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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 Hardcover – March 30, 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From 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.)
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From Booklist

*Starred Review* Frances Moore Lappé’s Diet for a Small Planet (1971) launched an essential inquiry into the connections among food, justice, and ecology. She teamed up with her daughter, Anna, in another incisive overview, Hope’s Edge (2002), and now Anna addresses the major role industrial agriculture plays in today’s climate crisis. Responsibly researched and cogently articulated, Lappé’s far-reaching investigation entails questioning scientists; attending UN, governmental, corporate, and grassroots agriculture conferences; plowing through daunting reports and studies, and, most pleasurably, visiting organic farms around the world. She gathers facts proving that global industrial agriculture—specifically the use of hazardous chemicals, concentrated animal feeding operations, biotech crops, and processed foods—is impoverishing the land, destroying rain forests, polluting waterways, and emitting nearly a third of the greenhouse gases that are heating the planet. In contrast, well-designed organic-farming techniques reduce carbon emissions and toxic waste while nurturing soil and biodiversity. Convinced that eating wisely is one way to influence the marketplace and, ultimately, help combat world hunger and climate change, Lappé decodes food labeling, dissects Big Ag’s “greenwashing” tactics, and offers “seven principles of a climate-friendly diet” in an impeccable, informative, and inspiring contribution to the quest for environmental reform. --Donna Seaman

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; 1 edition (March 30, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596916591
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596916593
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #889,182 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Related Media

More About the Author

Anna Lappé is a national bestselling author and a founding principal of the Small Planet Institute and Small Planet Fund. Her most recent book is Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at the End of Our Fork (Bloomsbury 2010). She is also the co-author of Hope's Edge, with her mother Frances Moore Lappé and Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen with Bryant Terry.

She can be seen as the host for MSN's Practical Guide to Healthier Living and as a featured expert on Sundance Channel's Ideas for a Small Planet.. An active board member of Rainforest Action Network, Anna has been named one of Time's "Eco" Who's Who has been featured in The New York Times, Gourmet, O-The Oprah Magazine, Food & Wine, and Vibe, among many other outlets.

She is currently an Innovator at the Glynwood Institute for Sustainable Food and Farming and a Senior Fellow with the Oakland Institute.

She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and daughter.

Learn more at www.takeabite.cc and www.smallplanet.org.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Many of you thinking about buying this are expecting somethng similar to the "Diet for a Small Planet", which is, in part, a cookbook for vegans and vegetarians. There are no recipes in this book.

What this is, is a very well done discussion of green farming, agribusiness, and what to do to eat greener. There are several chapters discussing the greenwashing of agribusiness, and how marketing makes us think that products are "green" which inherently are not. It's fascinating reading.

Specifically, there has been an enormous amount of discussion in the popular press in recent years about how agribusiness-grown foods are better for the planet because they're more efficiently grown--which isn't true; the numbers that have been manufactured to make agribusiness look good don't take into account the sheer volume of fossil fuels required to transport food.

There are also some interesting discussions about how to get sustainable beef: the author talks about carbon sinks in grassland; some ecologists have noted that large swaths of grassland hold even more carbon than forests. If we could just keep cows out of feedlots, then it would be a lot more o.k. to eat beef.

Then, the author goes off on a "green farming" tangent that is a little hard to stomach because her ideas about real farming aren't realistic; the author goes into a long discussion of green farming and rhapsodizes at great length about "growing what would grow there naturally."

No offense, but you know what grows in much of the breadbasket of the United States (California and Texas) without huge amounts of transported water? Nothing.

Despite some of the unrealistic ideas, there are some neat ideas in the chapters on green farming.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If you are already aware of the relationship between climate change and the food we eat, this book might not serve as a real eye-opener. However, if you're just becoming aware of this relationship, I would recommend this book wholeheartedly. It's packed with information including things we can do to live and eat more responsibly, and it's easy to read.

Obviously, you may not agree with everything the author says, but it's hard to dispute that there are some big problems out there that should be addressed.

We need to start "voting with our dollars" at the supermarket. If we keep buying meat, veggies, etc. that were grown irresponsibly, the big corporations will keep delivering them to our grocery store shelves. All of our little changes can add up to something big if we just make an effort.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book brings out the important point that agriculture, not transportation, is the sector that makes the largest impact on global climate change. Lappe is a journalist with a lifelong interest in sustainable food (her mother wrote the classic "Diet for a Small Planet"). In this book, she discusses the various ways that our eating choices affect climate change. She explains how the practices of industrial food producers add to greenhouse gases, from fossil use to produce nitrogen fertilizers, to increased methane production from livestock waste, to clearing rainforests for crop and livestock production. She notes in particular how increased meat consumption worldwide has been responsible for more land clearance for feed production, increased production of nitrogen fertilizers to grow the feed, and increased methane release from animal waste. The book is divided into 4 sections: Crisis, Spin, Hope, and Action; the final section includes specific suggestions for how individual consumers can reduce their share of the impact food production makes on climate change. Sources are documented with endnotes. The book also includes a selected biography and a list of learning resources for further information.

The book caught my attention in the first chapter, where Lappe introduces the idea that current agricultural practices pose a serious threat to the climate. I was quite interested in learning more about the issues. Lappe does an admirable job of explaining why methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and how agriculture, especially industrial agriculture, promotes the production and release of methane. Lappe is clearly quite impassioned by the topic of climate change and environmentalism.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm interested in learning as much as I can about anthropogenic influences on our climate (but I'm also aware of the difficulties in understanding the complex science; see What's the Worst That Could Happen?: A Rational Response to the Climate Change Debate). I've read a number of pieces about the influence of our food production systems and our dietary choices on greenhouse gas production. Sickness causing a great deal of waste. Shipping foods all around the planet is oftentimes energy intensive. And meat production... don't get me started, because I don't have to. Author Anna Lappe does it for me in her book, Diet For A Small Planet.

Lappe's bottom line? Support locally-produced agriculture. Avoid factory-produced meats. What else does she say?

- "... livestock production alone is responsible for as much as 18 percent of the global warming effect." "This figure includes almost one tenth of carbon emissions, more than one third of methane, and roughly two thirds of nitrous oxide."

- Prepare to face those who intentionally mean to confuse you. "'Doubt is our product,' wrote the [tobacco] executives. 'It is the best means of competing with the 'body of fact' that exists in the mind of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy.'" Lappe discusses the same strategy happening with diet-based concerns and claims. She also discusses the "playbook" of the marketing gurus:

1. Advertise the 'new you' [the "I am reborn or reformed" strategy]
2. Spin the story [you're not really involved in the bad stuff, and you are actually full of the "right stuff"]
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