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Getting Green Done: Hard Truths from the Front Lines of the Sustainability Revolution Paperback – June 1, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Prius drivers and recyclers take note: according to debut author Schendler, your efforts to be environmentally correct are admirable, but are hardly the kind of urgent, unified action we need to really make an impact on global climate change. In fact, he says, by focusing on small individual actions, you may be actually harming the environmental movement. A pioneer in the sustainability movement, Schendler points out that "there is a hangover from the 1970s that continues to hamper the environmental movement today." Using examples from his own consulting work as the executive director of Community and Environmental Responsibility at Aspen Skiing Company, he asserts that real change can only come from tough decisions by big businesses and through legislation. Rather than sacrificing ROI to integrate green practices, Schendler says that companies must make profit-driven decisions that complement their business models in order to carry out meaningful and lasting environmental change. By challenging status quo thinking about sustainability and taking the point of view of the business executive and the worker in the field, Schendler offers a perspective that is refreshingly realistic and pragmatic. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Publishers Weekly," January 12, 2009 "Prius drivers and recyclers take note: according to debut author Schendler, your efforts to be environmentally correct are admirable, but are hardly the kind of urgent, unified action we need to really make an impact on global climate change...By challenging status quo thinking about sustainability and taking the point of view of the business executive and the worker in the field, Schendler offers a perspective that is refreshingly realistic and pragmatic." Dr. James E. Hansen, Director, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies "The sobering conclusion that I have reached, after traveling to Germany, the UK, Japan, and several U.S. states, is that even the greenest nations are not planning anything like what is needed--they say some green words, but their actions don't match the scale of the problem. "Getting Green Done" defines strategies that will actually help. It's an antidote and an alternative to 'greenwash, ' the fraud perpetrated by governments and the fossil fuel industry that threatens our planet and our children." Walter Isaacson, President and CEO of the Aspen Institute and author of "Einstein: His Life and Universe" "A lot of people talk about climate change, but Auden Schendler combats it every day. He also makes the issue fun to read about. This is an amusing, anecdotal, as well as highly informative account of what can be done to help the environment in ways large and small." Jeffrey Swartz, President and CEO, Timberland "Entertaining insights from a true climate crusader ... Sure to inspire business leaders striving to make their organization more sustainable." "Booklist," 2/13"Schendler frames his environmentally sound arguments in practical terms every business executive, home owner, and government official can relate to." "Ski Press World," February issue"A dirty job and a damned good book"
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; Reprint edition (June 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158648804X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586488048
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.7 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #784,758 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Auden Schendler is vice president of Sustainability at Aspen Skiing Company. He worked previously in corporate sustainability at Rocky Mountain Institute. Auden has been a trailer insulator, burger flipper, ambulance medic, Outward Bound instructor, high school math and English teacher, freelance writer, and Forest Service goose nest island builder. An avid outdoorsman, Auden has climbed Denali, North America's highest peak, and kayaked the Grand Canyon in winter. His writing has been published in Harvard Business Review, the L.A. Times, Slate, Scientific American Earth 3.0, and Salon.com and other media, and his work has been covered in Outside, Fast Company, Travel and Leisure and Businessweek.. In 2006, Auden was named a global warming innovator by Time magazine. His book Getting Green Done: Hard Truths from the Front Lines of the Sustainability Revolution was called "An antidote to greenwash" by NASA climatologist James Hansen. Auden lives in Basalt, Colorado with his wife Ellen and their children Willa and Elias.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By W. Allemon on September 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Purchasing this title, I expected to gain insight into how to "Get Green Done". But instead this book is more of rant on how difficult it is to implement green ideas. ( I didn't need to purchase this title to know that.) I suppose walking in the author's shoes helps some readers gain an insight into the difficulties those of us who are facility managers, and other implementers in the environmental sustainability movement, have getting energy efficiency and other emissions reduction actions funded and installed. I did not gain a significant insight into how to overcome traditional inhibitors and boundaries. As a global energy efficiency manager for a major manufacturer, reading this text unfortunately confirmed what I already knew. I felt like someone was recording the last 10 years of my career, putting it down in text for all to read. I suspect that any active participant in the environmental sustainability movement, especially those working in or consulting for Corporate America, will have the same opinion.

All is not bad, though. There are some interesting facts & figures. Along with plenty of editorial commentary and viewpoint, some of which I don't totally agree with. But the point of an editorial is to share an opinion and initiate your own thought. I just didn't know this was what I was purchasing.

Ignore the accolades the book has received, most being from colleagues and acquaintances of the author. Also be wary of quantified information, since the data that I'm familiar with first-hand is wrong. "Ford spent $2 billion at greening its Rouge auto plant in Dearborn..." Auden, it was $317M, not $2B. Ooops! "...they decided to install a green roof...planted with grasses" Wrong again, Auden.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Denis on February 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I'd like to meet Auden Schendler. We see eye to eye on many issues, and debating the others would be a rare pleasure.

His new book remedies today's green euphoria with a double dose of reality -- illustrating the barriers, frustrations and failures of sustainability with stories from the author's experience.

Challenges or no, much must be done to avert climate change. Schendler (who researched Natural Capitalism) places responsibility squarely on the shoulders of business, which he says has a level of influence and impact second only to large governments.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who is a sustainability director or thinking of championing green initiatives in the workplace. My full-length review for Energy Priorities magazine is at [...]

Schendler devotes a chapter each to green energy and green buildings, because he feels (as I do) that these are at the core of the solution to climate change. He promotes energy efficiency and renewable energy as the solutions, and sees energy as the thing that matters most when designing green buildings.

He blasts sustainability consultants and green gurus; dismisses individual conservation; disparages the media and books like Green to Gold and unabashedly criticizes LEED. Overall a very enjoyable read with many excellent stories from the trenches of sustainability warfare.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Cameron Burns on February 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Auden Schendler's new book Getting Green Done is a kind of mixture of tales from the real sustainability front, a battle cry to action, and something of a slap on the wrist of those who aren't working directly on climate change, messing around with things like schemes to cut back on plastic grocery bags, use potatoes as currency, and sticker Hummers. It's a good, fun read (something we can all use in these troubling economic times), and for those of you new to the entire climate challenge, consider this book Climate 101---your first climate course.
Schendler touches on most of the main climate topics (how fast it's happening, why it's important, what it might do to industries like his own, etc.), but he makes some excellent and very important points that have heretofore not been part of the green revolution's messaging plan.
One is the notion that this movement needs more grunts than visionaries. Every person and his/her dog is claiming to be a visionary in the green space these days--what does that really mean, especially when many of them have just arrived in this space? I can name dozens of green "gurus" who've been doing this stuff less than five years and already call themselves visionary. (Oh really?)
Auden also points out, repeatedly and quite successfully, at just how hard it is to change things from "business as usual." Even a lighting retrofit, which most of us would consider a no-brainer, becomes a lengthy, involved, mangled process as Schendler attempts one in the parking garage at the Little Nell hotel in Aspen.
Ultimately, Schendler explains, doing this stuff is so hard that those of us in the sustainability community need to share the failure stories just as much as we share the successes. That's how we'll all learn, that's how we'll all improve.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Jay on July 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is not a book about optimistic people holding hands and spinning in circles in a field of daises talking bout saving the world and blaming the worlds problems on everyone else. Its about guys on the front line discussing their success AND failures giving equal time to both.

Great book that gave me cool insights into how hard it is to enact change, what has worked and what has not from the perspective of a guy who has been at it for years. Its cool to learn about not only the ideas that worked but also the failures the author has experienced with his efforts to change a big company.

written well. he gets to the points quickly and uses great stories to illustrate his points.
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