With the style and irreverence of Vice magazine and the critique of the corporatocracy that made Naomi Klein's No Logo a global hit, the cult magazine Stay Free!--long considered the Adbusters of the United States--is finally offering a compendium of new and previously published material on the impact of consumer culture on our lives.The book questions, in the broadest sense, what happens to human beings when their brains are constantly assaulted by advertising and corporate messages. Most people assert that advertising is easily ignored and doesn't have any effect on them or their decision making, but Ad Nauseam shows that consumer pop culture does take its toll. In an engaging, accessible, and graphically appealing style, Carrie McLaren and Jason Torchinsky (as well as contributors such as David Cross,The Onion's Joe Garden,The New York Times's Julie Scelfo, and others) discuss everything from why the TV program CSI affects jury selection, to the methods by which market researchers stalk shoppers, to how advertising strategy is like dog training. The result is an entertaining and eye-opening account of the many ways consumer culture continues to pervade and transform American life.
The demands and stresses on companies only grow as executives face a multitude of competing business goals. Their stakeholders are interested in corporate profits, jobs, business growth, and environmental sustainability. In this book, business strategy expert Yossi Sheffi offers a pragmatic take on how businesses of all sizes—from Coca Cola and Siemens to Dr. Bronner's Magical Soaps and Patagonia—navigate these competing goals. Drawing on extensive interviews with more than 250 executives, Sheffi examines the challenges, solutions, and implications of balancing traditional business goals with sustainability and argues that business executives' personal opinions on environmental sustainability are irrelevant. The business merits of environmental sustainability are based on the fact that even the most ardent climate change skeptics in the C-suite face natural resource costs, public relations problems, regulatory burdens, and a green consumer segment. For companies, sustainability is not a simple case of “profits versus planet” but is instead a more subtle issue of (some) people versus (other) people—those looking for jobs and inexpensive goods versus others who seek a pristine environment. This book aims to help companies satisfy these conflicting motivations for both economic growth and environmental sustainability.
Comforting terms such as "sustainable development" and "green production" frame environmental debate by stressing technology (not green enough), economic growth (not enough in the right places), and population (too large). Concern about consumption emerges, if at all, in benign ways; as calls for green purchasing or more recycling, or for small changes in production processes. Many academics, policymakers, and journalists, in fact, accept the economists' view of consumption as nothing less than the purpose of the economy. Yet many people have a troubled, intuitive understanding that tinkering at the margins of production and purchasing will not put society on an ecologically and socially sustainable path. Confronting Consumption places consumption at the center of debate by conceptualizing "the consumption problem" and documenting diverse efforts to confront it. In Part 1, the book frames consumption as a problem of political and ecological economy, emphasizing core concepts of individualization and commoditization. Part 2 develops the idea of distancing and examines transnational chains of consumption in the context of economic globalization. Part 3 describes citizen action through local currencies, home power, voluntary simplicity, "ad-busting," and product certification. Together, the chapters propose "cautious consuming" and "better producing" as an activist and policy response to environmental problems. The book concludes that confronting consumption must become a driving focus of contemporary environmental scholarship and activism.
Being a consumer is now integral to the human experience, something none of us can avoid. At the same time, many of the products that we buy come to us with histories steeped in highly unethical practices, such as worker exploitation, animal suffering, and environmental damage. Consuming Choices considers the ethical dimensions of consumer life by exploring several basic questions: Exactly what sorts of unethical practices are implicated in today's consumer products? Does moral culpability for these practices fall solely on the companies that perform them, or does it also fall upon consumers who purchase the products made with such practices? And most importantly, do consumers ever have moral obligations to avoid particular products? To answer, David T. Schwartz provides the most detailed philosophical exploration to date on consumer ethics. He utilizes historical and fictional examples to illustrate the types of wrongdoing currently implicated by consumer products in this age of globalization, offers a clear description of the relevant moral theories and important ethical concepts, and provides concrete suggestions on how to be a more ethical consumer.
