Green Gone Wrong, by Heather Rogers

One glance at the title and another inside the book secured it a place under my hairy arm and a trip to the cash register. I’m one of these guys who thinks the only solution to our current environmental pickle is to cut back on resource use, period. I’ve always been skeptical about ‘green’ solutions provided by public corporations that really only care for their bottom line, so this book seemed right up my alley

The table of contents hits four big greened topics: Food, Shelter, Transportation and Carbon Offsets. (Why Carbon Offsets is under the chapter on Transportation, I don’t know.) She does a good job of pointing out inconsistencies between eco-products advertised and the not-so-eco-products delivered. (The story of the Coldplay carbon-offsetting mango plantation was as hilarious as it was criminally sad and ironic.) But I was a bit disappointed to find out the argumentative arc each chapter is, as the philosophes say, a posteriori rather than a priori.

Rather than take a stand from the beginning of the chapter and then deliver the results of her research, the author goes on a journey of discovery and then draws her conclusions based solely on what she found there. Apparently each locale is the fountainhead of all knowledge on the subject, for she leaves completely ignorant and arrives home fully enlightened. Think of the book as a series of bubble-popping travelogues, where the whole purpose of each chapter is to find a single worm in the apple basket. While the story is nicely written and fairly entertaining, the constant extrapolation from one example to all got the blood vessels on my forehead doing a booty dance.

Still, I enjoyed the book and I’m thankful someone’s taking the time to pull back the curtain on the Great Oz Show that is our corporate green culture. So if you’re a person who buys ‘organic’ believing your apples and carrots are made by happy hobbits in neoprene gloves, let this book wake you from your nap.