How Bad Are Bananas?: The Carbon Footprint Of Everything

We all want to do the right thing for the planet, but what s the real impact of each of the things we do and buy We hear a lot about driving and flying, but what about sending a text message, buying a cappuccino or going for a swim How do apples compare to oranges or bananas, buying a newspaper with surfing the internet, or cut flowers with house plants And what about tWe all want to do the right thing for the planet, but what s the real impact of each of the things we do and buy We hear a lot about driving and flying, but what about sending a text message, buying a cappuccino or going for a swim How do apples compare to oranges or bananas, buying a newspaper with surfing the internet, or cut flowers with house plants And what about the big things How much CO2 is generated by a bushfire, a volcano, or a war Packed full of information yet always entertaining, How Bad Are Bananas comes up with the answers we need and provides plenty of revelations Be warned everything you thought you knew about green living is about to be turned on its head About the Author Mike Berners Lee is founding director of Small World Consulting, an associate company of Lancaster University that specialises in measuring the carbon footprints of products and services Table of Contents Under 10 grams A text message A pint of tap water A web search Walking through a door An email Drying your hands A plastic carrier bag 10 to 100 grams A paper carrier bag Ironing a shirt Cycling a mile Boiling a litre of water An apple A banana An orange An hour s TV 100 grains to 1 kilo A mug of tea or coffee A mile by bus A nappy A punnet of strawberries A mile by train A 500 ml bottle of water A letter 1 kg of carrots A newspaper A pint of beer A bowl of porridge A shower An ice cream A unit of heat A unit of electricity Spending UKP 1 1kg of rubbish Washing up A toilet roll Driving 1 mile A red rose 1 kg of boiled potatoes A pint of milk 1 kg of cement 1 kilo to 10 kilos A paperback book A loaf of bread A bottle of wine 1 kg of plastic Taking a bath A pack of asparagus A load of laundry A burger A litre of petrol 1 kg of rice Desalinating a cubic metre of water A pair of trousers A steak A box of eggs kg of tomatoes 1 kg of trout Leaving the lights on 1kg of steel 10 kilos to 100 kilos A pair of shoes 1 kg of cheese A congested commute by car A
How Bad Are Bananas The Carbon Footprint Of Everything We all want to do the right thing for the planet but what s the real impact of each of the things we do and buy We hear a lot about driving and flying but what about sending a text message buying a

  • Title: How Bad Are Bananas?: The Carbon Footprint Of Everything
  • Author: Mike Berners-Lee
  • ISBN: 9781846688911
  • Page: 202
  • Format: Paperback
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    1 thought on “How Bad Are Bananas?: The Carbon Footprint Of Everything”

    1. This book is about the carbon footprint, and how we can help to reduce it, by showing us where certain things and actions are regarding the heaviness of their footprint. The book is mostly US and UK centric with some side-Canadian examples, but I feel it can work even for those who aren't from these countries.The book starts by explaining what the carbon footprint means, then we get things in heaviness from 10 grams to 1 million tons and beyond (the heavier, the more serious). The weight is show [...]

    2. My brother-in-law is obsessed with food miles. Obsessed. He flat-out won’t buy anything not grown in the UK. And yet his last holiday involved flying to Africa. And he eats a lot of meat. And he wants to have a child.See the contradiction?Trying to do the best for the environment is such a tricky thing. I consider myself a good environmentalist! And yet I’m sitting here on an internet/cloud-connected computer writing this book review, which isn’t great in terms of energy use. Short of goin [...]

    3. This is a good reference book for rough ballpark ideas of how big your carbon footprint is (actually, an estimate of the total climate change impact of your lifestyle with various assumptions to get figures to work with) and to compare various actions (e.g. travelling by train vs. by car, by sea vs. by air, recycling vs. landfill). The author readily admits that it's a lot of guesstimation: it's just meant to give you a rough idea, and it's quite good at putting things into perspective by compar [...]

    4. 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' is [...]

    5. I have always believed that you should get paper bags over plastic at the grocery store, but I'm somewhat ambivalent about that after reading Mike Berners-Lee's book, How Bad are Bananas?: The Carbon Footprint of Everything. In terms of greenhouse gas emissions, plastic bags actually produce far less CO2 than their paper rivals. That is, of course, only taking one variable into consideration. Plastic bags don't break down over time and they are difficult and expensive to recycle. Then again, pap [...]

