Paper or plastic? Cloth or disposable? Regular or organic? Every day, environmentally conscious consumers are faced with the overwhelming catch-22 of a capitalist society--reconciling the harm we do by consuming, while still providing ourselves and our families with the goods and services we need. It's enough to make a city dweller crazy. Fret no more! The Union of Concerned Scientists has put together a well-researched and eminently practical guide to the decisions that matter. The authors hope that the book will help you set priorities, stop worrying about insignificant things, and understand the real environmental impacts of household decisions. For instance, you may be surprised to learn that buying and eating meat and poultry is much more harmful to the environment than the packaging the meat is wrapped in, even if it's Styrofoam. This guide takes on both sides of the consumer-impact argument, goring sacred cows of the environmentalist movement (like the strident emphasis on recycling) and the industrialist perspective (like the relentless message to buy more, more, more). If you're confused and overwhelmed by all the environmental decision-making in the modern world, you'll find new inspiration in this book. --Therese Littleton
From School Library Journal
YA-Brower and Leon, along with input from their colleagues, present statistics, describe solutions, and endorse steps for readers to take to live more ecologically based lifestyles as consumers of the Earth's resources. They encourage individuals to go beyond basic recycling and to look at changing the policies of government and large institutions, explain how negatively consumer choices can affect the environment, and present a quantitative analysis of which items most affect the environment. Important information is dramatically put forth in highlighted boxes of lists. The authors stress the fact that choice is the optimal word for today's consumers and some choices are easier than others. They wisely point out that some consumers don't have the leeway to make what might be considered the most ecological of choices available and present different styles of compromise in a variety of situations. A list of active Web sites for additional information and other pertinent resources is appended. Young adults interested in effecting change will find sources to help in their search as well as proven research to help them make their own decisions.Pam Johnson, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.