SOCIAL SCIENCES

The Day the World Stops Shopping: How Ending Consumerism Saves the Environment and Ourselves

Ecco. May 2021. 336p. ISBN 9780062856029. $28.99. SOC SCI
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"The attitude of consumption spells ruin to everything it touches," observed Hannah Arendt (1906-1975), and the expression "shop ‘'il you drop” takes on a fearful new meaning in this thought-provoking book by MacKinnon (The Once and Future World) about the current, worldwide environmental dangers we are facing if we don't change our ideas about "stuff." MacKinnon counsels us to become rich "by wanting fewer things" in four well-argued sections: "First Days" ("what we give up and we hang on to"); "Collapse" ("the end if growth is not the end of economics"); "Adaptation" (finding "a stronger, not a weaker attachment to our things"), and "Transformation" ("we finally actually save the whales."). Witty and erudite, MacKinnon draws his evidence from a wide variety of sources that focus on different cultural values and make us think about what it means to "live the good life." He is not naive enough to think that we will go from daily Amazon deliveries to complete self-sufficiency, but encourages us by pointing out that even a five-percent reduction in consumption by "the rich world" would be a good, albeit challenging start. "It might be the end of the world as we know it," MacKinnon observes, but "[it] will not be the end of the world."
VERDICT An insightful account offering a starting point for change that is highly recommended for all libraries.
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