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Looking after the environment should be a no-brainer. No one wants to destroy the world. Yet at every turn we fail to take the essential steps to prevent the destruction of our planet - or we are deceived, often by ourselves.

So why can’t the experts agree? Why do polls tell lies? Why is fairtrade unfair? Why is so much green rhetoric a response to scares rather than green issues? And why do we fail to balance reward and risk?

Taking the scalpel of ecologic - sound reasoning, economics and human psychology - to everything from carbon trading to organic food to charity fundraisers, Brian Clegg opens up the reality beneath the layers of confusion and manipulation to expose what is truly green, and what is simply greenwash.

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Enter the name for this tabbed section: Reviews


This book crackles. Every paragraph pits your heart against your head. Those with green sensibilities and a nervous disposition may have a cardiac arrest. But the rest of us will have our synapses set alight.

Ecologic is a dull title for a barrage of buckshot about our seemingly doomed efforts to understand various environmental perils - real and imagined. 'Eco-bogeymen and how to fight them' might have been better.

Clegg's argument is that we worry far too much about things that sound scary, like Frankenstein foods and radiation, and far too little about things that don't, like carbon. And even when we do worry about carbon, we get our knickers in an unnecessary twist over carbon-neutrality, carbon offsets, biofuels, air miles.

But Clegg is there to untwist our knickers. And mostly he gets his targets right. He rails at 'MMR madness' and has the notorious Channel 4 programme The Great Global Warming Swindle bang to rights as an intellectual swindle itself.

He is intelligent on fair trade and the "muck and mysticism" of organic farming and understanding about our unfortunate confusion over biodegradables. You hadn't heard? As things biodegrade (good) they give off carbon dioxide in the process (bad).

A cracking read for anyone who cares about both their environmental footprint and their sanity in a world being flooded with greenwash and gobbledegook. (5 stars out of 5) - Fred Pearce, BBC FOCUS Magazine

Subtitled "The Truth and Lies of Green Economics", this is a rational, nuanced analysis of green issues, using what Brian Clegg calls "ecologic" (a combination of economics, psychology, risk assessment and clear reasoning) to separate the facts from the myths and the sober fears from the irrational panics.

Green supporters will enjoy his merciless dissection of the feeble arguments used to promote the third runway at Heathrow, but they're likely to recoil in horror from some of his suggestions. Clegg argues that nuclear power, far from being the bogeyman feared by many, could be an essential stepping stone until we have developed cleaner energy sources; that the "organic" label doesn't always mean that a product is green; that the (relatively few) experts who are sceptical about man-made climate change should not be demonised, but that their arguments taken seriously and answered.

It is a provocative book, but Clegg is realistic both about what's necessary and what's achievable. (4 stars) Brandon Robshaw, Independent on Sunday

And when you get home... Once you’ve read the Standard: THE BOOK. Ecologic - Brian Clegg is a popular science writer who sets out to clarify what’s right and what’s not in the endlessly growing debate about how we should be greener. No point in buying eco-friendly loo paper if you’re always updating your mobile... - Katie Law, Evening Standard

How did the universe begin? Today, most scientists believe it was with the "Big Bang". Until the 1960s, however, another theory competed for prominence. "Steady state" theory posited that the universe had no beginning or end, and that matter was constantly being created. One of its originators was the British astrophysicist Fred Hoyle. It was Hoyle who coined the term Big Bang: intended as a sarcastic put-down, the name stuck and the theory gained credence over its rival.

In Ecologic, Brian Clegg contrasts Hoyle's treatment with that of another dissenting scientist, Dr David Bellamy, who does not believe that climate change is being caused by humans. Yet while Hoyle's views were criticised respectfully, Bellamy has been attacked as a "climate change denier", which seems to put him on a par in some minds with those who deny the Holocaust. Clegg's point is not whether Bellamy is right, but that his vicious treatment by environmentalists "is based on fear and publicity rather than on... scientific analysis". - Paul Kingsnorth, The Independent
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