"Reduce, reuse, recycle" urge environmentalists; in other words, do more with less in order to minimize damage. But as this provocative, visionary book argues, this approach perpetuates a one-way, "cradle to grave" manufacturing model that dates to the Industrial Revolution and casts off as much as 90 percent of the materials it uses as waste, much of it toxic. Why not challenge the notion that human industry must inevitably damage the natural world? In fact, why not take nature itself as our model? A tree produces thousands of blossoms in order to create another tree, yet we do not consider its abundance wasteful but safe, beautiful, and highly effective; hence, "waste equals food" is the first principle the book sets forth. Products might be designed so that, after their useful life, they provide nourishment for something new-either as "biological nutrients" that safely re-enter the environment or as "technical nutrients" that circulate within closed-loop industrial cycles, without being "downcycled" into low-grade uses (as most "recyclables" now are). Elaborating their principles from experience (re)designing everything from carpeting to corporate campuses, William McDonough and Michael Braungart make an exciting and viable case for change.
The bestselling environmental health text, with all new coverage of key topics Environmental Health: From Global to Local is a comprehensive introduction to the subject, and a contemporary, authoritative text for students of public health, environmental health, preventive medicine, community health, and environmental studies. Edited by the former director of the CDC's National Center for Environmental Health and current dean of the School of Public Health at the University of Washington, this book provides a multi-faceted view of the topic, and how it affects different regions, populations, and professions. In addition to traditional environmental health topics--air, water, chemical toxins, radiation, pest control--it offers remarkably broad, cross-cutting coverage, including such topics as building design, urban and regional planning, energy, transportation, disaster preparedness and response, climate change, and environmental psychology. This new third edition maintains its strong grounding in evidence, and has been revised for greater readability, with new coverage of ecology, sustainability, and vulnerable populations, with integrated coverage of policy issues, and with a more global focus. Environmental health is a critically important topic, and it reaches into fields as diverse as communications, technology, regulatory policy, medicine, and law. This book is a well-rounded guide that addresses the field's most pressing concerns, with a practical bent that takes the material beyond theory. Explore the cross-discipline manifestations of environmental health Understand the global ramifications of population and climate change Learn how environmental issues affect health and well-being closer to home Discover how different fields incorporate environmental health perspectives The first law of ecology reminds is that 'everything is connected to everything else.' Each piece of the system affects the whole, and the whole must sustain us all for the long term. Environmental Health lays out the facts, makes the connections, and demonstrates the importance of these crucial issues to human health and well-being, both on a global scale, and in our homes, workplaces, and neighborhoods.
We spend a good amount of time in our lives managing waste: washing ourselves, taking out the trash, sorting recyclables, going to the toilet, deleting e-mail, picking out old clothes to give to charity, filling the compost bin, multitasking to save time, clipping coupons to save money. But waste is much more than what we want to get rid of or avoid. Far beyond terms like rubbish, trash, or litter, the idea of waste can provoke a minefield of emotions and moral anxieties. Gay Hawkins explores the ethical significance of waste in everyday life_from the broadest conceptions of waste and loss to how the environmental movement has affected the ways we think about garbage, the ways we deal with it, and the ways in which we view others' reactions to waste. Do we feel virtuous for reusing a plastic bag? Do we disdain those who throw away aluminum cans? At what point does personal waste become public responsibility? How does this 'public conscience' affect policy? Placing these ideas into historical, social, and cultural perspective, this thoughtful book seeks ways to change ecologically destructive practices without recourse to guilt, moralism, or despair.
Americans increasingly cite moral values as a factor in how they vote, but when we define morality simply in terms of a voter's position on gay marriage and abortion, we lose sight of the ethical decisions that guide our everyday lives. In our encounters with friends, family members, nature, and nonhuman creatures, we practice a nonutilitarian morality that makes sacrifice a rational and reasonable choice. Recognizing these everyday ethics, Anna L. Peterson argues, helps us move past the seemingly irreconcilable conflicts of culture and refocus on issues that affect real social change. Peterson begins by divining a "second language" for personal and political values, a vocabulary derived from the loving and mutually beneficial relationships of daily life. Even if our interactions with others are fleeting and fragmentary, they provide a viable alternative to the contractual and atomistic attitudes of mainstream culture. Everyday ethics point toward a more just, humane, and sustainable society, and to acknowledge moments of grace in our daily encounters is to realize a different way of relating to people and nonhuman nature--an alternative ethic to cynicism and rank consumerism. In redefining the parameters of morality, Peterson enables us to make fundamental problems such as the distribution of wealth, the use of public land and natural resources, labor and employment policy, and the character of political institutions the preferred focus of debate and action.
