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Published: 2010

Book born from a light-bulb moment

Mary-Lou Considine

Why is Australia wasting so much energy? How does a carbon tax work? And what’s the secret to a healthier workplace? These are some of the questions answered in Screw light bulbs: Smarter ways to save Australians time and money, a new plain-English guide to climate change.

Screw light bulbs: Smarter ways to save Australians time and money
Donna Green & Liz Minchin
University of Western Australia (UWA) Publishing
2010, Paperback
ISBN: 9781742580685 – AU$32.95
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The authors, Donna Green and Liz Minchin, say the catalyst for the book was ‘a shared moment of light-bulb fatigue’. The fatigue came from reading – or, in the case of The Age journalist, Minchin, writing – one too many articles about how individuals could take action to help mitigate climate change, and realising that small steps such as changing light bulbs are not enough.

The book provides much useful information about climate change issues, such as consumption, energy use and transport. While the authors focus on big-picture solutions, they also suggest practical actions that everyone can take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These range from ‘buying less stuff’ to looking at where your superannuation is invested, and voting for politicians who promise stronger action on climate change.

The message is that climate change is just one of a series of interconnected problems, and we therefore need to stop treating the symptoms and causes – whether it is increasing traffic congestion, rising petrol prices, or inefficient building – in isolation.

In a very readable way, the authors expose the flaws in everything from Australia’s shelved Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme to the loopholes in our taxation system that provide incentives to increase carbon emissions.

The book contains many examples of people and places around the world that show how smarter thinking, proven technology and effective regulation can cut emissions without harming the economy. Germany’s booming solar industry, for example, shows how good business can also be good for the environment.

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