How Bad Are Bananas Book Review and Giveaway

How Bad Are Bananas – The Carbon Footprint of Everything, is a book written by Mike Berners-Lee. It was first published 10 years ago and has been recently updated to take into account the latest facts and figures.

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Note: This blog post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own and it won’t cost you anything extra to shop through them. I received a copy of the book to review.

The book summarises the carbon costs of various activities and sorts them into sections by the weight of carbon emissions. At the low end of the scale are things like texting and emailing. At the higher end are volcanic eruptions and wars (which makes volcanic eruptions pale into insignificance).

Who Should Read How Bad Are Bananas?

This book is for everyone. If you are a beginner, then it will be highly educational and eye opening. There are also lots of helpful recommendations for positive actions that you can take.

For the more advanced, you can smugly turn the pages and say I do that, oh and I do that. But don’t get too smug as you might also learn something new!

Why Read How Bad Are Bananas?

If you want to get an understanding of how much it costs in carbon terms to send an email, eat a banana, watch an hours worth of TV or go to space (and much more), this is the book for you. I really enjoyed reading the book and feel that it is incredibly helpful to have Mike’s figures in mind when making every day decisions.

If you are making lifestyle changes or have done long ago, having facts and figures to back up these choices can be really helpful. Especially if people around you are curious about the justification for making these changes.

It’s not all about carbon footprints

Mike helpfully points out that the carbon footprint is not the whole story. Something might have a low carbon footprint, but still not be good for the environment for other reasons. I liked that in general he gives a rounded view of the issues.

There was only one recommendation he made where I felt he didn’t do that. That was when he encouraged people to swap to synthetic clothing. He didn’t mention that synthetic materials leach small plastic fibres into the water they are washed in. Unfortunately that does leave us stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to choosing the materials we clothe ourselves in.

No exact figures

Mike is a professional in the world of carbon footprints and is a university lecturer. But he admits throughout the book, that a lot of the figures are guesstimates. It is often difficult to put an exact figure on our activities as many variables come into play. However the point is to get a rough idea of how things compare and learn how we can make better choices!

I did also notice that it looked like there was a mistake in the headline figures in the TV watching section, but if you ignore them and read the blurb it makes more sense.

Get the book!

You can get your copy here: How Bad Are Bananas. If you don’t want to buy a copy, maybe you could borrow it (or request it) from your local library. Plus enter the competition below for a chance to win a copy. I have 3 to give away! When you enter the competition you also get a chance to win a copy of Ice: Tales from a Disappearing World and my book Eco Thrifty Living (This is the same competition I published last week in my review of Ice).

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For more environmentally themed book suggestions, check out my Ultimate List of Sustainable Living Books

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