If capitalism is such an efficient system, why does 40 percent of all U.S. food production go to waste--while one in six people in the nation face hunger? This startling truth has stirred increasing interest and action of late, but none so radical as that of the freegans, who live on what capitalism throws away--including food culled from supermarket dumpsters. Freegans is a close look at the people in this movement, offering a broader perspective on ethical consumption and the changing nature of capitalism.Freegans object to the overconsumption and environmental degradation on which they claim our economic order depends, and they register that dissent by opting out of it, recovering, redistributing, and consuming wasted goods, from dumpster-dived food to cast-off clothes and furniture. Through several years of fieldwork and in-depth interviews with freegans in New York City, Alex Barnard has created a portrait of freegans that leads to questions about ethical consumption--like buying organic, fair trade, or vegan--and the search for effective forms of action in an era of political disillusionment.Barnard's analysis of this pressing concern reveals how waste is integrally bound up with our food system. At the same time, by showing that markets do not seamlessly translate preferences expressed at the cash register into changes in production, Freegans exposes the limits of consumer activism.
One fateful day in 1996, upon discovering that five freight cars' worth of glittering corn have reaped a tiny profit of $18.16, young Forrest Pritchard undertakes to save his family's farm. What ensues--through hilarious encounters with all manner of livestock and colorful local characters--is a crash course in sustainable agriculture. Pritchard's biggest ally is his renegade father, who initially questions his career choice and eschews organic foods for sugary mainstream fare; but just when the farm starts to turn heads at local markets, his father's health takes a turn for the worse.With poetry and humor, this timely memoir tugs on the heartstrings and feeds the soul long after the last page is turned.
Out of sight, out of mind ... Into our trash cans go dead batteries, dirty diapers, bygone burritos, broken toys, tattered socks, eight-track cassettes, scratched CDs, banana peels.... But where do these things go next? In a country that consumes and then casts off more and more, what actually happens to the things we throw away? In Garbage Land, acclaimed science writer Elizabeth Royte leads us on the wild adventure that begins once our trash hits the bottom of the can. Along the way, we meet an odor chemist who explains why trash smells so bad; garbage fairies and recycling gurus; neighbors of massive waste dumps; CEOs making fortunes by encouraging waste or encouraging recycling - often both at the same time; scientists trying to revive our most polluted places; fertilizer fanatics and adventurers who kayak amid sewage; paper people, steel people, aluminum people, plastic people, and even a guy who swears by recycling human waste. With a wink and a nod and a tightly clasped nose, Royte takes us on a bizarre cultural tour through slime, stench, and heat-in other words, through the back end of our ever-more supersized lifestyles. By showing us what happens to the things we've "disposed of," Royte reminds us that our decisions about consumption and waste have a very real impact - and that unless we undertake radical change, the garbage we create will always be with us: in the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we consume.
Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist takes readers on a surprising tour of America’s biggest export, our most prodigious product, and our greatest legacy: our trash.
The average American produces 102 tons of garbage across a lifetime and $50 billion in squandered riches are rolled to the curb each year. But our bins are just the starting point for a strange, impressive, mysterious, and costly journey that may also represent the greatest untapped opportunity of the century. In Garbology, Edward Humes investigates trash—what’s in it; how much we pay for it; how we manage to create so much of it; and how some families, communities, and even nations are finding a way back from waste to discover a new kind of prosperity. Along the way, he introduces a collection of garbage denizens unlike anyone you’ve ever met: the trash-tracking detectives of MIT, the bulldozer-driving sanitation workers building Los Angeles’ Garbage Mountain landfill, the artists residing in San Francisco’s dump, and the family whose annual trash output fills not a dumpster or a trash can, but a single mason jar. Garbology reveals not just what we throw away, but who we are and where our society is headed. Waste is the one environmental and economic harm that ordinary working Americans have the power to change—and prosper in the process.
