The Shadows of Consumption: Consequences for the Global Environment

The Shadows of Consumption: Consequences for the Global Environment

by Peter Dauvergne
     
 

The Shadows of Consumption gives a hard-hitting diagnosis: many of the earth's ecosystems and billions of its people are at risk from the consequences of rising consumption.

Products ranging from cars to hamburgers offer conveniences and pleasures; but, as Peter Dauvergne makes clear, global political and economic processes displace the real costs of consumer

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Overview

The Shadows of Consumption gives a hard-hitting diagnosis: many of the earth's ecosystems and billions of its people are at risk from the consequences of rising consumption.

Products ranging from cars to hamburgers offer conveniences and pleasures; but, as Peter Dauvergne makes clear, global political and economic processes displace the real costs of consumer goods into distant ecosystems, communities, and timelines, tipping into crisis people and places without the power to resist. In The Shadows of Consumption, Peter Dauvergne maps the costs of consumption that remain hidden in the shadows cast by globalized corporations, trade, and finance. Dauvergne traces the environmental consequences of five commodities: automobiles, gasoline, refrigerators, beef, and harp seals. In these fascinating histories we learn, for example, that American officials ignored warnings about the dangers of lead in gasoline in the 1920s; why China is now a leading producer ofCFC-free refrigerators; and how activists were able to stop Canada's commercial seal hunt in the1980s (but are unable to do so now). Dauvergne's innovative analysis allows us to see why so many efforts to manage the global environment are failing even as environmentalism is slowly strengthening. He proposes a guiding principle of "balanced consumption" for both consumers and corporations. We know that we can make things better by driving a high-mileage car,eating locally grown food, and buying energy-efficient appliances; but these improvements are incremental, local, and insufficient. More crucial than our individual efforts to reuse and recycle will be reforms in the global political economy to reduce the inequalities of consumption and correct the imbalance between growing economies and environmental sustainability.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780262514927
Publisher:
MIT Press
Publication date:
09/24/2010
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.70(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Table of Contents

Introduction The Ecological Shadows of Rising Consumption 1

1 An Unbalanced Global Political Economy 3

2 Dying of Consumption 19

I Automobiles 33

3 Accidental Dependency? The Road to an Auto World 35

4 A Better Ride: Selling Safe and Clean 43

5 The Road Tolls 53

6 The Globalization of Accidents and Emissions 61

II Leaded Gasoline 65

7 Leaded Science: Pumping Out Profits and Risks 67

8 Lead Must Go 79

9 Taking the Lead Out of Africa 89

10 The Globalization of Risk 93

III Refrigerators 97

11 Refrigerating the Ozone Layer 99

12 Phasing Out CFC Refrigerators 107

13 Selling the "Superior" Refrigerator 119

14 The Globalization of Plugging In 129

IV Beef 133

15 The Efficient Steer: Fast, Fat, and Cheap 135

16 The Ecology of Big Beef 147

17 Sustainable Beef? Chasing a Stampede of "Regular" Steers 155

18 The Globalization of More Meat 165

V The Harp Seal Hunt 169

19 To the Red Ice: Heroes and Overharvesting 171

20 The Brutes! Killing Markets with Activism 183

21 Hunting Beaters for Globalizing Markets 193

22 The Globalization of Slippery Markets 203

Conclusion: Transforming Global Consumption 207

23 The Illusions of Environmentalism 209

24 A Brighter World Order of Balanced Consumption 219

Notes 233

References 263

Index 289

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