I enjoyed this book for a lot of reasons:
Structurally, Foer’s writing style is simplistic and engaging. There were sections I skipped (for the sake of time) but everything else that I did read had me nodding my head and truly eager to read the next bit. For a book like this it’s extremely important that he is able to covey what he is saying in the plainest way possible. This is a science book geared toward the general public, not scientists, and I think that Foer bridged the gap between the two parties quite well. Too often people shy away from scientific readings because they are too confusing and too hard and instead get misinformation from bad web articles, but Foer seamlessly wove a myriad of scientific articles and facts into his book, making it so simple for a reader to understand.
Content wise, Foer included so many facts, perspectives, stories, and consequences revolving around meat and factory farming that it was hard not to enjoy. He ponders a lot of thoughtful ideas and provokes his readers to question not only our own consumption and what it means for us but what our consumption means for all factory farmed animals, what it means for the environment, for our families and children, and for people all around the world. He focused a lot on animal cruelty but included many other aspects of factory farming. This is just a reminder that there are many perspectives to think about when considering any topic and to always keep an open mind to new ideas. Eating animals is a messy and complicated topic, which might be why people choose not to think deeply or morally about it or consider its ramifications or solutions.
In conclusion, I admire the way Foer stayed relatively objective. He presented the facts, but he never shamed anyone for their habits nor did he hold himself up on a pedestal. In the beginning I wasn’t sure if Foer was going to turn out to be a vegetarian because he swung back and forth so often (like so many people do). He understands that perfection isn’t easily obtained because he himself was inconsistent for so long, and that’s okay. Foer finally made a commitment (good for him) after years of researching and investigating. Personally, I don’t think that everyone needs to become vegetarian or vegan, but people should be conscientious about their consumption and eat less of those items (not 21,000 animals in a lifetime). If the demand lessens, then coming up with a solution to the issues of factory farming would be far easier.
A 2012 study by the U.S. Department of Energy predicts that solar could reach 1-3.8 million homes by 2020 but currently less than 1 percent of U.S. households have gone solar. In order to entice homeowners to install photovoltaic systems Sistine Solar, a company founded at the MIT Sloan School of Management, creates custom solar panels designed to mimic home facades and other environments. Sistine’s novel technology, SolarSkin, is a layer that can be imprinted with any image and embedded into a solar panel without interfering with its efficacy. Homeowners can match their rooftop or a grassy lawn, businesses can fit their panels with logos and advertisements, even a country’s flag can be embedded in the panels. The SolarSkin systems cost about 10 percent more than traditional panels but can save over $30,000 over the systems lifetime.
SolarSkin words by employing selective light filtration to display an image while still transmitting light to the underlying solar cells. The ad wraps displayed on bus windows offer a good analogy: The wraps reflect some light to display an image, while allowing the remaining light through so passengers inside the bus can see out; SolarSkin achieves a similar effect. This technology allows for more creative/imaginative uses of solar and putting it in places know one might have thought of before—municipalities could install light-powering panels on highways that blend in with nature, companies could create business signs out of them, panels with changeable advertisements could be placed at bus shelters to charge cell phones, information kiosks, and other devices. The possibilities stretch as far as one’s imagination.
If you want to know more, go to MIT’s website!