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In Junkyard Planet, Adam Minter-veteran journalist and son of an American junkyard owner-travels deeply into a vast, often hidden, 500-billion-dollar industry that's transforming our economy and environment.
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How can garbage turn into gold? What does recycling have to do with globalization? Where does all that stuff we throw away go, anyway? When you drop your Diet Coke can or yesterday's newspaper in the recycling bin, where does it go? Probably halfway around the world, to people and places that clean up what you don't want and turn it into something you can't wait to buy. In Junkyard Planet, Adam Minter-veteran journalist and son of an American junkyard owner-travels deeply into a vast, often hidden, 500-billion-dollar industry that's transforming our economy and environment.Minter takes us from back-alley Chinese computer recycling operations to recycling factories capable of processing a jumbo jet's worth of trash every day. Along the way, we meet an international cast of characters who have figured out how to squeeze Silicon Valley-scale fortunes from what we all throw away. Junkyard Planet reveals how "going green?? usually means making money-and why that's often the most sustainable choice, even when the recycling methods aren't pretty.With unmatched access to and insight on the waste industry, and the explanatory gifts and an eye for detail worthy of a John McPhee or William Langewiesche, Minter traces the export of America's garbage and the massive profits that China and other rising nations earn from it. What emerges is an engaging, colorful, and sometimes troubling tale of how the way we consume and discard stuff brings home the ascent of a developing world that recognizes value where Americans don't. Junkyard Planet reveals that Americans might need to learn a smarter way to take out the trash.
Provides alternative solutions to such global problems as population control, emerging water shortages, eroding soil, and global warming, outlining a detailed survival strategy for the civilization of the future.
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"How to build a more just world and save the planet....We should all heed Brown's advice."—Bill Clinton In this updated edition of the landmark Plan B, Lester Brown outlines a survival strategy for our early twenty-first-century civilization. The world faces many environmental trends of disruption and decline, including rising temperatures and spreading water shortage. In addition to these looming threats, we face the peaking of oil, annual population growth of 70 million, a widening global economic divide, and a growing list of failing states. The scale and complexity of issues facing our fast-forward world have no precedent With Plan A, business as usual, we have neglected these issues overly long. In Plan B 3.0, Lester R. Brown warns that the only effective response now is a World War II-type mobilization like that in the United States after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The child of an alcoholic father and an eccentric artist mother discusses her family's nomadic upbringing, during which she and her siblings fended for themselves while their parents outmaneuvered bill collectors and the authorities.
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Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly. Rose Mary, who painted and wrote and couldn't stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an "excitement addict." Cooking a meal that would be consumed in fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever. Later, when the money ran out, or the romance of the wandering life faded, the Walls retreated to the dismal West Virginia mining town -- and the family -- Rex Walls had done everything he could to escape. He drank. He stole the grocery money and disappeared for days. As the dysfunction of the family escalated, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents' betrayals and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home. What is so astonishing about Jeannette Walls is not just that she had the guts and tenacity and intelligence to get out, but that she describes her parents with such deep affection and generosity. Hers is a story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms. For two decades, Jeannette Walls hid her roots. Now she tells her own story. A regular contributor to MSNBC.com, she lives in New York and Long Island and is married to the writer John Taylor.