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Cooler Smarter: Practical Steps for Low-Carbon Living Paperback – April 25, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


"Finally, an excellent, short, and readable book that is replete with examples of what each of us can do to improve our lives and, at the same time, reduce our carbon footprint by using energy more efficiently. Whatever your view may be about climate change projections, there are no good arguments that favor wasting energy and launching the world's climate into an uncertain future."
(Neal Lane former White House Science Advisor)

"Cooler Smarter provides great advice backed by data, analysis, and examples. I was surprised how only a few simple steps can cut your environmental footprint by 20 percent—and most of those steps don't involve sacrifice, but rather pay for themselves and help you lead a healthier life. I plan on implementing several of these strategies and hope others do, too!"
(Rick Needham Director, Energy and Sustainability, Google)

"We can break our addiction to fossil fuels, stave off the worst of global warming, and generate quality jobs that allow us to support our families and build for the future—but only if we work together and each of us does our part. This smart, sensible, and easy-to-use book lays out the most effective steps each of us can take right now."
(Van Jones President, Rebuild the Dream, and author of The Green Collar Economy)

"Global warming affects all of us, no matter what our ethnicity, politics or religious affiliation. This book offers the latest scientific thinking about the most effective steps each of us can take to lower our emissions. It is a valuable tool for congregations and others who care for God's creation."
(The Rev. Canon Sally G. Bingham President, The Regeneration Project, Interfaith Power & Light)

"It's doubly important now for each of us to act to reduce our carbon footprints because Washington is doing so little. I love this book—a smart, accessible, clear-headed guide that we can all follow."
(James Gustave Speth author of The Bridge at the Edge of the World)

"This accessible, science-based book gives each of us the information we need to do our part to reduce our carbon emissions. This is the smart tool for action many of us have been waiting for."
(Timothy E. Wirth President, United Nations Foundation and former U.S. Senator from Colorado)

"A wonderful guide to smarter energy use and a cooler planet that shows how each and every one of us can contribute part of the solution for a better future. Splendidly written, accessible, and essential for any citizen—both virtually and metaphorically cool."
(Thomas E. Lovejoy Biodiversity Chair, The Heinz Center)

"eco-myth-busting guide to green living….makes a plaintive call to action, arguing that climate change has reached a dire point because of human use of heat-trapping fossil fuels."
(The USA Today)

"Who would I recommend this book to? Just about everyone. Rarely does any individual popular science book rank as a genuinely significant and compelling addition to a library's collection, but this is one of them. Pretty well every academic or public library should get this book for their collection.... We owe it to ourselves and our planet to read this book and think deeply about what we can do."
(Science Blogs: Confessions of a Science Librarian)

"The advice in Cooler Smarter can help save you money and live healthier. But its central purpose is to empower you, through low carbon-living, to confront one of society's greatest threats."
(Southeastern Naturalist)

"Clear, readable, and genuinely smart, Cooler Smarter answers the question concerned citizens everywhere are asking: What can we do to make a difference?"
(Elizabeth Kolbert author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change)

About the Author

The Union of Concerned Scientists is a leading science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world. UCS combines independent scientific research and citizen action to develop innovative, practical solutions and to secure responsible changes in government policy, corporate practices, and consumer choices.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Island Press; 6 edition (April 25, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 161091192X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1610911924
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #390,802 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By emily on August 29, 2012
Format: Paperback
I received a digital galley of this book to review for a magazine before it was published ... and then I was so impressed by it, I ended up buying a copy for myself and several to give away to friends and family.

I can't stress enough what an important tool this book is: it debunks many misconceptions about climate change, and offers lots of practical climate change solutions to empower readers across all income levels. (ie, this isn't just for people who can afford to buy a Prius or outfit their home with all the latest, expensive new high-efficiency appliances.) My biggest takeaway from this book is that reducing energy consumption isn't about going without; it's about simply being smarter with the resources you have. (Bonus: It can save you a lot of money, too.)

Bottom line: Highly recommended.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Bob M. on November 17, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having spent many years trying to reduce my family's global warming impact, this is the most useful guide I have found. It is clear from its thoughtful analysis that this book is the result of in-depth research, but the presentation should be very accessible to most readers. Climate change can be such an imposing and dreary subject that it is tempting to run away from it, but the authors manage to maintain a cheerful and optimistic tone. I especially appreciate their encouragement to "sweat the right stuff." That is to make those adjustments in our daily lives that make the most difference. It is easy to get paralyzed by all the suggestions out there for how we can live "greener." This guide cuts through a lot of that and encourages readers to work on those areas that research shows are the most important and achievable. My own experience is that it is possible to simultaneously save money, live more comfortably, and make substantial progress towards a lower carbon footprint. This excellent volume picks up that perspective and provides a reliable roadmap to follow.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By tony on June 29, 2012
Format: Paperback
After the financial crash of 2008 I hit the internet looking for answers. It can't just be a housing bubble that's caused this, I thought. And now after 3 years of continuing my investigations, I've realized we're in a New Era. America is post industrial and it's not just another recession, but a new time in history. And this book Cooler Smarter has to be read by accountants, lawyers, janitors and hairdressers alike. We all have to become savvy about the topics in this book if we are to sustain a good standard of living. We all have to understand the basics of our energy use and become amateur ecologists. The book is a great place to start if you've just begun this journey in realizing things have changed. It's clearly laid out with less jargon than some other books. You can read chapters out of sequence if you prefer. But in the end try to read it all, it will benefit your life.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Judith M. Lord on January 30, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Informative, interesting book. This book is a good starting point for
anyone wanting to learn more about global warming from a scientific point of view.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Scott Vandehey on March 28, 2014
Format: Paperback
This book attempts to do 3 things:

1) Explain the science of climate change in an approachable, clear, and objective way.

2) Describe the ramifications of climate change both for the planet as a whole and our society in particular.

3) Provide steps we can all take to help lower our impact and become more ecologically friendly, many of which have clear financial benefits.

It does all of these rather well individually, unfortunately, the sum is not greater than the individual parts. The focus of the book is confusing. At times it is trying to convince you that climate change is real - that is a noble objective and it is done rather well, but it assumes that you don't already believe in climate change. Then it switches gears to tell us what to do to slow down climate change - another great thing, but it assumes the reader now accepts climate change. This would be fine and a logical progression of the book, but then in the next section the cycle starts over again and we go back to explaining why a different aspect of climate change is real.

Overall the information contained in the book is quite good and presented for a lay audience. It is, however, organized rather poorly. Aside from that, I highly recommend the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Daniel T. Spencer on April 6, 2014
Format: Paperback
In the vast and growing literature on climate change and global warming, Cooler Smarter: Practical Steps for Low-Carbon stands out for its clear descriptions of the many different areas of our lives where we can reduce our carbon footprint and contribute to responding positively to the challenges of climate change. This is particularly important for those of us living in the United States where our lifestyles generate far more carbon emissions per capita than most other nations. Poor nations in particular are most vulnerable to the negative effects of climate change, yet they bear little responsibility for the greenhouse gases driving it.

In Cooler Smarter members of the Union of Concerned Scientists provide practical advice on everything from transportation choices and what and how we drive, to heating our homes more efficiently. Chapter 3, "The Weight of the Evidence: How We Know the Planet is Warming" should be required reading for anyone who doubts the reality of Global Warming. The science is explained clearly and the evidence is overwhelming.

The authors note that the average American's activities are responsible for about 21 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year, and they encourage each of us to begin by committing to reduce our carbon footprint by 20 per cent or about 4 tons of emissions over the course of a year.
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