Shopping with a Conscience

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I normally steer clear of overview texts, but I have to say this book, part of the “Rough Guide” series, is an excellent, refreshingly straightforward resource on how to consume with higher ethical standards. Granted there is some overlap with Worldchanging: A User’s Guide for the 21st Century, but this book — a cheaper paperback (printed on paper made from 100% recycled fiber) — focuses less on interesting cultural tidbits and inspirational sketches of specific communities. Instead, it’s a no-nonsense look at the in’s and out’s of the plethora of choices you can make to change and manage your impact. There are very concise, instructive passages on topics like ecotourism, local vs. organic, clean cosmetics, socially responsible investment (SRI) — including a four-step plan for “Greening your pension fund” — as well as the benefits of switching to solar, wind and/or micro-hyrdo systems (For instance, did you know the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy [DSIRE] maps the tax incentives and grants available in various states?). Overall, it reads like one of those “Complete Idiot’s Guide” books, which is precisely why it’s so useful. The sections are short and the language is clear. Considering how much info is floating around online, this book could really help cut through the noise and arm you with the basics.

Shopping with a Conscience
Duncan Clark & Richie Unterberger
2007, 344 pages
$12

Available from Amazon