    6. It seems common knowledge that riding your bike to work is a low carbon activity. What you might not know if that if you fuel your bike ride with air-freighted off season asparagus, then your carbon footprint increases dramatically and you'd be better off commuting buy Hummer. The art and science of taking into account many aspects of what constitutes a carbon footprint has often been ignored.Mike Berners-Lee minutely examines and calculates the carbon footprint (by weight) of many activities an [...]

    7. The short version: A great reference with a great title. 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 [...]

    8. This is the kind of book that will either inspire me or drive me crazy (or inspire me to drive other people crazy). The good news is bananas are a pretty good deal from the perspective of carbon emissions.The author states clearly that any analysis of a carbon footprint is going to be an estimate and that different methods of making those estimates are debated and controversial. Berners-Lee's goal is to be as accurate as possible in order to provide comparisons of many products and activities th [...]

    9. The author lives in the UK and does carbon footprint analysis for a living. He's taken his previous calculations, along with new ones, and turned them into a guide for figuring out your carbon footprint. It's interesting reading, though not useful for a quick lookup, but suffers from the fatal (and common) flaw of focusing on one environmental issue to the detriment of the rest. Sometimes he will point that out in the analysis (plastics may have low carbon output but they clog the oceans) and so [...]

    10. There's a lot that surprised me in this book (for instance, bananas are not only okay, they have a smaller footprint than carrots or ice cream or a red, red rose) and a lot that made me think. The author points out that much of what we do in the name of saving the planet is foolish- the frequent flyer executive who wrote in to ask if he should use paper towels or the hot air dryer in public restrooms got the eminently sensible answer that hand drying is so minor in comparison to the airplane tri [...]

    11. This book has some interesting comparisons One rose is equal to 11 pounds of bananas, which blows my mind. I enjoyed learning about what the carbon impact is of a lot of things. Basically if you want to decrease your carbon foot print the following are the biggest places you can make an impact for the average person: airplane travel, car travel, meat, milk and milk products. Its also interesting that its usually better to hold on to an old, inefficient product that works rather then buy a new ef [...]

    12. I really liked it.Somewhere between light reading, a coffee table book, a reference book. Helps with very ballpark estimates of everyday items -- mostly for personal interest, but could be used for decision making (what to eat, vacation options, etc.). Wasn't the greenest leaning guy; hardly a mention of electric vehicles, etc.

    13. An exhaustive analysis of the carbon footprint of everything, for those who wish to save the planet be reducing their own. Mike Berners-Lee details how he came to the three basic assumptions of the book: that climate change is a big deal, that it is caused by people, and we can do something about it. His approach is so rational, and seems to me so desperately needed (and not just in terms of climate change!) that I quote it here:1.I look at the argument itself and see if the logic makes sense at [...]

    14. I had to give this one 5 stars because, well, it's me, and I'm into this kind of stuff. In fact, this has been one of the areas I feel my understanding has been lacking, despite my affinity for all things environmental, and despite climate change's special place in my heart among environmental issues.This book reads like a reference - it categorizes different activities, products, and services according to the order of magnitude of their carbon emissions - but the author also provides narration [...]

    15. A thought provoking and well written book which could easily have been boring in other hands. However while his writing style is impeccable, I'm not so sure about his critical thinking. One thing that grates continually is his unsubstantiated claims that eating fewer animal products will help you live longer - for example, he says that eggs will kill you with their cholesterol - an idea which is at least 10 years out of date, as shown by the Heart Foundation now giving them a Red Tick of Approva [...]

    16. A must-read book on one of the most important aspects of dealing with our current environmental crisis on a personal level: the carbon costs of things we consume. Berners-Lee has done an admirable job with a nearly impossible task. Presented in easily digestible chunks, he catalogs the carbon footprint of not exactly everything, but a very good range: from a text message (not bad at all) to a war (pretty bad indeed). And while he admits that at times this can just be based on some very educated [...]

    17. In this book Berners-Lee tries to quantify the carbon footprint of practically everything. It's a pretty interesting read and helped me know where to focus my liberal guilt. Apparently bananas aren't bad at all from a carbon footprint perspective, but my cheese habit is worse than I realized. Fortunately I read the bus from a crowded and slow bus, which further assuaged my guilt. The book is clearly preaching to the choir and unfortunately adds to the giant pile of media that fails to make globa [...]