Eat a take-out meal, buy a pair of shoes, or read a newspaper, and you're soon faced with a bewildering amount of garbage. The United States is the planet's number-one producer of trash. Each American throws out 4.5 pounds daily. But garbage is also a global problem; the Pacific Ocean is today six times more abundant with plastic waste than zooplankton. How did we end up with this much rubbish, and where does it all go? Journalist and filmmaker Heather Rogers answers these questions by taking readers on a grisly, oddly fascinating tour through the underworld of garbage. Said to "read like a thriller" (Library Journal), Gone Tomorrow excavates the history of rubbish handling from the 1800s to the present, pinpointing the roots of today's waste-addicted society. With a "lively authorial voice" (New York Press), Rogers draws connections between modern industrial production, consumer culture, and our throwaway lifestyle. She also investigates controversial topics like the politics of recycling and the export of trash to poor countries, while offering a potent argument for change.
When you drop your Diet Coke can or yesterday's newspaper in the recycling bin, where does it go? Probably halfway around the world, to people and places that clean up what you don't want and turn it into something you can't wait to buy. InJunkyard Planet, Adam Minter-veteran journalist and son of an American junkyard owner-travels deeply into a vast, often hidden, multibillion-dollar industry that's transforming our economy and environment. Minter takes us from back-alley Chinese computer recycling operations to high-tech facilities capable of processing a jumbo jet's worth of recyclable trash every day. Along the way, we meet an unforgettable cast of characters who've figured out how to build fortunes from what we throw away: Leonard Fritz, a young boy "grubbing" in Detroit's city dumps in the 1930s; Johnson Zeng, a former plastics engineer roaming America in search of scrap; and Homer Lai, an unassuming barber turned scrap titan in Qingyuan, China. Junkyard Planet reveals how "going green" usually means making money-and why that's often the most sustainable choice, even when the recycling methods aren't pretty. With unmatched access to and insight on the junk trade, and the explanatory gifts and an eye for detail worthy of a John McPhee or William Langewiesche, Minter traces the export of America's recyclables and the massive profits that China and other rising nations earn from it. What emerges is an engaging, colorful, and sometimes troubling tale of consumption, innovation, and the ascent of a developing world that recognizes value where Americans don't.Junkyard Planetreveals that we might need to learn a smarter way to take out the trash.
In Now or Never, the internationally acclaimed author of The Weather Makers returns to the subject of climate change with a book that is at once a forceful call to action and a deeply (and often surprisingly) pragmatic roadmap toward sustainability. Utilizing the most up-to-the-minute data available, Tim Flannery offers a guided tour of the environmental challenges we face and their potential solutions in both the big picture and in specific detail. He explores everything from techniques for storing the carbon that dead plants release into the earth to the fragile balancing act between energy demands and food supply in India and China, from carbon-trading schemes in South America to a recent collaboration between a Danish wind-energy company and an automobile manufacturer that may produce a viable electric car and end the reign of big oil. Now or Never is a powerful, thought-provoking, and essential book about the most urgent issue of our time. It burns with Flannery's characteristic mix of passion, scientific precision, and "offhand interdisciplinary brilliance."
Like The Omnivore's Dilemmadid for food, Overdressed shows us the way back to feeling good about what we wear. Fast fashion and disposable clothing have become our new norms. We buy ten-dollar shoes from Target that disintegrate within a month and make weekly pilgrimages to Forever 21 and H&M. Elizabeth Cline argues that this rapid cycle of consumption isn't just erasing our sense of style and causing massive harm to the environment and human rights-it's also bad for our souls. Cline documents her own transformation from fast-fashion addict to conscientious shopper. She takes a long look at her overstuffed closet, resoles her cheap imported boots, travels to the world's only living-wage garment factory, and seeks out cutting-edge local and sustainable fashion, all on her journey to find antidotes to out-of-control shopping. Cline looks at the impact here and abroad of America's drastic increase in inexpensive clothing imports, visiting cheap-chic factories in Bangladesh and China and exploring the problems caused by all those castoffs we donate to the Salvation Army. She also shows how consumers can vote with their dollars to grow the sustainable clothing industry, reign in the conventional apparel market, and wear their clothes with pride.
