How bad is climate change? What’s the best future source of energy? Why did media mogul Ted Turner and actor Ted Danson become activists?
Computers built to be disassembled, highway fences that collect solar energy or carpets that clean the air. These are examples of “upcycling” that American architect William McDonough says may help save the world.
In his optimistic new book, he and co-author Michael Braungart, a German chemist, see nearly endless possibilities for how forward-thinking design and cutting-edge technology can steadily improve products and solve today’s problems — except, perhaps, for climate change.
“This isn’t reversible. We can’t hit the brakes and turn around,” says McDonough, whose landmark 2002 book Cradle to Cradle encouraged the manufacture of products that can be reused. “I don’t see any quick fixes. We’ll have to live a long time with what we’ve done.”
In honor of Earth Day, USA TODAY selects 12 recent books on the environment that offer tales of adventure, innovative ideas and cogent analyses of lingering problems — whether climate change, toxic chemicals or ocean pollution. Some are sober stories of children suffering lead poisoning or coastal communities sinking into the sea. Others are more hopeful.
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