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Coming Clean: Breaking America's Addiction to Oil and Coal Paperback – September 1, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

An experienced political activist and straight-talker, executive director of the Rainforest Action Network Brune challenges average citizens to join him in the fight for clean energy, warning that, even though "60 percent of Americans believe that we must take action now," it will only happen by "changing corporate America and challenging our political leaders." Presenting a trove of information, Brune looks at the costs of oil dependency, the dirty mechanics of so-called "clean coal," the role played by politics and finance, and the possibilities for a post-oil economy. "Take Action" sections at the end of each chapter suggest further reading and viewing, ways to profile an adversary, how to identify the most important issues to you, and what to do from there (speaking out, organizing others, taking your demands to government representatives). While Brune is obviously looking to recruit converts, his guide contains enough solid, interesting information (Ford Motor Company's current fleet averages fewer miles per gallon than their old Model-T) to fill in anyone interested in the present state of the energy economy.
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From Booklist

Although it is certainly laudable that the average person has become more amenable to replacing incandescent lightbulbs with compact fluorescents and trading in the family SUV for a fuel-efficient hybrid, it is equally deplorable that our nation’s corporate and government leaders have failed to demonstrate a similar commitment in the battle to stop climate change. The dynamically committed executive director of Rainforest Action Network, Brune has been at the forefront in efforts to identify and incorporate technological innovations and demonstrate and promote environmentally responsible lifestyle adaptations. Through creatively inspired grassroots and guerilla activities targeting high-profile industries, RAN has persuaded many recalcitrant corporate officials to adopt new energy policies and practices. Yet there is still work to be done, and Brune artfully exposes the shameless tactics employed at every level of the energy supply chain by those intent upon maintaining the status quo. Sharing proven methods to jump-start the necessary paradigm shift away from fossil-fuel dependency, Brune offers an enlightened yet impassioned manifesto on how to achieve clean energy. --Carol Haggas

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Sierra Club Books (September 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1578051495
  • ISBN-13: 978-1578051496
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,175,088 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Tracy Solum on August 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
Coming Clean is an important book that is a really great read for anyone who wants to understand why America is addicted to oil and coal, and more importantly, learn how people are fighting for a clean energy future that will be good for our country, our economy, and the planet as a whole. Even more importantly, you'll learn about many ways you can get involved and be a part of the solution yourself.

I really liked Coming Clean's focus on vision and action, combined with its hopeful tone giving a sense of what is possible and plenty of inspiration and tools as promised on the cover. I started using the Take Action and Resources sections before I even finished the book. I also found there to be a lot more useful nuts and bolts and thought-provoking information and statistics in this book than other more challenges-focused books that tend to be overloaded with less essential info (and that for me usually start to feel onerous around the halfway to 2/3 mark).

In contrast, Coming Clean is lean and focused with clarity of purpose. There's great use of humor and engaging stories of people making a difference that make it an enjoyable, quick read. But once you are finished, you will likely be inspired enough to return to it often to utilize its many tools for taking both individual and collective action.
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Format: Paperback
I thoroughly enjoyed Coming Clean! Michael Brune writes about complex issues of climate change and energy in an accessible, engaging way. The book is chock full of information - it clearly presents the problems we're facing, but it doesn't make you feel hopeless. Brune tells fascinating stories with an insider's view of past activism to stop major corporations from destroying our environment, as well as stories of regular people taking action in their communities. Every couple of pages, I found myself jumping out of my seat to share something with my boyfriend or whoever happened to be nearby at the time. I love that every chapter gives you things you can do right away to address the issues raised in that chapter. It's a very empowering and affirming read!
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Format: Paperback
Coming Clean hits all the right notes. In his first book, Michael Brune meets the challenges of a climate in crisis and an imperiled environment head on. Brune offers hope to those feeling helpless and overwhelmed by climate change and our global addiction to fossil fuels. More than just another primer on the most urgent environmental issues of the day (though it fills that niche effectively), Coming Clean offers easy steps that any citizen can take to help usher in a clean energy economy.

Coming Clean isn't another environmental treatise accessible only to the academic elite. This book is for the rest of us. Every chapter engages the reader by putting a human face on complex issues ranging from oil and coal to biofuels to building a safer, more efficient mass transit system.

If you ever wanted to make a difference but weren't sure how to get started, pick up a copy of Coming Clean and create an environmental legacy you'll be proud to leave to the next generation.
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Format: Paperback
Coming Clean is the book I've been searching for. Billed as the "information, inspiration and tools we need to jump-start a clean energy future," it did not disappoint. The author, Michael Brune of the Rainforest Action Network, takes a comprehensive and global look at the problems created by America's dependence on fossil fuels and thoughtfully examines the alternatives. Although the book covers a lot of ground, it never bogs down. It assesses the true costs of oil and coal, discusses how pay-to-play politics and the current international banking system perpetuate the use of fossil fuel, and then examines alternatives. Chapters are devoted to developing better transit solutions, building better cars, finding appropriate uses for biofuels, integrating sun and wind energy into the grid and leveraging conservation for all it's worth.

One of the most inspiring things about this book is its focus on success stories. Although Brune paints a bleak picture of America's current energy policy and the political system that spawned it, he always reminds readers that change is possible and backs up the assertion with stories of his successes in stopping rainforest destruction in the Amazon basin and around the world. He is a firm believer that true change arises out of grassroots activism and his enthusiasm is catching. I finished the book with a long list of things I want to do, things I want to speak out against, and things I want to learn more about.

I liked the format of this book as well as the content. Compelling facts are set out in "pass it on" sidebars. Each chapter includes suggested actions for individuals wanting to make a difference, ways to for activists to make their views know, and suggested reading, viewing and web links.
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Format: Paperback
As the international director of the campaign to stop one of the dirtiest oils in the world from perpetuating the American oil addiction (i.e., tar sands oil from Alberta, the second largest oil reserve in the world), I'm constantly reading books on coal, oil, and global warming. This book by Michael Brune is one of the first that I've read that is actually a pleasure to read (despite the subject matter). Michael's writing style is crisp with active tense, great little vignettes, and a little humor thrown in to keep you from getting depressed. Each chapter contains the juiciest and most relevant facts, great examples of what other countries or industries are doing to end the fossil fuel habit, and very specific ways to learn more and take action. I highly recommend this book! Michael Marx, Executive Director, Corporate Ethics International.
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