10/26/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

I Met A Why Guy Today

Tom Kostigen, author of You Are Here, an environmental book with an unusual approach, took the time to stop by HuffPost Green's New York office this Thursday. Kostigen is on a lengthy book tour and will soon be in Sevilla, Spain, talking to world business leaders with the Climate Project.

He's done Q&As with the two men vying to be the next president of the United States of America. I could have asked him to contrast the candidates, but I've read a lot of that, and it ends up focusing the debate narrowly -- and sometimes bizarrely.

For example, how many millions of plug-in hybrid electric cars does Candidate X plan on having on the road by the year 20XX? Well, if you ask me, I suppose that depends on how soon Candidate X plans on opening his own dealership, right? I kid, but you get my point.

I asked him what he thought they both had going for them, environmentally speaking, and what they could both work on.

"They both have a conscience," he said, "so they both have that part of it right."

He said that wasn't enough, though -- that even though they both understand that climate change requires action, they don't seem to understand the implications of that.

"It isn't just about alternative energy," he said. "We have a water crisis that we're facing, we have a food crisis that we're in the middle of, and we have an ocean crisis that we haven't even seen the beginning of."

He's very keen on awareness of all natural resources, and their impacts on global warming.

"What about deforestation, which is the second largest cause?" he asks.

You Are Here is a more personal book than his first, The Green Book. The new book is sort of an eco-missionary's travelogue, following Kostigen from place to place, looking at the way climate change is affecting or could soon affect places you've heard of around the world.

Speedier erosion is assaulting spiritually important sites in the Middle East. Mumbai's low elevation -- same as Manhattan's, by the way -- makes it susceptible deadly storms and floods in an increasingly volatile climate. That kind of thing.

It's not a book that tells people to change their lightbulbs.

"You don't tell them, you show them," Kostigen says. "You can see the butterfly effect of your actions, so they will think, 'Oh, polar bears drowning connects to my light switch.'"

He's a why guy. That's why he'll be talking to those business leaders about polar bears and numbers like trillions.