Eco Barons is a well-written, and profoundly moving collection of inter-linked real-life stories that is surprisingly dramatic and engaging in its concise chronicling of the lives of these heroes who are making it their life’s work to save the planet in their own outrageous, touching and sometimes idiosyncratic, but always genuine ways.
There are thousands of environmentalists and activists doing important work in America and around the world. But a few of them go farther—these dreamers, schemers, moguls, and coupon clippers; these eco barons. There are others out there, certainly, more all the time; this book is by no means an exhaustive list, but it is an inspiring selection. The eco barons depicted here stand out because they are game-changers, accomplishing something extraordinary, raising the bar of the possible, usually after being told that what they are attempting is impossible. They have undertaken an epic project: to set an example for the rest of us.
Their actions are their message: that there is a clear choice, a difficult choice, a right choice, and to make it is to express the faith that it is not too late to save the world—and that a new way of living can be better, healthier, smarter, and more prosperous.
The first and probably the most inspiring is the story of how the legendary Doug Tompkins, millionaire and the founder of Espirit, abandoned his sprawling fashion empire, found a rugged cabin in the middle of Eden (read Chile), and started saving and restoring paradise, one plot, one fence, and one tree at a time, conquering government antagonism, lobbyists and big industry that wanted to make concrete jungles out of these majestic old-growth forests.
The second story elaborates on two naturalists and lawyers who lived like monks and found a way to use the law to save forests, species, and clean air when no one else could.
Then is the techy tale of a professor and his students building magical cars that burn no gas and trying to redefine the doomsday trajectory plotted by Big Oil, Big Auto, Big Coal and the other leviathans and to set us on a new course. His cars are cleaner, cheaper, faster, more enduring, gives more mileage – how many more boxes do you want your dream car to tick?
Also, there is the story of a cosmetics queen who, like Doug, sold her empire and is spending her fortune to save the last great forests of Maine and having to fight every inch of the way to do it.
Not to be forgotten is the Media Mogul who gave us CNN and Cartoon Network and numerous other entertainments, who owns more land than anybody else in the country and is devoting his real estate might to trying so hard to return the land to its pristine state before humans arrived to despoil it, working step-by-step to re-wilding the lands and to reintroduce native species and to preserve a heritage fast vanishing.
Last, and seemingly the least, but still an eco-baron, is the “turtle lady” who walks along a beach inspecting turtles and single-handedly saved a species – As good a story as the traditional rags-to-riches story that makes for a newspaper headline? Shouldn’t it be?
These eco-barons see, clearly, that what we’re doing as a society is not working. Their response is not to shout about it, or lobby about it, or generate self-aggrandizing headlines about it. Their response is to do something about it, and their results have been spectacular.
Some Resources for the interested/concerned:
To Know more on the Eco-barons:
For the Internet supplement to this book, including photos of the eco barons and their projects, maps, background information, links to their individual Web sites, and more resources, visit http://ecobarons.wordpress.com.
For general environmental information, news, and advice:
Greenwash Brigade: www.publicradio.org/columns/sustainab….
The Sietch Blog: www.blog.thesietch.org.
Climate Debate Daily: Get all sides of the global warming debate at http://climatedebatedaily.com.
For advice on ‘living like an Eco-baron”:
Terrapass: Calculate your carbon footprint and find green products at www.terrapass.com.
Service trips: Earthwatch Institute and the Sierra Club maintain lists of volunteer vacations that put you to work on conservation and public lands projects.
Sierra Club: http://tioga.sierraclub.org/TripSearc….
Treehugger: This environmental Web site’s How to Go Green guide offers tips on green home buying, green dishwashers, green gift buying, greening your sex life, and more at www.treehugger.com/gogreen.php.
On “driving like an Eco-baron”
Plug In America: www.pluginamerica.com
Drive Green: Calculate and offset the greenhouse gas emissions for your travel at www.drivegreen.com.
On “eating like an Eco-baron”
Green Daily Green Eating Guide: www.greendaily.com/2008/02/07/eating-….
Sustainable Table: Another excellent resource for local and sustainable food is www.sustainabletable.org.
- Trash-eating Turtles Dying in Record Numbers: Earthwatch Presents First-Ever Award to Further Research (prweb.com)
- EPA bureaucrat who likened his role to crucifying industry is hired by Sierra Club (americanthinker.com)
- Sierra Club Posts Its Latest Listing Of Top Green Schools (earthtechling.com)
- Two Huge Endorsements for Jefferson Smith: Sierra Club, Mother PAC (blueoregon.com)
- The Healthy House Institute (HHI) and Sierra Club Green Home (SCGH) – Helping Consumers Find Greener Products and Services (prweb.com)
- Eco-Fashion Tip #2 – Mend For Memories (theurbn.com)
- Blog-Off #3: The Limitations of Going Green (elocal.com)
- How to Be an Eco-Conscious, Totally Gorgeous Bride (fabsugar.com)
- Five Eco-Friendly Products For Scoring a Fresh Makeup Look (bellasugar.com)
- Fab Gift Guide: The Stylin’ Eco Babe (fabsugar.com)