The Day the World Stops Shopping
Consuming less is our best strategy for saving the planet--but can we do it? In this thoughtful and surprisingly optimistic book, journalist J. B. MacKinnon investigates how we may achieve a world without shopping.
The planet says we consume too much: in North America, we burn the earth's resources at a rate five times faster than they can regenerate. And despite our efforts to "green" our consumption--by recycling, increasing energy efficiency, or using solar power--we have yet to see a decline in global carbon emissions.
The economy says we must always consume more, because even the slightest drop in spending leads to widespread unemployment, bankruptcy and home foreclosures.
Addressing this paradox head-on, J.B. MacKinnon asks, What would really happen if we simply stop shopping? Is there a way to reduce our consumption to earth-saving levels without triggering an economic collapse? This question took him around the world, seeking answers: from America's big-box stores, to the hunter-gatherer cultures of Namibia, to communities in Ecuador that consume at an exactly sustainable rate. Then his thought experiment came shockingly true, as the coronavirus brought shopping to a halt and MacKinnon's ideas were tested in real time. As we edge out of the pandemic, governments still hope that kickstarting growth once more will save us.
Drawing on experts ranging from economists to climate scientists to corporate CEOs, MacKinnon investigates how living with less would change our planet, our society and ourselves. Along the way, he reveals just how much we stand to gain. Imaginative and inspiring, The Day the World Stops Shopping will empower you to imagine another way.
About this Author
J.B. MacKINNON is an adjunct professor at UBC Graduate School of Journalism and a regular contributor to such influential publications as The New Yorker and The Atlantic. He is the author of The 100-Mile Diet, cowritten with Alisa Smith, which catalysed the local foods movement, and inspired a Food Network TV series. He is also the author of The Once and Future World, a national bestseller that was nominated for every major non-fiction prize in Canada, and won the US Green Prize for Sustainable Literature, and Dead Man in Paradise, which won the Charles Taylor Prize for Non-Fiction. He lives in Vancouver with his partner, Alisa Smith.
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