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

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  1,301 ratings  ·  241 reviews
*First Place Winner of the Society of Environmental Journalists' Rachel Carson Environment Book Award*

"If you're looking for something to cling to in what often feels like a hopeless conversation, Schlossberg's darkly humorous, knowledge-is-power, eyes-wide-open approach may be just the thing."--Vogue

From a former New York Times science writer, this urgent
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published August 27th 2019 by Grand Central Publishing (first published August 22nd 2019)
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Average rating 3.78  · 
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THIS is the "the world is ending due to climate change and consumerism and capitalism" book I've been wanting to read. I've read a ton, and many of them are quick to suggest that as individuals we can save the world (we can't). They make us feel bad, then say it's up to us to change things. Sure, it is. But there are huge factors outside our daily lives that we cannot change, and we're left in the dark on so many other things purposefully that even if we think we're "doing good," we're actually ...more
Sep 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
The book is chockfull of important information and deserved a higher rating . Unfortunately, the author constantly inserts herself into the narrative in irrelevant asides and attempts to be humorous. While making these critical issues accessible is a good thing, jokey nonsense is a distraction.
Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
While it's nice to read a book that hits the major environmental issues in an easy-to-read way without sacrificing science, all the cheeky or snarky parenthetical comments had my eyes rolling before I even got to the second section of the book. I appreciated learning more about the environmental impacts/costs of the Internet/technology and fashion, but I was pretty familiar with the rest of the information in the book, especially concerning food. Decent read if you're totally not up to speed on ...more
Bam cooks the books ;-)
This is Climate Strike Day! As I'm writing this, young people and adults are striking all across the world to demand transformative action to address the climate crisis. Hopefully this movement will grow and grow, demanding answers to the problems the world is facing.

Tatiana Schlossberg is a journalist writing about climate change and the environment. What makes this book different from many others on the subject is that she examines how the little things we do and use every day are having a hu
Wendy Capron
Nov 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Of all the super depressing environmental books I've read in the last 6 months, this is probably my favourite. I enjoyed her asides - that some reviewers found snarky. Also, she completely endorses what I want to do anyway - never going anywhere and rarely buying anything. ...more
Dec 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Cherimoya enthusiasts, Mark Twain
Recommended to Kate by: 363.7 SC
Shelves: sustainability
The subtitle is "The Environmental Impact You Don't Know You Have." In most cases, I did know about the impact already, but in many it is even worse than I thought. Imperatives for us all: Don't eat meat, not even seafood. Don't drive a car or use Transportation Network Companies (such as Uber or Lyft), which are often even worse. Don't order online, especially not from Amazon or expedited delivery. If you can't get it locally, buy used or forgo it. Don't use air conditioning. Change your house ...more
Natalie Tyler
I think this book is essential reading for people who know something about climate change and agree that they need to reduce their "carbon footprint". I thought I was doing that, but this book revealed "the environmental impact" I did not know I have. I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to know more but who prefers to read fiction.

While this book may be familiar turf to those immersed in fighting our ecocide, for the average person (like me) who considers himself or herself to be "educat
Jan 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
Thoroughly researched and very well written. A bit too into the weeds at times, but overall a great read.

Concrete changes Schlossberg inspires:

Wash jeans every fifth wear
(try to) buy fewer athleisure outfits
Carbon offset flights (
Recycle electronics
Standard (rather than expedited) shipping so that fewer trucks/cargo ships travel at half capacity
Nov 21, 2019 rated it liked it
This book is a well curated survey course on climate change. I recommend it, even though I gave it only 3 stars.

It would have been a 4 star read, for what it is, if the author had given her audience more credit and not indulged in attention seeking behavior.

The environmental impact you don't know you have? Really? Only if you been living in a cave your entire life.

