Pearcea's quest to discover "the hidden world" sustaining Western consumption habits is fulfilled with varying degrees of success in this, his third book. Tracking the routes taken by the items in his home-his coffee, cellphone, computer, green beans, chocolate, socks-from raw ingredient to finished product, the author presents fascinating firsthand investigations, as when he visits a group of fair-trade coffee farmers, follows the trail of his donated shirts to markets in Africa, visits Uzbek communities whose health, infrastructure and environment have been devastated by the cotton industry, and interviews female sweatshop workers who view their factory jobs as empowering. When Pearce strays from these journalistic portraits, however, he is prone to flaccid opining about the greenest fuel sources and simplistic boosting for urban planners designing "small-footprint" cities. The most effective chapters puncture the feel-good myths surrounding fair trade and recycling and introduce unique characters, such as the farmers and middlemen responsible for getting prawns from Bangladesh to a London curry shop. Although a timely effort, Pearcea's diffusion of his reportorial mission with green-pleading mires his refreshing discoveries in moralizing and familiar cant. (Oct.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Confessions of an Eco-Sinner: Tracking Down the Sources of My Stuffby Fred Pearce
A 2008 Indie Next Pick
In Confessions of an Eco-Sinner, Fred Pearce surveys his home and then sets out to track down the people behind the production and distribution of everything in his daily life, from his socks to his computer to the food in his fridge. It’s a fascinating portrait, by turns sobering and hopeful, of the effects the/i>… See more details below
A 2008 Indie Next Pick
In Confessions of an Eco-Sinner, Fred Pearce surveys his home and then sets out to track down the people behind the production and distribution of everything in his daily life, from his socks to his computer to the food in his fridge. It’s a fascinating portrait, by turns sobering and hopeful, of the effects the world’s more than six billion inhabitants have on our planet—and of the working and living conditions of the people who produce most of these goods.
At first glance, this title appears to be another in the current onslaught of "green" books. However, journalist and author Pearce (When the Rivers Run Dry) extends his exploration from the ecological to the social and economic implications of our "stuff." By choosing several categories of possessions-food, clothes, beer cans, and garbage-and seeking out the origins or hunting down the resting grounds of each, Pearce sets off on a journey crisscrossing the globe. While obviously creating a carbon footprint of his own, Pearce tells the stories of the heads of each industry and the laborers whose families are supported by them. His calculations of the carbon footprint of, for example, each green bean grown in Kenya, are an interesting and somewhat unique view of the impact produce grown abroad and air-freighted to high-income economies has on the planet. Through this book, readers will gain a holistic sense of global markets, and some actions (e.g., buying green beans from Kenya instead of beans grown locally in a hothouse) emerge as surprisingly virtuous when the true global impact is revealed. Recommended for public and academic libraries.
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