How Bad Are Bananas? The Carbon Footprint of Everything


Published:

Mike Berners-Lee
How Bad Are Bananas? The Carbon Footprint of Everything
Greystone Books, Berkeley, CA. 2011

"Paper or plastic?" Of course the correct answer is "neither." But on the (hopefully rare) occasions you find yourself without your personal shopping bag, what is the best response for the eco-conscious consumer? Organic food is always better, or is it?

In How Bad Are Bananas? The Carbon Footprint of Everything, climate-change expert Berners-Lee unpacks the wide-spread confusion around the carbon footprint of food purchasing and nearly one hundred other items. His mission is to create a sense of "carbon awareness," so for every lifestyle choice you make you will have at least a reasonable guesstimate of the carbon impact of that decision and where the impact comes from.

Just what is a carbon footprint anyway? It breaks down like this; carbon is all the different global warming greenhouse gases (global warming meaning human-caused climate change) and footprint is the total impact something has. So the carbon imprint is the full impact an activity, lifestyle, company or country has on the planet.

What's the carbon impact of a cup of tea? A roll of toilet paper? A text message? The World Cup? Engaging and solidly researched, How Bad Are Bananas considers everything from birth to death (literally, the carbon impact of both having a child and being cremated are included). It makes three basic assumptions: climate change is a big deal; it's caused by humans; and we can do something about it. While Earth's seven billion people combined obviously make an enormous footprint, understanding where carbon impact comes from can help you cut your carbon portion by a decent amount.

You need to pick your battles though, and keep things in perspective. If you're stressing over choosing to dry your hands with an electric-hand dryer or to use a paper towel, but doing it from an airport restroom before you board a trans-Atlantic flight, you might just be distracting yourself from exactly how much carbon is at stake with your transportation choices.

Similarly, if you're making the great low-carbon activity choice of cycling one mile to work, but pumping that bike by fueling your body with food that has been flown by air from across the globe, you're carbon impact goes way up. (Carbon impact-wise, you'd be better off driving a Hummer!) Two people cycling a mile on cheeseburger power have about the same footprint as commuting together in an efficient car.

So it really is all about choices, and knowing the total impact of those choices. For food choices, consider things such as farming method, transportation, packaging, refrigeration and one of the worst offenders, food waste. So how bad are bananas? Actually, they're pretty good. The only bad banana is the one you let rot. (p.s. Paper or plastic? Pick plastic.)

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March 2017

March 18 - 19, 2017 Deepen your understanding, practice and enjoyment of the complete system of Reiki. A two-day training facilitated by Lou Orsan, Reiki Shihan (master teacher)...

Cost: $225

Where:
Northeast Reiki Center
61 Nicholas Road, Suite B2
Framingham, MA  01701
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Sponsor: Northeast Reiki Center
Telephone: 508-808-5696
Contact Name: Lou Orsan
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Small bite of the Big Apple! Museums and walking tours Empire State Building and Central Park Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Circle Line boat tour 4 nights hotel double occupancy, 4...

Cost: $1475

Where:
Holiday Inn Manhattan Sixth Avenue
New York, NY


Sponsor: Veg Jaunts and Journeys
Telephone: 774-269-6558
Contact Name: Kim Giovacco
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January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
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Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
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Our outer world is a reflection of what lies within our collective inner worlds. By directing our thoughts in specific, positive ways, we have the potential to guide the world towards...

Cost: Free of charge as a community service. Contributions welcome.

Where:
Inner Space Meditation Center and Gallery
1110 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA
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Telephone: 617–547–1110
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Take your knowledge to the next level and become a Holistic Professional facilitating treatments with clients and/or teaching. Eight month program assists you in stepping into mastery utilizing...

Cost: $1199 (Early Bird by 09/01/16 is $1099)

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
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Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
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Hatha yoga classes are held on Sunday mornings from 10 - 11 am in the Function Room at the Village at Waterman Lake. These classes are mixed levels and open to the public. Please register at...

Cost: $12

Where:
Village at Waterman Lake
715 Putnam Pike
Greenville, RI  02828
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Sponsor: The Yoga Workshop
Telephone: 401-261-1060
Contact Name: Barbara Fetta
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Sunday Reiki treatments with Reiki master and practitioner Linda Simons in Brookline, MA. Start your week off on a more balanced note with a Reiki treatment on a Sunday afternoon. Please join me...