    18. Interesting and light reading. Easy to browse and glean from. It's not a cover-to-cover read, so much as an item to pick up now and then and chat about. There are lots of surprising insights. My favourite was the carbon cost of a mortgage(!): when you factor in the financial sector (banks, buildings, computers, mail, etc.), a mortgage is a surprisingly carbon-intensive thing. And there are so many compelling little 'chapters' (each item is about a page). I liked reading about cars (given the car [...]

    19. I made the fatal mistake of starting this book at one thirty in the morning, figuring that I would just read until I felt tired and go to sleep. Of course, I ended up being very tired because I read the entire thing in a single sitting, like the champion marathon reader that I am. I always like things being neatly lined up and compared to one another. This, combined with my massive fascination with global climate change and my impact on the planet pretty much made my enjoyment of this book a for [...]

    20. Even if you don't believe in anthropogenic climate change (and I'm sure there are some of you out there), this book is an excellent overview of the real cost of many of the everyday choices you make. For example, paper bags are better than plastic bagsbut reusable bags are better than both, provided you actually reuse them. And if you're filling your shopping bags with air-freighted asparagus, it really doesn't matter what kind of bag you're using -- the bag's impact is dwarfed by the cost of tr [...]

    21. At first glance I would have though this author would be a completely "organic, free-the-animals, save the planet" crazy person. He's not. This book is simply the carbon footprint of stuff. Bananas, cell phones, emails, running, taking a trip, cheese. It was good, boring in some bits, but good. The best part is at the very end when he has you look at a period on the page, stating that by staring at the period, you probably helped save the planet, cause you were "plugged in" for three seconds. I [...]

    22. A quick read. Learned a few things, but not much beyond what general common sense would tell you. Bananas aren't that bad because they are shipped on boats and not planes, and conversely, out of season lettuce is bad since it will go bad if shipped via boat. You can easily wipe out all of the small steps you take throughout your life with a single flight per year. Plastic bags aren't the devil, and food waste is bad.

    23. fun read here. puts carbon use in real world perspective. ex. riding your bicycle. if you eat a banana you are using about 65 g of co2 per e. if you eat imported asparagus (usa perspective) you use about 2.5 kg of co2 per e. about like a hummer. this book is basically these lists and comparisons and explanations of why. more fun than science though as lists are not exhaustive.

    24. This is a great book to put things into perspective. Instead of the old guilt-inducing "the world is coming to an end and it's our fault", this book simply opens a conversation on the price of things - the carbon price that is. How bad are bananas when it comes to global warming emissions? Should I better buy oranges? This book helps put a scale on things, with humor.

    25. This book moves from my bedside table to the kitchen. Sometimes overwhelming, always educational. For those truly interested in the carbon footprint of anything and everything, even our own mortality, this book is a remarkable reference book.

    26. Short and clever reference for measuring the carbon footprint of well, everything. Useful for putting all materials, resources, and actions in our daily lives in perspective.

    27. A book that’s mostly a list of things we consume and an accompanying calculation of the carbon footprint could be rather dry, but the authors humour ensures that’s far from the case. A really interesting way to gain a greater understanding about our individual carbon footprint, and enough optimism to leave the reader feeling that by changing their own behaviour/consumption habits we can all be leaders in a carbon-reducing future.Or perhaps that’s just confirmation bias in action, as before [...]

    28. How Bad are Bananas? starts off with three basic premises: climate change is real and a big deal, humans are responsible and we can do something about it. If you disagree don't bother reading the book.The book is divided into sections that calculate the cost of items within a carbon ton grouping. The early part of the book for example calculated the carbon footprint of sending a text message. Berbers-Lee suggests that if you are worried about the small things that you have bigger issues. Where i [...]

    29. Which has a bigger impact on the environment? Paper or plastic? Why does riding your biking to work increase your carbon footprint if you eat asparagus? The answers may surprise you. What I liked most about this book is that the author repeatedly acknowledges the complexities and limitations of "calculating" carbon costs, while still making a strong case for why we should be carbon-conscious consumers. There is no magic formula for living a more sustainable, less climate-impacting life, just bet [...]

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