Press Kit

Green Illusions Cover

Cover | 900×1350


Ozzie Zehner | 800 | HighRes


Ozzie Zehner | 500 | 940


Solar system challenges 500 | 1056 | The J. F. Williams Federal Building in Boston was one of the earliest Million Solar Roofs sites and the largest building-integrated array on the East Coast. As with most integrated systems, the solar cells do not align with the sun, greatly reducing their performance. In 2001 technicians replaced the entire array after a system malfunction involving electrical arcing, water infiltration, and broken glass. The new array has experienced system-wide aging degradation as well as localized corrosion, delamination, water infiltration, and sudden module failures.  (Photo by Roman Piaskoski, courtesy of the U.S. Department of Energy)


In the wake of Chernobyl | 500 | Radioactive bumper cars lie silent in the abandoned city of Priypat near the Chernobyl reactor. (Photograph courtesy of Justin Stahlman)


Prioritizing bicycle traffic | 500 | This Amsterdam street prioritizes bicycle and pedestrian traffic. Retractable barriers allow emergency and delivery vehicle access. (Photograph courtesy of Jvhertum)

“There is no obvious competing or comparable book. . . . Green Illusions has the same potential to sound a wake-up call in the energy arena as was observed with Silent Spring in the environment, and Fast Food Nation in the food system.” - Charles Francis, former director of the Center for Sustainable Agriculture Systems at the University of Nebraska

In Short: Ozzie Zehner is a visiting scholar at Northwestern University and the author of Green Illusions. He has spoken critically, yet constructively, on energy and environmental segments by CNN, PBS, CBC, BBC, public radio, and numerous print sources including The Sunday Times, The Washington Post and Christian Science Monitor. Ozzie can explain:

  • The unseen harms of solar cells
  • Why future environmentalists will resist electric cars and hybrids
  • Why wind power doesn’t offset fossil fuel use in the United States
  • What’s better than a carbon tax
  • …and more (see below)

Green Illusions was a Top-20 Nonfiction pick for 2012 in the Goodreads Reader’s Choice Awards, marking the first time that an academic press publication has made the list.

Publication Date: June 1, 2012

Author: Ozzie Zehner, Northwestern University visiting scholar | bio | media appearances | publications | twitter

Binding: PB-Trade

ISBN-13: 978-0-8032-3775-9

Details: $29.95 | 464 pages | 6×9 inches | Non-profit (all royalties go to first steps in book)

SynopsisGreen Illusions delivers a critique of green technologies from an environmental perspective and explores more durable first steps for the future | full description

Publicity contact: | other contacts | Ozzie Zehner is available to answer your questions or visit your group. To set up an interview or talk, contact: Nancy Parker, parker(at) or simply fill out the short form here.


Talk of the town:

“Causing Shockwaves…Not anti-green but simply asking questions.”The Sunday Times, Dominic Tobin and Joseph Dunn

“This book takes a look at the dark underbelly of “green energy” and attempts to shift the US dialogue to a more pressing problem: consumption.”Christian Science Monitor

“Snap judgment: With chapter subtitles like ‘Step Away From the Pom-Poms’ and epigraphs from the likes of Dr. Seuss, Zehner is a delightful apostate in the church of green energy.” —Slate, Sarah Rothbard

“Impossible to dismiss…renewable energy only makes sense if undertaken in concert with other, more fundamental changes in the way we deploy and make use of energy…without a holistic approach, these innovations get us nowhere.”Huffington Post, Tom Zeller Jr.

“Terrific book. . . . Zehner is especially good at untangling sloppy thinking.”—David Owen, The New Yorker and author of Green Metropolis

To hear automakers and environmentalists tell it, electric vehicles are the greenest and cleanest solution to personal mobility. But in his book Green Illusions, Ozzie Zehner argues that electric vehicles are more symbolism and marketing than environmental and fossil-fuel saviors.” WIRED, Doug Newcomb

What sets Zehner’s work apart from the glut of other environment-related titles are his fresh ideas and superlatively engaging prose. —Booklist

“Timely and provocative… what we’re often sold as ‘green’ and ‘clean’ is actually neither. —Truthout, Steve Horn

Thorough research…A bold look at the downside of green technologies and a host of refreshingly simple substitute solutions.” Kirkus Reviews

In clear prose, Zehner lays out the problems associated even with so-called “green” energy, argues that we should shift the focus from finding more energy to using less, and – this is the best part – actually proposes some solutions as to how to make that happen.East Bay Express, Ellen Cushing

“Provocative and essential! Green Illusions shakes us awake to the true challenges we face as a species . . . and inspires us to take action.”—John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

“At once prophetic and pragmatic—must be read by anyone concerned about our collective future.”—Joel Bakan, filmmaker and author of The Corporation

“An extremely important message for a society whose best-intentioned members have lost themselves in a wilderness of wishful thinking. . . . In fact, the sort of techno-narcissistic behavior that Ozzie Zehner identifies is a tragic distraction from the actions that would keep us from falling through the cracks of history.”—James Howard Kunstler, author of The Long Emergency

Green Illusions, does exactly what its title suggests: it brings down a long-lasting myth that green industries and renewable energy sources are the way to go if we are to make this world a better place.Softpedia



Solar power: Discover the unseen harms of solar cells (p. 25) and witness a simple sticker that could produce a greater energy impact than all of the nation’s photovoltaics combined (p. 253).

Wind power: See why engineers can’t solve wind power’s biggest obstacle and what they’ll really need (Chapter 2).

Hydrogen: Read a behind-the-scenes exposé on the life, death and afterlife of the hydrogen dream (Chapter 5).

Clean coal: Find out why so many Americans believe clean coal could exist (Chapter 6).

Electric cars: Discover why future environmentalists will resist electric cars and hybrids (p. 142).

Energy porn: Witness what clean energy and pornography have in common (Chapter 8).

Unintended consequences: Catch a glimpse of a hidden “boomerang effect” that is undermining green energy investments (p. 172).

Human rights: Find out why we’ll need more than just contraception to address population concerns (Chapter 10).

Green consumerism: Examine the problems with thinking of consumption in terms of “Sustainable,” “Green,” or “Organic”…and uncover exciting paths forward (Chapter 11).

Food supply: Read why parts of this book have been censored in the U.S. (p. 258).

Buildings and community: See why future environmentalists will reject LEED buildings (p. 309) and straw-bale homes in favor of more durable options (Chapter 12).

Carbon Taxes: Discover why carbon taxes won’t solve our energy challenges…and learn about one tax that could (p. 323).



“Younger people may not find much utility in the brand of economic thinking their parents’ generation bequeathed them.” —Ozzie Zehner, Green Illusions

“Truths are as much a matter of questions as answers.” —Ozzie Zehner, Green Illusions

“Wind is renewable. Turbines are not.” —Ozzie Zehner, Green Illusions

“Environmentalists generally object to battery-powered devices and for good reason: batteries require mined minerals, employ manufacturing processes that leak toxins into local ecosystems and leave behind an even-worse trail of side effects upon disposal. Though when it comes to the largest mass-produced battery-powered gadget ever created—the electric car—environmentalists cannot jump from their seats fast enough to applaud it.” —Ozzie Zehner, The Economist

“Shifting from petrol to electric cars starts to appear tantamount to swapping a smoking habit from one brand of cigarette to another. We wouldn’t expect doctors to endorse cigarettes. Should environmentally minded people revere electric cars?”  —Ozzie Zehner, The Sunday Times