Cost: Sliding Scale $20-$40

Where:
233 Harvard Street
Suite 36
Brookline, MA  02446
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Telephone: 617-304-2205
Contact Name: LInda Simons
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Prayer for Peace — Lao-Tse If there is to be peace in the world, There must be peace in the nations. If there is to be peace in the nations, There must be peace in the cities. If...

Cost: Donation / heart offering

Where:
HeartSong Spiritual Wellness
23 Pine Street
Milford, MA  01757
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Sponsor: HeartSong Spiritual Wellness Center
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Small bite of the Big Apple! Museums and walking tours Empire State Building and Central Park Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Circle Line boat tour 4 nights hotel double occupancy, 4...

Cost: $1475

Where:
Holiday Inn Manhattan Sixth Avenue
New York, NY


Sponsor: Veg Jaunts and Journeys
Telephone: 774-269-6558
Contact Name: Kim Giovacco
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January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
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Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
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Cost: Free

Where:
Cambridge Innovation Center
1 Broadway
Cambridge, MA  02142
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Sponsor: TeddycanHeal.Com
Telephone: 617-395-8864
Contact Name: Ray
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Are you interested in bringing your writing to the next level? ​Do you want to join a strong, respectful community of poets and creative nonfiction writers? In this intimate, rigorous...

Cost: $480

Where:
private home
Cedar St
Cambridge, MA  02140
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Sponsor: Nadia Colburn
Telephone: 617-785-6627
Contact Name: Nadia Colburn
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Start your week on a positive note! Each Monday, we will come together to discuss meditation techniques followed by the opportunity to put those techniques into practice with a goal of developing a...

Cost: $10

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
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Telephone: 508-230-3680
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Small bite of the Big Apple! Museums and walking tours Empire State Building and Central Park Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Circle Line boat tour 4 nights hotel double occupancy, 4...

Cost: $1475

Where:
Holiday Inn Manhattan Sixth Avenue
New York, NY


Sponsor: Veg Jaunts and Journeys
Telephone: 774-269-6558
Contact Name: Kim Giovacco
Website »

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January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
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Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
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March 21 - 26, 2017 Throughout this functional anatomy training, participants will experience the therapeutic power of yoga as Sherry leads them through the structural forms of the moving body...

Where:
Yoga At The Ashram
368 Village Street
Millis, MA  02054
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Sponsor: Yoga at the Ashram
Telephone: 508-376-4525
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ONE-OF-A-KIND, LIFE CHANGING HOLISTIC HEALTH EDUCATION PROGRAM BEING OFFERED FREE OF CHARGE Local business owner creates groundbreaking mind-body-spirit instruction to combat obesity epidemic...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wilbraham Senior Center (Sponsored by Harmony Way)
45 Post Office Park
#4502
Wilbraham, MA  01095
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Sponsor: Harmony Way
Telephone: 413-636-2475
Contact Name: Michelle Caron, RMT, CYT, ZIN
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The ancient tradition of Reiki (“ray-key”) is used to channel universal life force energy through practitioners to those in need of healing for physical, emotional, mental and spiritual...

Cost: Donation

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
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Telephone: 508-230-3680
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January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
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Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
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Weekly yoga classes with Rev. Michelle Caron, RMT, CYT, ZIN of Harmony Way on Wednesdays at 12:15 PM and Fridays at 9:30 AM at the Wilbraham Senior Center. Class welcomes all ages and uses a...

Cost: $5

Where:
Wilbraham Senior Center
45 Post Office Park, #4502
Wilbraham, MA  01095
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Sponsor: Harmony Way
Telephone: 413-636-2475
Contact Name: Rev. Michelle Caron, RMT, CYT, ZIN
Website »

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January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
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Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

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Nancy's therapeutic and healing nature stems from her own personal journey through health struggles. Her style is open to everyone, no matter physical or mental challenges, or age....

Cost: $15 drop in or $12 with 10 class bundle

Where:
HeartSong Spiritual Wellness
23 Pine Street
Milford, MA  01757
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Sponsor: HeartSong Spiritual Wellness Center
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Cost: Free

Where:
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Cost: $98 for 7 week session. Pre-registration required.

