Monday, September 1, 2008

Monday's Green Books: On Empty by Bill Roth (and a copy giveaway)

On Empty (Out of Time) is an energy industry veteran's take on the current sorry state of affairs of the US American dependence on oil imports, and the impending economic and ecological crises stemming from man made global warming.

As such, it joins the ranks of similarly billed books such as Washington state congressman Jay Inslee's Apollo's Fire: Igniting America's Clean Energy Economy, and Environmental Defense Fund founder Fred Krupp's Earth: The Sequel (previously featured in our green books series).

Krupp's work brought to life the alternative energy technological sector with a focus on the exciting soap operatic world of cleantech start-ups and investors, while Inslee focused on political leadership and vision. Roth's approach is different. First of all he brings to the table a solid background in the energy sector, with a career that included posts such as senior VP of marketing and sales with PG&E Energy Services, COO of Texaco Ovonics Hydrogen Solutions and president of Cleantech America, a developer of solar power plants.

Yes, Roth ( is a corporate America insider and a reluctant environmentalist, whose resistances had to be overcome. These resistances fell away when they were faced with hard scientific and economic facts, and Roth now believes that global warming is here, was created by human activity, and that something can be done about it. As such, he is well worth listening to.

Numbers are something you will not be able to ignore when reading this book. Roth likes to explain the economics and goes as far as defining basic principles to the uninitiated reader, such as supply & demand, income effect, price elasticity and so on. Once he has given you the basics he begins to demonstrate each of his points with figures, facts and explanations.

Here is one of my favorites:

FACT: There is a national debate on whether our country should drill for oil in the Alaska Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The motivation to do so is based upon estimates that this area contains 4.3 to 11 billion barrels of oil... This monster-sized oil deposit only equals between 1 to 2 years of out annual imports of oil. It would only fulfill about THREE MONTHS of the world's current annual oil demands of 85 to 90 billion barrels.(p.33)

This drives home quite clearly the futility of extra drilling as any form of real solution to the energy crisis, and the frivolous way in which drilling advocates are willing to condemn the Arctics to ruination for a relatively insignificant return.

An interesting position Roth holds is in that which is in favor of renewed national interest in nuclear energy. According to Roth (p. 101), “The U.S history of nuclear-fueled electricity is an unqualified success from a consumer and environmental perspective”. He then goes on to list some facts which are sometimes quite hard to accept.

The first is that there are “no fatalities tied to nuclear power plant operations”. Having reviewed here recently Kelly McMaster's Welcome to Shirley, a memoir from a town adjacent to a nuclear research facility in Long Island, I will have to take this assertion with a grain of salt.

Another point which he makes, writing that “nuclear waste has been safely contained”, is in contrast to many views, such as Krupp's assessment of nuclear power in Earth: The Sequel. Such public debate can only benefit us and help direct research agendas and funds. I can only hope that there will be more open and widespread discussion on these topics.

Finally, Roth presents his own agenda and big solutions to the crisis at the end of the book, but I am not going to list it all here. He builds up his case over time, and it is really imperative to digest some of the economics and numbers in order to get where he's going with it and why. So I'll just say that some of his ideas are very interesting, feasible, and yet quite radical in today's political climate. But who knows, maybe next year we'll see it all take place.

Bill Roth is working with Eco-Libris to green up the book. A tree will be planted for every copy sold of the book. Buyers will also receive our sticker with their book, saying "One tree planted for this book".

Book's name: On Empty (Out of Time)

Author: Bill Roth

Publisher: Self Published (2008)

Pages: 204


We will be giving away the review copy of the book. It also comes with a tree that will be planted for it with Eco-Libris and you will also recieve our "One tree planted for this book" sticker.

How you can win? please add a comment below about your thoughts on nuclear energy and whether you are in favor of wider use of this option or not. Submissions are accepted until Saturday, September 6, 12PM EST. The winner will be announced the following day.


Eylon @ Eco-Libris

Plant a Tree for Every Book you Read!

The White Road and other Stories – A Short Stories Collection is Going Green

Congratulations to British-Israeli author Tania Hershman, whose first book, The White Road and other Stories, published by UK's renowned Salt Publishing, is finally going into the stores today, September 1 2008.

Hershman contacted us last year in order to make her upcoming collection of short stories more sustainable by planting a tree with Eco-Libris for every copy printed. We were happy to oblige, and been following the publication process ever since.

Born in London in 1970, she moved to Jerusalem, Israel, in 1994. Her background as a science journalist of 14 years, writing for publications such as WIRED, NewScientist and others, gave are a scientific grounding in writing several “science-based” stories.

Hershman's tenacious focus on short stories is fascinating. Whereas many readers and authors think of short stories as only a stepping stone for the fledgling author on the way to their first novel, Hershman and others believe it to be an exalted genre of its own. She even launched The Short Review, a website dedicated to the reviewing of short story collections.

A subset of her interest in short stories manifests itself in her flash fiction. These are short shorts of 1000 words or much much less. Think of it as haiku fiction if you will, where every word should be worth its metaphorical weight in gold.

Curious? Good! Support this green author and get your own copy here, or ask your local independent bookstore to grace its shelves with some copies. I can't wait to get my mine, so expect a review and updates on readings and other events pretty soon.

Eylon @ Eco-Libris

Plant a Tree for Every Book you Read!

Related blog posts:

BlogHer's first book "Sleep is for the Weak" is going green with Eco-Libris

"Of Parrots and People", a new book of author Mira Tweti, endorses Eco-Libris

Are we out of time? Author Bill Roth is answering in a new book and collaborating with Eco-Libris!