The Shadows of Consumption: Consequences for the Global Environment

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An environmentalist maps the hidden costs of overconsumption in a globalized world by tracing the environmental consequences of five commodities.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Dauvergne's brilliant investigation will show you the 'other side' of the coin and that we must all incorporate a deeper awareness and take the 'long view' into our efforts to make a positive difference for human well-being near and far — immediately in your neighborhood and incrementally on the other side of the planet." Scott D. Wright Human Ecology Review
Publishers Weekly

Dauvergne (Paths to the Green World) takes a look at five industries to see what consequences they have on local and global environments, showing "the environmental spillovers from the corporate, trade, and financing chains that supply and replace consumer goods." He points out that "cumulative progress is not keeping pace with the impact of rising consumption in a globalizing economy" and higher environmental standards in first world countries often means transferring ecological degradation to poorer regions. The author's examinations of the ecological effects of automobiles, leaded gasoline and CFCs reveal that industries usually undermine efforts toward safety and sustainability until they find a salable substitute, thus ensuring more profits. An analysis of the harp seal hunt demonstrates that although activists saved seals from near extinction in the 1970s-1980s, their publicity campaigns will be unlikely to make an impact in markets like Russia and China. Dauvergne proposes "balanced consumption," but his solutions range from the unlikely-that "international donors... serve the interests of people and ecosystems in developing states more than the financial interests at home"-to the fanciful-that "the World Trade Organization... guide global trade with anticipatory strategies to prevent ecological shadows." (Oct.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262514927
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 9/24/2010
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Dauvergne is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Liu Institute for Global Issues at the University of British Columbia. He is the author of the award-winning The Shadows of Consumption: Consequences for the Global Environment (MIT Press) and other books.

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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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