Whew, it's been almost 9 days since I wrote. I have been enthralled in a book these last 9 days and now that I am finished I would like to tell you a little bit about it.
The Consumer's Guide to Effective Environmental Choices
--Practical Advice from the Union of Concerned Scientists
by Michael Brower and Warren Leon
This book is a clear, practical and rational overview of the relationship between consumers and the environment. Some choices have a huge impact on the environment, others are negligible. This book outlines which choices are worthy of your time and money when making environmental choices. The book identifies the 4 most significant consumer related environmental problems, the 7 most harmful spending categories, 11 priority actions, and 7 rules for responsible consumption.
I will list them here:
4 Most Significant Consumer Related Environmental Problems

  • Air pollution
  • Global Warming
  • Habitat Alteration
  • Water pollution

7 Most Harmful Consumer Activities

  • Cars and light trucks
  • Meat and poultry
  • Fruit, vegetables, and grains
  • Home heating, hot water, and air conditioning
  • Household appliances and lighting
  • Home construction
  • Household water and sewage

11 Priority Actions for American Consumers

  • Choose a place to live that reduces the need to drive
  • Think twice before purchasing another car
  • Choose a fuel efficient, low-polluting car
  • Set concrete goals for reducing your travel
  • Whenever practical, walk, bicycle, or take public transportation
  • Eat less meat
  • Buy certified organic produce
  • Choose your home carefully
  • Reduce the environmental costs of heating and hot water
  • Install efficient lighting and appliances
  • Choose an electricity supplier offering renewable energy

7 Rules for Responsible Consumption

  • Give special attention to large purchases
  • become a weight watcher (as in the weight of the products you purchase)
  • Analyze your consumption quantitatively
  • Don't worry or feel guilty about unimportant decisions
  • Look for an opportunity to be a leader
  • Buy more of those things that help the environment
  • Think about nonenvironmental reasons for reducing consumption

All and all I really enjoyed this book. It was interesting that in most places in America we don't have a landfill problem, so debating over paper vs plastic vs cloth bag is a moot point. BUT, driving the truck that we do isn't. Also, the jury is still out on cloth diapers vs disposable but which ever way it goes, the choice will make such a small change that it isn't worth the effort. But, purchasing an energy efficient fridge next time you need a fridge is VERY important.
I gained a lot of insight into what decisions are most important when considering a more environmental option.
Great book, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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