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The Real Eco-Story

July 16, 2010

Filed under: Book Review,observations — admin @ 8:35 am

If you are among the legions of Americans looking for the best way to rescue the planet from ecological disaster, Fred Pearce’s “Confessions of an Eco-Sinner” is a must read.

While Pearce is based in England and his examples and specifics are tailored to the experiences of that country, his investigations are enlightening for anyone who has ever wondered what ‘fair trade’ really means.

Pearce takes number of common beliefs or trademarks and follows them back to their source to see if they are really having the ecological and economic impact we expect.

So, for example, he traces the origination of ‘Fair Trade’ coffee to see if there really is some benefit to farmers. He doesn’t just research the topic in books and articles. He’s attends coffee bean auctions in Kenya with the buyers of the coffee and interviews the farmers who make more per pound for their fair trade crop. He asks them directly, if the extra work is worth it. He is not the most popular man in the room.

He looks at the common banana and finds the seeds of an impending economic disaster.

He looks at cotton, “The Fabric of our Lives,” as the ad tell us and finds out exactly what it means to the plant, whether it’s grown organically or not.

He looks at everyday items, from aluminum beer cans to the shrimp cocktail, to find out the real costs of production.

Not all the news is bad, some stories have a happy ending creating a system where both the people and the planet benefit, but it’s his intrepid investigations that are the real story.

Unless you’ve done considerable reading, or conducted your own research, I doubt you’ll read more than a few pages before coming across nugget that will have you reconsidering what you do to save the planet.

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