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Book Review: Edward Humes’ Eco Barons

In his newest book, “Eco Barons: The Dreamers, Schemers, and Millionaires Who Are Saving Our Planet,” Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and nonfiction author Edward Humes recounts inspiring tales of individual efforts to preserve and protect the earth.

Meet Doug Tompkins, former CEO and founder of Esprit. The first eco baron in Humes’ book, Tompkins is a millionaire who has spent his fortune trying to turn the last bit of untouched Chilean Patagonia into a national park. Or take widow Carol Allen. Hardly a millionaire, she simply has a big heart and the courage to take on the Texas Gulf Coast shrimping industry in order to protect endangered sea turtles. These are just two examples of Humes’ new class of barons, who mimic the robber barons of the past in sheer determination and ability to overcome obstacles.

Unlike their predecessors the eco barons focus their tremendous abilities on environmental endeavors that are of benefit today and for generations to come.

Eco Barons is an uplifting and cautionary tale of the battle against climate change. It will have you quickly turning pages, rooting the eco barons on as they take on the government, big industry and general public ignorance in their endeavors to preserve and protect the environment, and as they try to help humans recognize the intrinsic importance of diversity in the natural world.

Humes’ story comes at a time when most of the literature surrounding climate change is bleak and overwhelming. Eco Barons however, takes the backdrop of a world in a climate crisis, and offers a rare vision of hope. There is still time and there are methods and means to undo the damage to the planet before the damage is irreversible. According to Hume’s and his eco barons it is no longer a question of *can* we successfully fight climate change, but one of *will* we?

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