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The Consumer's Guide to Effective Environmental Choices: Practical Advice from The Union of Concerned Scientists Paperback – March 30, 1999
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From School Library Journal
Pam Johnson, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
Having determined the greatest environmental problems related to consumption, they then looked at all the ways a household consumes, and quantified the percent of the household's total environmental damage caused by each item on their list. This enabled them to determine which items on the list are most damaging. Another way they looked at consumption was to take the average cost of each item on the list, and calculate the environmental damage associated with each dollar of expenditure in that category. This is used to find which items on the list give us the worst bang for the buck.
Based on these numerical calculations, the authors determined that the worst consumer activities that the average household engages in are cars and light trucks, meat and poultry, fruit, vegetables, and grains, home heating, hot water, and air conditioning, household appliances and lighting, home construction, and household water and sewage.Read more ›
The virtue of this *Consumer's Guide* is that the authors help us separate the urgent from the not-so-urgent, the easily doable from the this'll-take-more-time-and-effort. They pinpoint three major areas in our consumption in which we can make immediate changes that really do impact for the better on the environment: vehicle usage, how we heat/cool our homes,and what we eat. Almost all of us use our cars more than we need to, and a growing number of us have vehicles much larger than we really need; all of us can do better about insulating our homes, cutting down on electricity, and using environmental-friendly appliances; and we don't really need to eat as much meat as we do--growing food animals is a colossal waste of grain protein as well as a major water and air polluter.
Just as handy, the *Consumer Guide* gives tips for social and political as well as individual action. Changing one's own behavior is essential; but building coalitions with others and putting pressure on corporations and the government to be more eco-responsible is essential too.
Finally, Susan Strasser's concluding essay, "From Walden to Wal-Mart," a reflective analysis of our consumerist culture, is by itself worth the price of the book. Very nice indeed!
So get this book, read it, and take hope: you CAN make a difference!
I selected this book to teach in freshman college composition at our community college because current research shows American high school students are more challenged by informational reading, but this is a book by which informational reading can connect directly to everyday life. With this concrete connection to their lives, students have much material to write about at various levels ranging from concrete to abstract.
Students are challenged by the cause-effect implications in the book as well as by the numberical literacy involved in reading of various charts and graphs. I have provided worksheets and writing assignments to support student growth in this area. So far, the groans of the early part of the semester seem to give way to enthusiasm as students use the content and the resources in the appendix to develop their own research projects on topics ranging from Great Lakes Pollution to lightbulb or clothing choices.
Some might criticize this book for its lack of illustration--the current generation reads much more enthusiastically with visual enhancements to text. However, since the appendix provides lists of related Web Sites, students can easily find their own access to related pictures.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great read about how consumerism and the trash Americans produce are far greater than that of the rest of the world, includeing other industrialized nations.Published on January 4, 2013 by Max
This book provides simple advice for how a regular person in the U.S. should think about their environmental impact. Read morePublished on January 8, 2012 by Scott Young
This book contains a lot of statistics, but when comparing products they often fail to account for the full product life cycle. Read morePublished on December 17, 2010 by AMerint
This review is of the 1999 paper edition of the book. There is a 2009 digital edition of the book, but it is not an update or a revision. Read morePublished on January 2, 2010 by Regular Reader
I have read and re-read this book over and over. There is always good information and a lot of good places to start for a weekend green project or a sustainability roundtable. Read morePublished on March 4, 2009 by endofanera
The goals of this book are admirable, but the authors (on behalf of the Union of Concerned Scientists) fail to deliver a truly practical message. Read morePublished on May 22, 2008 by doomsdayer520
I do agree that it is often important to look at the bigger picture of things. This book helps the reader to focus on the big contributors of environmental damage. Read morePublished on February 19, 2008 by J. Cheng
Impeccably researched, well-referenced, and very convincing. This book will convince the shrewdest skeptics. Read morePublished on September 30, 2007 by Blair B. Madison
This was purchased as a gift for someone who is very interested in the health of our environment. It is a good book for those who share that interest.Published on August 23, 2007 by JJO