cover image Inconspicuous Consumption: The Environmental Impact You Don’t Know You Have

Inconspicuous Consumption: The Environmental Impact You Don’t Know You Have

Tatiana Schlossberg. Grand Central, $28 (288p) ISBN 978-1-5387-4708-7

In this straightforward, accessible look at the environmental impact of consumer habits, journalist Schlossberg examines how seemingly innocuous “everyday, run-of-the-mill” decisions substantially affect the wellbeing of the planet. She divides her discussion into four manageable parts devoted to, respectively, technology, food production, fashion, and fuel. Regarding the first, she observes that the extraction of the metals used to manufacture lithium ion batteries—“the invention that, more than almost any other... powers our phones, laptops, and electric cars”—often comes “at great environmental and human cost” in such countries as Argentina, Chile, and Congo. Meanwhile, the “biggest environmental problem created by agriculture,” according to Schlossberg, is due to corn. So much of this crop is grown, mostly for products such as alcohol, oil, animal feed, and sweeteners, that it wreaks havoc on biodiversity and native ecosystems. Style-conscious readers should be particularly fascinated by Schlossberg’s critical look at fashion industry practices, notably the water-intensive process through which cotton gets made into denim. With insight and urgency, Schlossberg prods readers to think more deeply about how they participate in these and other activities, and how they might mitigate their impact. In the process, she delivers an intriguing and educational narrative. Zoe Sandler, Esther Newberg, ICM Partners (Oct.)