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Seven Wonders for a Cool Planet by Eric Sorensen

Phil Moore

9th October, 2008

This slight tome from journalist Eric Sorensen and the team at the Seattle based Sightline Institute is a great introduction to bringing the front line against global warming home.

A lively and accessible primer on how to cool global warming at an individual level, this book focuses on seven ordinary objects which, put to more use, can help reduce our carbon footprint.

Not another tips book, or how to guide, this slight tome is a thoughtful and at times humorous appraisal of ‘everyday things’ Sorensen enlists in the battle to reduce carbon emissions.

The ‘seven wonders’, Sorensen reminds us, are objects within easy reach of most of us in the west. The opening chapter begins with the simple and humble bicycle, detailing the hegemony of the car in our motor-driven society and how cycling isn’t just a health option for the planet but is an eminently sensible way of getting around. Sorensen then goes on to profile condoms, ceiling fans, clotheslines, library books, the microchip and what he calls the ‘real tomato’ a long forgotten forbearer to the ‘supermarket tomato’.

Although written with an American audience in mind, this neat little book asks us to think differently about what we already have at hand and how the individual concerned about global warming can use such objects more effectively to help reduce personal carbon footprints.

Neither preachy, nor condemning, Sorensen’s conversational style is peppered with facts that are both thought provoking and illuminating and always interesting.

This optimistic little book helps readers, intimidated by the vast scale of global warming, take their first steps in a challenge facing us all.

Seven Wonders for a Cool Planet: Everyday Things to Help Solve Global Warming by Eric Sorensen and the staff of the SIGHTLINE INSTITUTE (Sierra Club Books, £6.99)

This article first appeared in the Ecologist October 2008


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