The Environmental Impact You Don't Know You Have
*First Place Winner of the Society of Environmental Journalists' Rachel Carson Environment Book Award*
"If you're looking for something to cling to in what often feels like a hopeless conversation, Schlossberg's darkly humorous, knowledge-is-power, eyes-wide-open approach may be just the thing."--Vogue
From a former New York Times science writer, this urgent call to action will empower you to stand up to climate change and environmental pollution by making simple but impactful everyday choices.
With urgency and wit, Tatiana Schlossberg explains that far from being only a distant problem of the natural world created by the fossil fuel industry, climate change is all around us, all the time, lurking everywhere in our convenience-driven society, all without our realizing it.
By examining the unseen and unconscious environmental impacts in four areas-the Internet and technology, food, fashion, and fuel - Schlossberg helps readers better understand why climate change is such a complicated issue, and how it connects all of us: How streaming a movie on Netflix in New York burns coal in Virginia; how eating a hamburger in California might contribute to pollution in the Gulf of Mexico; how buying an inexpensive cashmere sweater in Chicago expands the Mongolian desert; how destroying forests from North Carolina is necessary to generate electricity in England.
Cataloging the complexities and frustrations of our carbon-intensive society with a dry sense of humor, Schlossberg makes the climate crisis and its solutions interesting and relevant to everyone who cares, even a little, about the planet. She empowers readers to think about their stuff and the environment in a new way, helping them make more informed choices when it comes to the future of our world.
Most importantly, this is a book about the power we have as voters and consumers to make sure that the fight against climate change includes all of us and all of our stuff, not just industry groups and politicians. If we have any hope of solving the problem, we all have to do it together.
"A compelling-and illuminating-look at how our daily habits impact the environment."--Vanity Fair
"Shows how even the smallest decisions can have profound environmental consequences."--The New York Times
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
As the saying goes, the personal is political. Environmental journalist Tatiana Schlossberg shows how our everyday choices—where we shop, what we wear, what we eat—contribute to pollution and climate change. And she looks into eye-opening hidden connections: One chapter lays out how increased demand and plummeting prices for cashmere have led not only to soil depletion in Mongolia, but also to increased air pollution in California. Like Malcolm Gladwell’s millennial kid sister, Schlossberg has a witty, pop-culture-savvy writing style that never comes across as a pious lecture but rather provides great conversation starters. She makes strong points about how cleaning up the earth starts at the checkout line and the ballot box; Inconspicuous Consumption will make you mad and depressed at times, but there might not be a more important book published this year.
In this straightforward, accessible look at the environmental impact of consumer habits, journalist Schlossberg examines how seemingly innocuous "everyday, run-of-the-mill" decisions substantially affect the wellbeing of the planet. She divides her discussion into four manageable parts devoted to, respectively, technology, food production, fashion, and fuel. Regarding the first, she observes that the extraction of the metals used to manufacture lithium ion batteries "the invention that, more than almost any other... powers our phones, laptops, and electric cars" often comes "at great environmental and human cost" in such countries as Argentina, Chile, and Congo. Meanwhile, the "biggest environmental problem created by agriculture," according to Schlossberg, is due to corn. So much of this crop is grown, mostly for products such as alcohol, oil, animal feed, and sweeteners, that it wreaks havoc on biodiversity and native ecosystems. Style-conscious readers should be particularly fascinated by Schlossberg's critical look at fashion industry practices, notably the water-intensive process through which cotton gets made into denim. With insight and urgency, Schlossberg prods readers to think more deeply about how they participate in these and other activities, and how they might mitigate their impact. In the process, she delivers an intriguing and educational narrative. Zoe Sandler, Esther Newberg, ICM Partners