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Confronting Consumption

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2003

    Best Book in Global Environmental Affairs

    This award-winning book ("The Best Book in Global Environmental Affairs" according to the International Studies Association) offers an accessible and engaging analysis of the 800 pound gorilla in the living room that environmentalists find difficult to talk about with force: overconsumption. The early portion of the book documents the problem; the middle chunk offers a set of mental lenses for making sense of our quandry; and the final chapters offer real-life stories of actors and movements (the voluntary simplicity movement, for example, and the home power and local currency movements too) challenging the upward escalating trajectory of the consumption of "stuff." What's especially helpful about the book -- in addition to its "something for everyone" flavor -- is that it moves beyond simplistic prescriptions to "squash advertising" or "buy recycled products." Indeed, it is rather skeptical of these measures, which it views as diversionary activities meant to take our eye off the underlying forces at war with the planet. Instead, it offers strategies for coming together collectively to challenge broader powers and structures that make it so difficult for people worried about the future of the planet to live more with less.

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