Money Talks

Contrary to what the recycled-sandal wing of the environmental movement might think, greening the world takes sacrifice, hard work, and a lot of cash. At least that's the impression you get from reading Edward Humes's Eco Barons: The Dreamers, Schemers, and Millionaires Who Are Saving Our Planet ($26, Ecco). Humes, a reporter for Los Angeles magazine with a Pulitzer to his credit, profiles a diverse slate of do-gooders, including familiar characters like Ted Turner and Esprit-founder-cum-Patagonia-savior Doug Tompkins. More interesting, though, are the chapters on Gen X firebrands like Kieran Suckling and Peter Galvin, whose Center for Biological Diversity has protected 350 imperiled species through almost 500 lawsuits. For diehard environmentalists, Eco Barons may seem like a retread of magazine profiles on green subjects from the last decade, but Humes's in-depth reporting makes the book stand as a solid portrait of the new face of American environmentalism. He does overlook one crusader, though: Auden Schendler, Aspen Skiing Company eco-czar turned debut author. Schendler's Getting Green Done ($27, Public Affairs) is a plea to move past lightbulbs and lip service and start the backbreaking work of rewiring our world. His book tells readers how to lure management onto the sustainability bandwagon (promise cash); spot the tricks reluctant contractors use to foil green building; and launch a melon 250 yards in the name of eco-solidarity. "We all need to be part of an army of foot soldiers … failing, learning, and moving forward, one bloody yard at a time," writes Schendler. "And then we must go to the bar and talk about our experiences, over beers." Now that's policy we can get behind.

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