New Book Figures Out the Carbon Footprint of Everything Book: How Bad Are Bananas

How Bad Are Bananas looks into the carbon footprint of everything from toilet paper to being cremated.

Mike Berners-Lee, the founding director of Small World Consulting, looks into the carbon footprint of everything in his new book, How Bad Are Bananas.

The book is full of detailed charts and graphs that examine the greenhouse gasses emitted by a vast array of seemingly innocuous everyday activities and world-changing events. Calculations range from a slight 10 grams for sending a text message or drying your hands to the massive emissions embedded in the World Cup, data centers, and war, all of which weigh in around one million tons. There are some surprises—a paper bag has twice the footprint of a plastic one—and surprisingly nuanced discussions about the 80 grams that go into bananas and many other foods.

Above all, Berners-Lee excels at concisely contextualizing the deluge of data about toilet paper, red roses, kids, swimming pools, or space shuttles. Take the footprint above. Many carbon calculations focus exclusively on the elements seen in the toeprints. But if you're serious about picking the right battles for reducing your consumption, then How Bad Are Bananas certainly puts the right footprint forward.

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