Where:
SOHUM Yoga and Meditation Studio
30 Lyman Street
Suite 108B
Westborough, MA  01581
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Telephone: 508-329-3338
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Cost: Free

Where:
First Church Unitarian
19 Foster Street
Littleton, MA  01460
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Sponsor: FCU Adult Enrichment
Telephone: 978-263-7092
Contact Name: Cerridwen
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January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

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March 24 - 26 Relax, rejuvenate and renew at the Royal Plaza Hotel in Marlborough with Bhavna Srivastava, healer and teacher using the golden light to bring peace and love everywhere. Experience...

Where:
Royal Plaza Hotel
181 Boston Post Rd W
Marlborough, MA  01752
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Weekly yoga classes with Rev. Michelle Caron, RMT, CYT, ZIN of Harmony Way on Wednesdays at 12:15 PM and Fridays at 9:30 AM at the Wilbraham Senior Center. Class welcomes all ages and uses a...

Cost: $5

Where:
Wilbraham Senior Center
45 Post Office Park, #4502
Wilbraham, MA  01095
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Sponsor: Harmony Way
Telephone: 413-636-2475
Contact Name: Rev. Michelle Caron, RMT, CYT, ZIN
Website »

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January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

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Combining yoga, meditation and SoulCollage® you’ll connect to your inner presence. From this state of heightened awareness you’ll let your intuition guide you in repurposing...

Cost: $45

Where:
Tai Chi Acupuncture and Wellness Center
7 Bow Street, Suite 1
Reading, MA  01864
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Sponsor: Tai Chi Acupuncture and Wellness Center
Telephone: 978-276-3008
Contact Name: Sat Dhyan Kaur
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A global phenomenon that has wowed audiences for over 40 years, Jesus Christ Superstar is a timeless musical set against the backdrop of an extraordinary and universally known series of events. A...

Cost: $75

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge
Ridgefield , CT  06877
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Telephone: 203-438-5795
Website »

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Does your relationship need some love-ing care lately? Have you been feeling like there's just no time to really connect? So many other priorities and you haven't put your...

Cost: $60

Where:
Yoga Depot
17 Depot Square
Lexington, MA  02421
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Sponsor: Come Back to Love, Inc.
Telephone: 508-380-9254
Contact Name: Robyn Vogel
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Psychic medium, Maureen Kayata will start the night off talking about her book and how she got into mediumship. You will love her soft demeanor, her accurate detailed messages from the other side,...

Cost: $35 advanced purchase; $40 at door

Where:
HeartSong Spiritual Wellness
23 Pine Street
Milford, MA  01757
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Sponsor: HeartSong Spiritual Wellness Center
Website »

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A global phenomenon that has wowed audiences for over 40 years, Jesus Christ Superstar is a timeless musical set against the backdrop of an extraordinary and universally known series of events. A...

Cost: $75

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge
Ridgefield , CT  06877
View map »


Telephone: 203-438-5795
Website »

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Reiki Master Teacher Libby Barnett, M.S.W., integrates her healing skills with past experience as a medical social worker at Massachusetts General Hospital. 38 years experience Reiki Energy...

Where:
Concord, MA


Telephone: 603-654-2787
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Presented By The Connecticut Valley Mineral Club March 25th & 26th, 2017 Saturday 9:30 to 5 Sunday 10 to 4 Featuring minerals, crystals, jewelry, fossils, mineral art, gems and lapidary...

Cost: $5 - 12 and under free with adult

Where:
Hadley Farms Meeting House
41 Russell St, Route 9 in Hadley
The Hampton Village Barn Shops
Hadley, MA  01035
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Sponsor: Connecticut Valley Mineral Club
Telephone: 413-527-4017
Contact Name: Robert Colby
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March 25 - 26 Immersion in the plant world with foraging, deep botany and ecology, and the alchemy of cooking with medicinal plants. Advanced intensives on stress and the neuro-endocrine...

Where:
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Sponsor: Boston School of Herbal Studies
Telephone: 781-646-6319
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Come find out why doctors recommend tai chi as a perfect supplement to other lifestyle recommendations. This centuries-old practice works on balance, strength, and agility in a way that no other...

Cost: $15 drop in or $12 with 10 class bundle

Where:
HeartSong Spiritual Wellness
23 Pine Street
Milford, MA  01757
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Sponsor: HeartSong Spiritual Wellness Center
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