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This book offers the hidden story behind all our everyday things, revealing the cost of well-meaning but muddle-headed thinking.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Ever wondered if declaring support for fair-trade and then chucking Kenyan beans from your shopping trolley to reduce food miles really added up? Or whether the women in Bangladeshi sweatshops really want you to stop buying the clothes from their sewing machines? Or how the system works when you dump stuff but never buy from a charity shop?

While none of us should stop trying, it was never easy being green. Mindful of his footprint, Fred goes in search of the source of the cotton in his shirt, the prawns in his curry and the people who grew, mined or made all his stuff in an attempt to discover the true story behind our everyday things. This compelling story of his travels moves green thinking on to a new, more sophisticated plane.


Pearce shows us how our greed, and our wilful blindness, are ruining the world in faraway places . . . An excellent book.


Sometimes frightening, always enlightening, it will teach you more about other people's lives than you ever thought possible.

New Scientist

Beguiling . . . honest and revealing . . . optimistic . . . A big book for big problems.

Country Living

Follow in his global footprints as you read this compelling, thoughtful, provocative and utterly fascinating book.

CHOICE magazine

[Pearce] makes a strong case that the well-meaning Joe Publics of the world really do need someone to tell it like it is, in language they can understand and with the vital statistics intelligible to all. Essential reading.

New Agriculturist

This is a splendid book and will do much good to counteract the comfortable hypocrisy of urban and suburban greens who pretend to 'save the earth' while carrying on business as usual. Fred Pearce goes out and sees the world as well as thinking and writing about it; he is one of the few that understand the Earth as it really is and we must listen to him.

James Lovelock, author of THE REVENGE OF GAIA

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Formats & editions

  • EBook


    September 1, 2010

    Transworld Digital

    400 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle AU
    • iBooks
    • Google Play EBook AU
    • Kobo Ebook
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    • eBooks
  • Paperback


    March 2, 2009

    Eden Project Books

    400 pages

    RRP $22.99

    Online retailers

    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
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    • Abbey's Bookshop
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    • Collins Booksellers
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    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    • The Nile

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

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