Friedman defines the terms used in his essay in easy-to-understand, layman’s language. When he talks about living in a “greener fashion,” he defines it as a lifestyle based on “cleaner electrons, greater energy and resource productivity, and an ethic of conservation” (Friedman, 1). On a simpler level, he clearly elucidates the word ‘ecosystem’: “our forests, rivers, savannahs, oceans, and the cornucopia of plant and animal species they contain” (4).
Friedman presents a very accurate picture of prevalent assumptions about saving the earth. The vast majority of people who are concerned about environmental degradation and climate warming assume that simple consumer choices, if made by everyone, are sufficient to make the difference, and reverse the damage. This is evident in the present attitudes towards the issue: environmentally conscious people recycle, use low energy light bulbs and opt for fuel-efficient cars.
Freidman’s argument that saving the earth is not easy is presented in logical steps. He first lists the easy steps that are advocated; he then points out that these are largely symbolic in nature; Maniates well-written argument is used to emphasize the need for difficult, long-term action; the difficulty of controlling energy use is finally explained. The writer effectively demolishes the myth that being green is easy.
Thomas Friedman is the foreign affairs columnist for The New York Times. He is the multiple Pulitzer winning author of several books and bestsellers. Friedman’s essay, “205 Easy Ways to Save the Earth,” is a chapter taken from his 2008 book, “Hot, Flat & Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution - and How it can Renew America,” which stresses the need to combat climate change and environmental degradation.
Friedman’s purpose in this passage is to make it clear that saving the earth is not an easy task. He agrees that increasing