- STAFF PICKS
- GIFTS + GIFT CARDS
- SELL BOOKS
- FIND A STORE
This item may be
Check for Availability
The Shadows of Consumption: Consequences for the Global Environmentby Peter Dauvergne
Synopses & Reviews
Winner of the 2009 Gerald L. Young Book Award in Human Ecology given by the Society for Human Ecology.
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. He 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 of CFC-free refrigerators; and how activists were able to stop Canada's commercial seal hunt in the 1980s (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 fuel-efficient 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.
Table of Contents
Introduction: the ecological shadows of rising consumption — An unbalanced global political economy — Dying of consumption — 1. Automobiles — Accidental dependency? The road to an auto world — A better ride: selling safe and clean — The road tolls — The globalization of accidents and emissions — 2. Leaded gasoline — Leaded science: pumping out profits and risks — Lead must go — Taking the lead out of Africa — The globalization of risk — 3. Refrigerators — Refrigerating the ozone layer — Phasing out CFC refrigerators — Selling the "superior" refrigerator — The globalization of plugging in — 4. Beef — The efficient steer: fast, fat, and cheap — The ecology of big beef — Sustainable beef? Chasing a stampede of "regular" steers — The globalization of more meat — 5. The harp seal hunt — The red ice: heroes and overharvesting — The brutes! Killing markets with activism — Hunting beaters for globalizing markets — The globalization of slippery markets — Conclusion: transforming global consumption — The illusions of environmentalism — A brighter world order of balanced consumption.
What Our Readers Are Saying
Business » General