Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork and What You Can Do About It

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Overview

Nearly four decades after her mother, Frances Moore Lappé, published Diet for a Small Planet, sparking a revolution in our thinking about the social and environmental impact of our food choices, Anna Lappé picks up the conversation, examining another hidden cost of our food system: the climate crisis. From raising cattle in industrial-scale feedlots to razing rainforests to make palm oil for Pop-Tarts, the choices we make about how we put food on our plates, and what we do with the waste, contribute to as much as...

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Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork and What You Can Do About It

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Overview

Nearly four decades after her mother, Frances Moore Lappé, published Diet for a Small Planet, sparking a revolution in our thinking about the social and environmental impact of our food choices, Anna Lappé picks up the conversation, examining another hidden cost of our food system: the climate crisis. From raising cattle in industrial-scale feedlots to razing rainforests to make palm oil for Pop-Tarts, the choices we make about how we put food on our plates, and what we do with the waste, contribute to as much as one third of total greenhouse-gas emissions. Lappé exposes the interests resisting this crucial conversation while she educates and empowers readers and eaters committed to healing the planet.

Praise for Diet for a Hot Planet:

"[An] important book … When it comes to climate change, junk food may prove even more destructive than SUVs. Lappé's message is timely and empowering."-Eric Schlosser, author of FastFood Nation

"Accessibly written, rationally argued and focused on action over rhetoric, the book will interest parents, foodies, economists, committed vegetarians, moral omnivores, environmentalists, health enthusiasts and anyone interested in actually doing something about climate change while government responses stagnate. An essential toolkit for readers looking for a pragmatic climate-response action plan of their own."-Kirkus Reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Lappé, daughter of green food writer Frances Moore Lappé, evokes her mother's 1971 classic, Diet for a Small Planet, to critique industrial farming and its carbon costs and give her own updated, upbeat prescription for a climate-friendly food system. Chock-full of statistics, how-to lists, and stories from her wide-ranging investigative travels, Lappé's book proposes a farming method that is “nature mentored, restorative, regenerative, resilient, and community empowered”; and a diet to reduce carbon and cool the planet. “Put plants on your plate,” she advises; go organic, avoid packaging, eating out, and wasting food. Much of this will sound familiar to Michael Pollan's readers, and unfortunately, Lappé pales by comparison. Her stories tend to be shallow, unfinished, and sometimes marginally relevant, and her prose is sloppy. And although the book's message may have been ripe when Lappé began her research, extensive media coverage on the subject since may have put this book past its freshness date. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Until recently, conversations about climate change have often overlooked the global food systems impact; this book is designed to change that. Lappé, whose mother wrote the now-classic Diet for a Small Planet in 1971, asserts that global food production accounts for as much as 30 percent of human-caused global warming effects. Contending that Western-style industrial agriculture causes most of the damage, the author proposes numerous ways big agricultural companies can improve their environmental track records. She rightly points out that consumers wield tremendous power in forcing companies to change, and she provides a helpful list of principles for a climate-friendly diet. Unfortunately, most of Lappé's arguments are one-sided rather than nuanced, a disappointment with such a complex public policy issue. Lacking scientific rigor, the book should be viewed as a consciousness raiser for general readers rather than those in an academic setting. VERDICT Lappé is a well-known environmental advocate, and her book will be heavily marketed; expect demand. Readers seeking practical advice on cooking and eating in environmentally healthy ways may prefer Mark Bittman's Food Matters or Kate Heyhoe's Cooking Green.—Kelsy Peterson, Prairie Village, KS
Kirkus Reviews
MSN "Practical Guide for Healthy Living" host Lappe elaborates on her mother's conviction, elucidated in the classic Diet for a Small Planet (1971), that individual food choices can lead to massive social consequences. The author convincingly argues that food is "the integrating lens" for the innumerable responses to climate change. At three meals or more per day, Lappe writes, we are faced with either supporting or resisting industrial food production. So-called conventional food production and distribution-ecologically and economically fragile-contributes to nearly one-third of total human-caused global warming and paradoxically creates hunger out of plenty. Organic, local, plant-based foods, on the other hand, have the potential to not only mitigate but ultimately repair this damage. Lappe bolsters her support for a local, organic diet with a substantial bibliography of peer-reviewed science, studies, policies and interviews. Her journalism and science is rock-solid, as are her clear-headed critiques of scare-mongering by corporations (like Monsanto or Dow) invested in biotech or industrial food production. The author offers simple solutions to our near-future food security and climate stability-eat real foods, mostly plants, from organic, local sources. Yes, Michael Pollan owns this territory, but Lappe helpfully recontextualizes the argument, noting that one mealtime choice, multiplied by millions, offers benefits toward planetary health and food security. Accessibly written, rationally argued and focused on action over rhetoric, the book will interest parents, foodies, economists, committed vegetarians, moral omnivores, environmentalists, health enthusiasts and anyone interested inactually doing something about climate change while government responses stagnate. An essential toolkit for readers looking for a pragmatic climate-response action plan of their own. Author tour to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, Ore., Seattle, Durham, N.C., Ann Arbor, Mich., Minneapolis, Northampton, Mass., Boston, Washington, D.C., New York. Agent: Sam Stoloff/Frances Goldin Literary Agency
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781608194650
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 3/29/2011
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 473,116
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Anna Lappé is the co-author of Grubb and Hope's Edge (with her mother, Frances Moore Lappé). She is currently host for MSN's Practical Guide to Healthy Living and is co-host for the public television series, The Endless Feast. Named one of Time magazine's "Eco-Who's Who," she is a founding principal of the Small Planet Institute. Anna's writing has been published in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, International Herald Tribune, and Canada's Globe and Mail. She writes a bi-monthly column on sustainability for Spirituality and Health and contributes book reviews to the San Francisco Chronicle and the New Scientist. Her Web site is www.takeabite.cc.

