by Michael Brower and Warren Leon (Three Rivers Press, 1999)
The key word in this book, as is clearly indicated on the cover, is effective. In a sea of books about making everyday choices that benefit the environment, almost none gives a scientifically grounded, realistic depiction of how much any one of those choices actually matters in the grand scheme of environmental protection and restoration. What├»┬┐┼ôs worse├»┬┐┼ôpaper or plastic?
Or is it really crucial to forego both and remember a canvas bag each time you go to the store? If you eat meat every day but take the bus to work, are you doing better or worse than a vegetarian who drives solo?
According to the authors, ├»┬┐┼ônot all consumption has an equal impact on the environment. For that reason, a 10 percent across-the-board reduction in Americans├»┬┐┼ô consumption would not be the most effective way to reduce environmental damage.├»┬┐┼ô Using priority lists, graphs, and tables, the guide offers comprehensive, consumer-level advice for assessing the impacts of our consumption patterns. There├»┬┐┼ôs a lot of myth busting and eye opening, and although the book is somewhat dated, many of the points remain relevant in that they are different from what we normally hear.