Hadrian's Reviews > How Bad Are Bananas?: The Carbon Footprint Of Everything

How Bad Are Bananas? by Mike Berners-Lee
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's review
Dec 15, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: environment-nature, nonfiction, science
Read in December, 2011

This is a very accessible and interesting reference book on the carbon footprints of things we do. It is a sliding scale from the smallest of activities (text messages) to the largest (World Cups, wars, volcanic eruptions). Some of the figures are very surprising, and you can learn a lot from just a brief glance. There are frequent comparisons and metaphors which help you understand the scale of the impacts.

The author makes some important points that are very useful: That a 'carbon footprint' isn't really a carbon footprint, but instead a 'full climate change impact', which includes methane and nitrous oxide - but the former sounds better.

Next, is that it's pretty hard to estimate these figures, so the author helpfully adds ranges of outputs for various forms of each activity. Recycled vs. 'virgin' goods, organic/local vs. flown/chilled/imported foods, and so forth. The analysis of various food products is particularly thorough and helpful.

His underlying thesis is that climate change is happening - at least from our carbon outputs. We have a role in it - although that is being debated. What is certain is that something can be done about it.

And a little spoiler from the title: Bananas are actually pretty good, carbon footprint wise.
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03/25/2017 marked as: read

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