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Table of Contents

Foreword Bill McKibben xiii

Introduction: Why This Book? xv

How to Read This Book xxiii

I Crisis

1 The Climate Crisis at the End of Our Fork 3

2 The Shape of Things to Come 42

II Spin

3 Blinded by the Bite 59

4 Playing with Our Food 85

5 Capitalizing on Climate Change 115

III Hope

6 Cool Food: Five Ingredients of Climate-Friendly Farming 129

7 Myth-Informed: Answering the Critics 151

8 The Hunger Scare 165

9 The Biotech Ballyhoo 174

IV Action

10 Eat the Sky: Seven Principles of a Climate-Friendly Diet 201

11 Beyond the Fork 230

Conclusion 249

Afterword: Biting into a Gloom and Hope Sandwich 253

Acknowledgments 257

Acronyms 259

Notes 261

Selected Bibliography 289

Action & Learning Resources 293

Index 303

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 11, 2011

    Very Inspirational Book

    Anna is a great writer and creates a compelling case for changing how we eat on a daily basis. I highly recommend this book!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Hot Lunch

    The book achieves an effective fusion of climate change and food security issues presented in an engaging style and accompanied by many excellent resources for further investigation of areas of particular interest to the reader. It provides a useful handbook for addressing the challenges that face us as individuals, as citizens, and as members of the world community as we attempt to take responsibility for the anthropic components of climate disruption and food insecurity and seek to mitigate them. Anna Lappe does an excellent job of explaining the problems, identifying concrete actions we all can take to help solve them, and never losing sight of hope, that "thing with feathers" without which we are surely lost. I was especially pleased with her skillful opposition to the proponents of GMOs. Rational arguments such as those she puts forward will have greater effect in ending this frightening experiment with our ecosystem than all the chants and signs of protesters. In her treatments of agribusiness, genetic engineering, and the opponents of organic farming, she brilliantly reveals that all these who would be kings are wearing garments of air. This should be on the required reading list of every high school in the world.

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  • Posted April 23, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Puts a new perspective on industrial food production!

    I was lucky enough, to hear Anna Lappe speak at Spokane Community College, in April 2010. Having grown up in a small farm town, I never realized how important eating fresh foods really were because it was an everyday thing. We had a huge pesticide free garden in our backyard. Anna really brings to life the importance of not only watching what you eat but what's really in your food. If anything I suggest that everyone take a look at the chapter about a pop tart or a Twinkie deconstructed. Her break down of a Pop Tart and the true Ingredients was ravishing and completely changed my views on this tasty breakfast treat. I would recommend this book to everyone, either it be you have an interest in organics or just how to get a better understanding about Industrial food production. The book is great, and full of fun facts about food. This book is so easy to read and follow, if you want to read it cover to cover or maybe just a few chapters a night. I give this book a 5 star along with the interest in exploring other Anna Lappe titles like GRUB. I will report on this title soon.

    Thank you for your time reading my review,

    Mitch Rowland
    The Traveling Chef
    Owner

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  • Posted April 9, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Is Our Food Overheating Our Planet?

    I recently received this book as a contest prize from Good Reads First Reads. I've always been concerned with the issue of climate change. However, I wasn't aware that food production contributed as much to it as it does. Its common sense, actually, but most of us don't think about it.

    The author brings into focus the fact that industrialized food production makes a significant contribution to the greenhouse gases currently causing the problem of climate change; from the actual growth of genetically modified feed, to the production of chemical fertilizers and pesticides through the raising of crops and livestock all the way to the store and eventually to your table.

    Until I read this book, I did not know that only growing one crop in a field over and over using chemical fertilizers and pesticides caused the soil to erode and release carbon into the atmosphere. Ms. Lappe points out that by using sustainable farming methods (natural fertilizers as well as planting a variety of crops) would reduce carbon emissions and help to restore the topsoil.
    I was also unaware that a huge amount of methane was being produced by livestock and their waste. Most of this is caused by feeding them food other than grass. Their waste is drained into "cesspits" that do not allow it to break down properly, so more methane is released. By allowing them to feed naturally and by recycling their waste as fertilizer, methane and carbon emissions could be reduced. Also, reducing the number of livestock being raised could reduce it further.

    One of the things discussed is to "buy local". I've always been a proponent of that. When you buy locally, you help to reduce emissions from transport vehicles. Why buy fruits and vegetables raised across the country when you can buy the same thing raised nearer your community?

    Speaking to a number of experts and travelling to various places around the world, Ms. Lappe discovered that more people are returning to the time-tested methods of farming. They are thumbing their noses at the big agribusiness companies like Monsanto and Archer Daniels Midland. Using sustainable methods, these people have brought land back to life and are producing more than enough food for their communities.

    I have to say that this book was an eye-opener for me. I learned that industrialized food production is energy intensive (from creation of the fertilizers to the lighting of the barns to the creation of packaging) and is heavily dependent on fossil fuels. I also learned that there are ways to slow down and reduce the greenhouse gases from food production.

    And, now, after reading this book, I may never look at (or eat) a Pop Tart the same way again.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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