Green Washed: Why We Can't Buy Our Way to a Green Planet

Green Washed: Why We Can't Buy Our Way to a Green Planet

by Kendra Pierre-Louis
     
 

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The message that our environment is in peril has filtered from environmental groups to the American consciousness to our shopping carts. Every day, millions of Americans dutifully replace conventional produce with organic, swap Mr. Clean for Seventh Generation, and replace their bottled water with water bottles. Many of us have come to believe that the path to

Overview


The message that our environment is in peril has filtered from environmental groups to the American consciousness to our shopping carts. Every day, millions of Americans dutifully replace conventional produce with organic, swap Mr. Clean for Seventh Generation, and replace their bottled water with water bottles. Many of us have come to believe that the path to environmental sustainability is paved by shopping green. Although this green consumer movement certainly has many Americans consuming differently, it raises an important and rarely asked question—is this consumption really any better for the planet?

By examining the major economic sectors of our society, including infrastructure (green housing), consumer goods (green clothing), food (the rise of organic), and energy (including solar power and the popularity of the hybrid car), Green Washed: Why We Can't Buy Our Way to a Green Planet explains that, though greener alternatives are important, we cannot simply buy our way to sustainability. Rather, if it is the volume of our consumption that matters, can we as a society dependent on constantly consuming ever be content with buying less?

A new and unique take on green consumption, Green Washed shows how buying better is only the first step toward true sustainability.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"If only we could buy our way (or recycle our way!) out of our environmental troubles. But as this slim and powerful book makes clear, what we need even more than clean cars are clean politics and economics that let us make sensible structural choices."—Bill McKibben, author Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet
Kirkus Reviews
Justmeans.com sustainable development editor Pierre-Louis takes a hard look at the new wave of buying "green" products and the hidden detriments behind such seemingly helpful practices. Most scientists agree that "humanity has wrought enough environmental damage to bring our continued future (in any significant measure) into real question, unless we fundamentally change our relationship with the planet." This fact has raised concerns over the increasing toxicity of many production practices used to manufacture "green" products sold these days. The author examines the clothing industry, food production, beauty products, the car industry, water bottles and water consumption and green building technologies. What she uncovers will have readers questioning the ethics and methods behind large companies that push "organic" and "sustainable" products while ignoring the hidden costs to the environment and the future of the planet. Confusing and misleading labels, hybrid cars and biofuels, the endless stream of plastic that fills our landfills and oceans and the dangers behind "clean coal"—these are just a few of the topics Pierre-Louis explores. The United States has become a nation of consumers of primarily disposable products: "When we get bored with what we have, we simply go out and buy a new one." By engaging in this course of action, we ignore the simple fact that "we consume resources at rates faster than they can repair themselves, a practice that is inherently unsustainable regardless of how you slice it." A slim but revealing investigation of how "purchasing green can be good, but buying less is better.".

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781935439431
Publisher:
Ig Publishing
Publication date:
04/03/2012
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.60(d)

Meet the Author


Kendra Pierre-Louis is the Sustainable Development Editor for Justmeans.com. She holds a Master’s in Sustainable Development from the SIT Graduate Institute in Vermont. She has created outreach material for the United Nations Environment Programme’s Convention on Biological Diversity and worked as a researcher for Terrapin Bright Green, an environmental consulting and strategic planning firm.

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