Recycling is widely celebrated as an environmental success story. The accomplishments of the recycling movement can be seen in municipal practice, a thriving private recycling industry, and widespread public support and participation. In the United States, more people recycle than vote. But, as Samantha MacBride points out in this book, the goals of recycling -- saving the earth (and trees), conserving resources, and greening the economy -- are still far from being realized. The vast majority of solid wastes are still burned or buried. MacBride argues that, since the emergence of the recycling movement in 1970, manufacturers of products that end up in waste have successfully prevented the implementation of more onerous, yet far more effective, forms of sustainable waste policy. Recycling as we know it today generates the illusion of progress while allowing industry to maintain the status quo and place responsibility on consumers and local government. MacBride offers a series of case studies in recycling that pose provocative questions about whether the current ways we deal with waste are really the best ways to bring about real sustainability and environmental justice. She does not aim to debunk or discourage recycling, but to help us think beyond recycling as it is today.
A classic exposé in company with An Inconvenient Truth and Silent Spring, The Story of Stuff expands on the celebrated documentary exploring the threat of overconsumption on the environment, economy, and our health. Leonard examines the “stuff” we use everyday, offering a galvanizing critique and steps for a changed planet. The Story of Stuff was received with widespread enthusiasm in hardcover, by everyone from Stephen Colbert to Tavis Smiley to George Stephanopolous on Good Morning America, as well as far-reaching print and blog coverage. Uncovering and communicating a critically important idea—that there is an intentional system behind our patterns of consumption and disposal—Annie Leonard transforms how we think about our lives and our relationship to the planet. From sneaking into factories and dumps around the world to visiting textile workers in Haiti and children mining coltan for cell phones in the Congo, Leonard, named one of Time magazine’s 100 environmental heroes of 2009, highlights each step of the materials economy and its actual effect on the earth and the people who live near sites like these.
With curiosity, compassion, and humor, Leonard shares concrete steps for taking action at the individual and political level that will bring about sustainability, community health, and economic justice. Embraced by teachers, parents, churches, community centers, activists, and everyday readers, The Story of Stuff will be a long-lived classic.
Stuffocation is one of the most pressing problems of the twenty-first century. We have more stuff than we could ever need, and it isn’t making us happier. It’s bad for the planet. It’s cluttering up our homes. It’s making us stressed—and it might even be killing us. A rising number of us are already turning our backs on all-you-can-get consumption. We are choosing access over ownership, and taking our business to companies like Zipcar, Spotify, and Netflix. Fed up with materialism, we are ready for a new way forward. trend forecaster James Wallman traces our obsession with stuff back to the original Mad Men, who first created desire through advertising. He interviews anthropologists studying the clutter crisis, economists searching for new ways of measuring progress, and psychologists who link stuffocation to declining well-being. And he introduces us to the innovators who are already living more consciously and with more meaning by choosing experience over stuff. Experientialism does not mean giving up all of our possessions. It is a solution that is less extreme but equally fundamental. It’s about transforming what we value. Stuffocation is a paradigm-shifting look at our habits and an inspiring call for living more with less. It’s the one important book you won’t be able to live without.
A concise and accessible examination of sustainability in a range of contemporary contexts, from economic development to government policy. The word "sustainability" has been connected to everything from a certain kind of economic development to corporate promises about improved supply sourcing. But despite the apparent ubiquity of the term, the concept of sustainability has come to mean a number of specific things. In this accessible guide to the meanings of sustainability, Kent Portney describes the evolution of the idea and examines its application in a variety of contemporary contexts--from economic growth and consumption to government policy and urban planning. Portney takes as his starting point the 1987 definition by the World Commission on Environment and Development of sustainability as economic development activity that "meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." At its heart, Portney explains, sustainability focuses on the use and depletion of natural resources. It is not the same as environmental protection or natural resource conservation; it is more about finding some sort of steady state so that the earth can support both human population and economic growth. Portney looks at political opposition to the promotion of sustainability, which usually questions the need for sustainability or calls its costs unacceptable; collective and individual consumption of material goods and resources and to what extent they must be curtailed to achieve sustainability; the role of the private sector, and the co-opting of sustainability by corporations; government policy on sustainability at the international, national, and subnational levels; and how cities could become models for sustainability action.
