- Series: Our Sustainable Future
- Paperback: 464 pages
- Publisher: University of Nebraska Press (June 1, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0803237758
- ISBN-13: 978-0803237759
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 8.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 69 customer reviews
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#545,463 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #160 in Books > Engineering & Transportation > Engineering > Energy Production & Extraction > Alternative & Renewable
- #350 in Books > Business & Money > Economics > Sustainable Development
- #458 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Public Affairs & Policy > Environmental Policy
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Green Illusions: The Dirty Secrets of Clean Energy and the Future of Environmentalism (Our Sustainable Future) Paperback – June 1, 2012
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"Causing shockwaves...Not anti-green but simply asking questions" -The Sunday Times
"Terrific book. . . . Zehner is especially good at untangling sloppy thinking." -David Owen, The New Yorker and author of Green Metropolis
Top Nonfiction Books --Goodreads
"This book takes a look at the dark underbelly of 'green energy' and attempts to shift the US dialogue to a more pressing problem: consumption."--Christian Science Monitor
- Nautilus Book Award Winner
- IPPY Award Winner
- Best Earth Day Books - Christian Science Monitor
- N. California Book Award Winner
From the Inside Flap
Green Illusions is a critical primer on solar cells, wind turbines, biofuels, nuclear power, clean coal, and electric cars. It also delivers three dozen first steps around the themes of environmental justice, overpopulation, rebound effects, energy economics, degrowth, taxes, bicycling, livable neighborhoods, and energy conservation.
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Top customer reviews
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Zehner has provided important information that all Americans (really, all people in industrialized countries) should be exposed to. You'll find out why solar cells, wind power, ethanol, and other "green" energy solutions are not as perfect as they are touted in the popular media. You'll probably be shocked to comprehend exactly how deeply ingrained we are in U.S. culture with the need to drive cars, buy as much as possible, and work overtime. Think about it - what do people really want? More vacation time? More time with the people we love, friends and family? More time outdoors in nature? And yet what do we do everyday? We go to work, go to the store, sit in traffic, eat prepackaged food, and watch TV. Do these activities make us happier? Healthier? More able to enjoy every moment? No. Absolutely not. The book includes realistic ways for real people to start small in reversing the unhealthy, damaging habits we have developed in our society over the past few hundred years, as well as larger, more sweeping suggestions for communities and the government to consider.
If you want to read a book that will make you question your current way of life, and start working toward living a better life right now, read this book. If you're paying any attention at all, it will spur you into action. Let's start taking better care of ourselves and our earth, today, right now. Thanks to the author for a candid and striking discussion of topics that have typically been swept under the rug in our American society. This is an excellent book that I will read and refer back to again and again.
1. Increasing energy production sources (by using power from "renewable" wind, solar, geothermal sources etc. or improving fossil fuel technologies) results in a reduction in energy prices, which history has proven time and time again, results in a rebound effect in which consumption rises, consuming whatever short term gains were accomplished.
2. Comparing the environmental impact of renewable energies to fossil fuels is fundamentally flawed because being more environmentally friendly than fossil fuels is a preposterously low bar which to clear. This results in "less bad" technologies being portrayed as "good" because they are slightly better than the previous "bad" options.
3. Looking exclusively at the power generation side of the equation, whether fossil or renewable, is an approach akin to treating a symptom. Environmentalism would be more productive treating the causal side of the equation, which is consumption.
Zehner's Green Illusions first section is quite similar to Robert Bryce's Power Hungry http://www.amazon.com/Power-Hungry-Myths-Energy-Future/dp/1586487892 . Zehner systematically goes down the list of energy technologies, fossil and renewable, and describes the realities of both their energy production potential and their environmental impacts.
The latter half of the book is closer in tone to Robert Laughlin's Powering the Future http://www.amazon.com/Powering-Future-Eventually-Civilization-Tomorrow/dp/0465022197 . Zehner describes real solutions and ideas of what could occur to actual address the world's power problems via practical reductions in consumption through social, political and cultural changes.
Zehner doesn't have all the answers, but he seems to have honed in on the problem, and as they say, before we can agree on the solution, we have to agree on the problem.
I would have appreciated more data in some places, but overall a compelling read with suggestions of some real (if otherwise extremely optimistic) ways to improve our relationship with energy.
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