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Green Washed: Why We Can't Buy Our Way to a Green Planet Paperback – March 27, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"If only we could buy our way (or recycle our way!) out of our environmental troubles. But as this slim and powerful book makes clear, what we need even more than clean cars are clean politics and economics that let us make sensible structural choices."—Bill McKibben, author Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

About the Author

Kendra Pierre-Louis is the Sustainable Development Editor for Justmeans.com. She holds a Master’s in Sustainable Development from the SIT Graduate Institute in Vermont. She has created outreach material for the United Nations Environment Programme’s Convention on Biological Diversity and worked as a researcher for Terrapin Bright Green, an environmental consulting and strategic planning firm.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Ig Publishing (March 27, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193543943X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935439431
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #837,510 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Writer, researcher, environmental activist and author of the book Green Washed: Why We Can't Buy Our Way to a Green Planet (Ig Publishing, 2012), Kendra Pierre-Louis, was born and raised in Queens, New York. Queens is not only New York City's (and the country's) most ethnically diverse though often least appreciated borough, it also teems with biological diversity. In fact, she credits her environmentalism - at least in part - to the cicadas she heard outside her bedroom window as a child and whose molted shell remains were the stuff that haunted her nightmares. Kendra firmly believes that everyone should be fortunate enough to be both awed and terrified by nature on a semi-regular basis.

Kendra received her B.A. in Economics from Cornell University and her M. A. in Sustainable Development from the SIT Graduate Institute. She has worked for the United Nations Environment Programme's Convention on Biological Diversity, the consulting and strategic planning firm Terrapin Bright Green, the New York Botanical Gardens, and the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History. She has served as a Sustainable Development editor for the social media platform Justmeans.com, and her idea "Restoring Brownfields through Phytoremediation" was a semi-finalist in the Ideas for Impact Challenge. Kendra's proudest, however, of the Master Composter Certificate she earned through the Queens Botanical Garden. She will happily swing by your home to show you how composting is done.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Joshua P. OConner VINE VOICE on March 13, 2012
Format: Paperback
As we plug along into the 21st century, somehow we've grown beyond the idea that science will inevitably provide the solution to all of our problems. Instead we now revel in the extremely fallacious belief that shopping is the real key to saving the planet. I've certainly read my share of sustainability books, blogs, news articles, etc. which generally point to some product that brings us closer to a green, yet technologically abundant sustainable Utopia. Seemingly, we always seem to return to a common theme... somehow, some purchase, whether it be a Toyota Prius, CFL light bulbs, shade grown organic coffee, or a metal water bottle is going to make a huge impact on the environment. Our key to a smaller footprint is lies within our wallet.

Fortunately, author Kendra Pierre-Louis aims to steer the conversation in an entirely different direction in her book Green Washed: Why We Can't Buy Our Way to a Green Planet. Green Washed packs a heavy punch at just over 224 pages (12 chapters) of fact-filled discussion about how our penchant toward consumerism and corporate marketing aren't really creating any meaningful reforms for the environment. I always feel a bit put-off by sustainability titles because of their "holier than thou", overly cynical outlook on how the author has reached some (remarkably expensive) euphoric state of Zen with their environmental footprint. I have to say that Pierre-Louis avoids that... it's not page after page of the organic produce or carbon offsets that I should be struggling financially to obtain. Instead, Green Washed is about a new more simplistic outlook.

Green Washed provides meaningful insights into many of the popular attempts at sustainability (which we've become indoctrinated to view as our saving grace) and how they fall short.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By James R. Maclean on June 6, 2013
Format: Paperback
"Greenwashing" refers to an effort by organizations to make their products appear either "organic" or else environmentally sustainable, when they are neither. With her short attention span, Pierre-Louis does manage to occasionally point out the difference between the two virtues--"organic" products are supposed to benefit the consumer personally by being more wholesome; sustainable products are supposed to minimize damage to the planet. But as it turns out, Pierre-Louis is greenwashing her book, too.

Each chapter addresses an industry that uses greenwashing. After about nine cases, which are actually quite well-chosen, the author then has three short chapters that recapitulate her general view of the world, and then gloms onto Bhutan as how we ought to organize our lives (more on Bhutan, later). The points are very straightforward: greenwashing is bad not because it says bad things are good, but because it blinds us to the fact that consumption is inherently bad. While some people hope to substitute biodegradable trash bags for the other kind, the author says we should consume so much less that we have almost no trash. While some engineers believe we can design system that are environmentally sustainable, Pierre-Louis casts scorn on the very idea.

It's you might call soft-core anarcho-primitivism. As an ideology, anarcho-primitivism has no choice but to argue that integrated global systems of commerce and production are a centrally inflicted curse, tolerated only out pure delusion.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By JYK on May 8, 2012
Format: Paperback
Ms. Pierre-Louis's book is short but impactful. In easy-to-read format, tinged with wry humor, she holds up a mirror to make us face the uncomfortable inconsistencies we face in our effort to be greener. Ultimately, we need to ask ourselves how far we're truly willing to go to be environmentally friendly. A good book to remind us that green labeling does not solve problems and may exacerbate them or cause different ones (e.g. palm oil in body lotion - okay, the marine life was spared but now we might be threatening orangutans in their habitats). The inconvenient truth may be that we'll have to sacrifice a lot more of our creature comfort to save the environment.
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Brilliant, inspiring, and a great resource to use as as a secondary text for any class related to social participation, sustainable development, or ethics.
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Format: Paperback
If you are a consumer you ought to read this book!

It is an eye opening informational piece that will change the way you live your life in many aspects. Since I read this book I make better choices and try to use less, buy less and practice a more sustainable life-style.
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