Sustainability Made Simple is an introduction to sustainability and sustainable living that explores the relationship between everyday life and the intricate global environmental issues of today, including air and water pollution, deforestation, and climate change. Rosaly Byrd and Lauren DeMates offer an optimistic yet realistic perspective on our impact on the environment, giving much needed guidance to those who are interested in finding new and relatively easy ways to incorporate sustainability into daily life. An excellent resource for those who are interested in learning what sustainability is about and picking up habits to be more sustainable, Sustainability Made Simple shows that adopting a sustainable lifestyle doesn't require "going off the grid" or making drastic life changes that take time and cost money. Instead, Byrd and DeMates focus on the advantages and transformative changes associated with sustainability, demonstrating that although society is facing unprecedented environmental challenges, working towards sustainability is an opportunity to do things differently and do things better, enhancing aspects of life, such as health, work and community.
With shortages, volatile prices and nearly one billion people hungry, the world has a food problem--or thinks it does. Farmers, manufacturers, supermarkets and consumers in North America and Europe discard up to half of their food--enough to feed all the world's hungry at least three times over. Forests are destroyed and nearly one tenth of the West's greenhouse gas emissions are released growing food that will never be eaten. While affluent nations throw away food through neglect, in the developing world crops rot because farmers lack the means to process, store and transport them to market.But there could be surprisingly painless remedies for what has become one of the world's most pressing environmental and social problems. Waste traces the problem around the globe from the top to the bottom of the food production chain. Stuart's journey takes him from the streets of New York to China, Pakistan and Japan and back to his home in England. Introducing us to foraging pigs, potato farmers and food industry CEOs, Stuart encounters grotesque examples of profligacy, but also inspiring innovations and ways of making the most of what we have. The journey is a personal one, as Stuart is a dedicated freegan, who has chosen to live off of discarded or self-produced food in order to highlight the global food waste scandal.Combining front-line investigation with startling new data, Waste shows how the way we live now has created a global food crisis--and what we can do to fix it.
"Amidst a thousand tirades against the excesses and waste of consumer society, What's Mine Is Yours offers us something genuinely new and invigorating: a way out." --Steven Johnson, author of The Invention of Air and The Ghost Map A groundbreaking and original book, What's Mine is Yours articulates for the first time the roots of "collaborative consumption," Rachel Botsman and Roo Roger's timely new coinage for the technology-based peer communities that are transforming the traditional landscape of business, consumerism, and the way we live. Readers captivated by Chris Anderson's The Long Tail, Van Jones' The Green Collar Economy or Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point will be wowed by this landmark contribution to the evolving ecology of commerce and sustainability.
This team of top-notch writers, brought together by founder Alex Steffen, includes Cameron Sinclair, founder of Architecture for Humanity, GeekCore founder Ethan Zuckerman and sustainable food expert Anna Lappe, among many others. Each chapter will offer practical answers to important questions, such as: Why does buying locally produced food make sense? What steps can we take to influence our workplace toward sustainability? How do we volunteer and advocate more effectively? How can we travel, live, work and learn in world changing ways? How, in short, can every human being help build a better future locally and globally? Illustrated with photographs and designed by Stefan Sagmeister, one of the most influential graphic designers working today, Worldchanging will prove that a life that is sustainably prosperous, just and democratic, dynamic and peaceful, is possible.
Waste is something we all make every day but often pay little attention to. That's changing, and model programs around the globe show the many different ways a community can strive for, and achieve, zero-waste status. Scientist-turned-activist Paul Connett, a leading international figure in decades-long battles to fight pollution, has championed efforts to curtail overconsumption and keep industrial toxins out of our air and drinking water and bodies. But he's best known around the world for leading efforts to help communities deal with their waste in sustainable ways - in other words, to eliminate and reuse waste rather than burn it or stow it away in landfills, In The Zero Waste Solution, Connett profiles the most successful zero-waste initiatives around the world, showing activists, planners, and entrepreneurs how to re-envision their community's waste-handling process-by consuming less, turning organic waste into compost, recycling, reusing other waste, demanding nonwasteful product design, and creating jobs and bringing community members together in the process. The book also exposes the greenwashing behind renewed efforts to promote waste incinerators as safe, nontoxic energy suppliers, and gives detailed information on how communities can battle incineration projects that, even at their best, emit dangerous particles into the atmosphere, many of which remain unregulated or poorly regulated. An important toolkit for anyone interested in creating sustainable communities, generating secure local jobs, and keeping toxic alternatives at bay.