9 November 2008 0 Comments

You Are Here: Environmental wake-up call from the Middle East to your front door

Thomas M. Kostigen begins his eye-opening new book on the world’s environmental challenges in the Middle East, where pollution and neglect are steadily destroying the ancient sites that are the foundation of the Abrahamic faiths. I’ve seen this with my own eyes (there’s a shocking crack in the retaining wall of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem big enough to climb through — if you were a bit more nimble than me and didn’t mind causing religious riots…) In “You Are Here: Exposing the Vital Link Between What We Do and What that Does to Our Planet” Kostigen travels from Borneo to Bombay (ok, Mumbai) on the trail of the trash and pollution that will be our bequest to future generations unless we heed some of the extremely practical advice he gives on energy and water saving (it isn’t just about not flushing when you pee). He brings it all home when he returns to his apartment in Santa Monica, California, and drives slowly behind a recycling truck, watching vast amounts of paper drop out of blue bins. (Read a newspaper for one year and you’ve consumed four trees, he notes. Does that make you want to recycle?) I live in Jerusalem, which recycles only a third as much of its waste as the average of Israeli cities, and Israeli cities aren’t exactly on the forefront of environmental issues. Wherever you live, Kostigen let’s you know how you and your town can do better. An inspiring read which succeeds in making an often technical subject into a moving mission statement for us all.

Kostigen’s website is www.readyouarehere.com.

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