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Everyday Environmentalism Connects The Dots Between Policy & Personal Action (Book Review)

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everyday environmentalism book cover photoCompared to some of the other books that come across TreeHugger’s virtual desk for review Everyday Environmentalism: Law, Nature & Individual Behavior is a bit wonkier than other titles. Which for its intended audience is wholly appropriate. Author Jason Czarneski of the Environmental Law Center at Vermont Law School writes that he hopes the book is adopted by universities and graduate seminars as a short (150 pages) and thorough overview of the pressing environmental problems of the day.

For many regular TreeHugger readers, those people who keep up with the breadth of environmental science and policy and are immersed in it, the topics in Everyday Environmentalism will seem like a review rather than a revelation. But for those people new to the subjects presented therein–US consumerism, climate change, carbon and waste footprinting, food, sprawl, and biodiversity are all covered–this is a good starting point.

If 150 pages seems a small amount of space to cover such an expanse of knowledge, you’re right. But everything is thoroughly footnoted so that short sentences could really stimulate much more in depth discussion, if either the reader or instructor wanted.

With that in mind, even for the more seasoned environmentalist there are sections which spark interest. One example:

Czarneski opens with a history of US consumption and consumer society which connects a number of perhaps seemingly far separated dots into a rich picture. It’s well documented that the consumerism upon which we base a nation and is debasing our planet really arose post-World War 2, but Czarneski goes back further, showing how the idea of manifest destiny, the Judeo-Christian worldview of the nation’s founders and its attitudes towards wilderness, the frontier mentality of expansion and exploitation of natural resources, and American capitalism, led directly to the corporate and consumer society of today.

Everyday Environmentalism is out now in paperback, available from any of your preferred book sellers, or directly from Island Press

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Author: CSea

... embracing what I can change and accepting what I cannot, while totally grateful for everything about my life.

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