Edward Humes, author of the Pulitzer Prize winning Monkey Girl has now written Eco Barons – The Dreamers, Schemers, and Millionaires Who Are Saving Our Planet.
“A man, after he has brushed off the dust and chips of his life, will have left only the hard, clean questions: Was it good or evil? Have I done well – or ill?”
So opens the book with that quote from John Steinbeck’s East of Eden, followed by a fascinating introduction that talks about Esprit and The North Face founder Doug Tompkins buying a volcano (amongst lots of land) in Chile, and becoming. perhaps, one of the most influential eco barons of our time.
The book discusses the “secret plan” to save the earth, where the rich, celebrities and philanthropists are taking on the government to protect the environment, encourage green technologies and reduce pollution.
I’m enjoying the book so much I’m actually writing this before I’ve finished reading it, but there’s not much to go. Some other interesting discussions include:
- How a Malibu pool cleaner did more to fight global warming than anyone on the planet.
- How George Bush’s last-minute “midnight mischief” orders are doing even more damage.
- What critical environmental policy shifts the US can expect to see under Obama, and what counteracting eight years of environmental disaster and neglect will require.
- Ten vital steps every American can take to slow global warming – and save money.
There’s also an interesting chapter on the inventor of the plug-in hybrid, Andy Frank, and how he turns gas-guzzlers into 150-mile-a-gallon wonders using college students and off the shelf parts to build them. It makes poignant reading in light of the US auto-industry bailout.
There’s a quick resources section at the back, but there are better books for that, this is about the story of individuals changing the world. In a good way :). I read a lot of green books and honestly, this was a refreshing change, a glimpse of hope and the bright future that we can be part of, even without the money of the Eco Barons.