From the back cover:
“Paper or plastic? Bus or car? Old house or new? Cloth diapers or disposables? Some choices have a huge impact on the environment; others are of negligible importance. To those of us who care about our quality of life and what is happening to the earth, this is a vastly important issue. In these pages, the Union of Concerned Scientists help inform consumers about everyday decisions that significantly affect the environment. For example, a few major decisions such as the choice of a house or vehicle have such a disproportionately large affect on the environment that minor environmental infractions shrink by comparison. This book identifies the 4 Most Significant Consumer Related Environmental Problems, 7 Most Damaging Categories, 11 Priority Actions, and 7 Rules for Responsible Consumption”. Learn what you can do to have a truly significant impact on our world”
Unlike other books which overwhelm the reader into inaction with just “50 simple things to do” this book gives the reader a list of the top 11 most effective actions.
The scientists who compiled this short list explain their choices with facts and figures, including reasons why the reader should not worry about other behavioral changes often recommended but that in reality are of little environmental value.
From page 85:
The most effective environmentally friendly actions consumers can do:
1. Choose a place to live that reduces the need to drive.
2. Think twice before purchasing another car.
3. Choose a fuel efficient, low polluting car.
4. Set concrete goals for reducing your travel.
5. Whenever practical, walk, bicycle, or take public transportation
6. Eat less meat.
7. Buy certified organic produce.
8. Choose your home carefully.
9. Reduce the environmental costs of heating and hot water.
10. Install efficient lighting and appliances.
11. Choose an electricity supplier offering renewable energy.
I gave this book 4 stars instead of 5 stars since it is likely out of date having been published in 1999.