause political and social action, and yet, are really a bad idea. He calls them "Eco-fads". First he explains them, and explores how different social forces bring them about. Then he looks at specific examples and points out how the arguments and data against them have been marginalized or just plain ignored. There are a lot of folks out there who want you to buy into the latest "green" scheme--people with an agenda, looking to modify your behavior. Of course, in the course of the book, Mr. Myers shows that he has his own values, priorities, and possibly even an agenda. But as with anything, its usually worthwhile to hear and consider what both sides have to say.
I like the idea of this book, but it's a problematic book for several reasons:
1) Poor editing that undermined his point, such as "ultraviolent rays" instead of ultraviolet rays 2) Over-emphasizing the Seattle area 3) Criticizing others for twisting facts to suit their needs, and then saying that there are more trees in the US than ever before yayy! This just means we're getting more wood from overseas, where their forests are often illegally logged or improperly managed. (very basic overview here: http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/...) Some of his stuff about eating local was just as ridiculously written as other things he had ranted over elsewhere in the book. "Only 11%" vs just 2 feet, for example. 4) He is so unrelentingly negative about anything 'green' that he comes across as anti-environment. Oh people are only doing this in public to look like good people. Who cares what their motivations are, as long as they're making an effort to do better? He doesn't give real solutions or ways to improve, just vague things like be careful about buying things with an environmental message. 5) These tiny paragraphs are annoying, and his writing style is very unappealing, very aggressive and condescending, without really offering anything for consumers to improve. He seems like a frustrated man interested in ranting about how everyone is an idiot or evilly manipulative. Some of his complaints are minor and frivolous, and seem more likely to lull people into inaction rather than significantly change people's actions.
That being said, he does have some good points, and worthwhile ideas, but other people have done it better and in a much less headache-inducing fashion.
Great little book for people of all political walks who care about the planet but are sick to death of all the alarmism -- not to mention the addition of "green" and "eco" to every other word in the dictionary, as if that means anything!
Myers brings some much needed common sense to a subject that left rational in the dust about 50 years ago- and has only gotten worse in the last 20 years.
His work is well researched and footnoted, but most importantly he has lived and worked as an environmental policy maker and has seen some of the unproductive fads in action. Meyers insights give pause for thought, as he strives to consider all sides of environmental policy arguments.
His most important piece of advice for rabid, vapid environmentslists: all decisions require trade-offs, some are too costly, and others are less so, but ineffective action for the sake of doing "something," is poor stewardship at it most absurd and wasteful of precious resources ($$). For the reticent, he assures us there are solid ways to manage the environment and still make a good profit, but caring about the planet is a must. Meyers did an admirable job at making the reader think about policy motivations, programs, and possible outcomes from more than just the media or activist side, though they got a hearing, too.
On the con side, Meyers' arguments in part 1 began to feel a bit repetitive, though some of that may be from my reading his book on my Android over several months. Slow Android reading seems to throw off my perceptions.
And I am not giving this book five stars just because it is written by, hands down, the best brother-in-law ever. It is also written by an incredibly intelligent, articulate, persuasive thinker. Even this raging and firey liberal was given pause by his arguments.
I enjoyed the facts and agreed with most of the writers' many points. He has great examples, most from the Pacific Northwest. If there is a second edition, I hope the author adds a bunch of tables or graphs to accentuate his points.