On page 57: "Now that I have revolutionized your understanding . . . " The author is like the kid who learns something new for the f
Jul 30, 2020 rated it liked it
This was a very informative read, but it was like reading a textbook. I could only read a couple chapters at a time. Was a very depressing read overall, heh, since the conclusion seems to be that everything we do is destroying the environment, and changing our individual habits won't make much of a difference (the changes need to be widescale and prevalent in order to make a real difference). Still, I feel much more aware of the environmental impact of everything I do and this book will stay wit ...more
Ellen Loulou
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
Dnf. It means well. An excellent term paper. Not a a very good book.
Aug 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I've been reading a lot of books on this topic lately in an effort to bully myself out of deeply ingrained consumerist habits. This book doesn't say anything wildly different than the ten thousand others out there, but I really vibe with the author's voice - the tone is serious throughout with occasional snark and sarcasm that (for me) was a pleasant break from the bleak prospects of our environmental future. ...more
Sep 15, 2019 rated it liked it
While the research in this book was super interesting, the author’s awkward sense of humor was not.

I did learn a lot about our everyday environmental impact. And I do think that everyone should be forced to learn this stuff too. But I also got very annoyed by the author trying to insert herself into the narrative in irrelevant ways, and at her editor for allowing it to make it through to the final version. (Maybe it was less awkward in print, but the audiobook felt so juvenile.)

So if anyone has
Sep 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
3.75, honestly I wanted to stop listening to this book after the first 5 minutes but i am glad i decided to persevere. On the plus side, the book does an admirable job of pointing out areas where one might not realize the full scope of the problem being caused by particular consumption habits. The book is understandable, not too technical and addresses the issues that could be caused by proposed solutions. For the most part, she is nonpartisan. What i did not like about the book were attempts at ...more
Beth Gordon
Jun 01, 2021 rated it liked it
There were parts of this book that seemed really esoteric. There were parts that seemed very pragmatic. And there were some parts that got me mad. I think the author's thrust was to make you mad and to get you to change your ways. I'm not sure she achieved that in most respects, but it was still a good read.

Too esoteric: When you watch Netflix (or are on the internet - yet streaming services are the biggest offenders), you are burning electricity. It takes electricity for the internet to run. A
Aug 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lady-authors, 2020
Over the last ten+ years, I've read a lot about the climate crisis. sustainability, and related topics. This has been along the spectrum of very light pop-sci articles about ~the most sustainable bedding brand~ to dense academic works. Most of the things that are actually worth reading are very depressing because what they deal with is very depressing.

This is a depressing book, don't get me wrong, but it is less depressing than a lot of other books on the topic, and is less about Science and Pol
Sep 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
On the one hand, I really wanted to be dead already, because who wants arctic melt? My highest anxiety comes from all the horrible bacteria and viruses trapped under the permafrost that will get released when the permafrost melts. Which isn’t described in the book, thank heavens. But I already sadly have vivid nightmares about it - I won’t move to Canada because I don’t want to be patient zero or any other number (there’s no logic to this) - so that part really wasn’t necessary.

Everything else
Cassandra Fay
Mar 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing.

“I scream, you scream, we all scream for uniform plant structures”

Capitalism vs. Climate Change, ding ding.

At first, it is super daunting and scary, Tatiana opens up the book talking about how using the Internet (yes, the internet) to the extent that we are now is in part also causing the climate change that we are experiencing today. She tells us why, how we can do better, and she also does a deep dive on other topics that are close to home for all of us. She explains ever
Mar 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A look at how each persons daily habits effect the environment. Yes everyone is responsible. No you can not push it on to someone else to deal with. Yes you can do something about it. Vote, contact your favourite stores/brands. Advocate for change in small ways.

This is the basic tenet that Tatiana Scholssberg is putting across in this book. She does say that it really is not up to the consumer to be extremely knowledgeable about everything that is purchased. We do not make the items. It is just
Chaitanya Sethi
I did not enjoy this book at all. It's a basic primer on sustainability and one that tries to introduce the idea at an individual level - the impact that our day to day lives have on the climate overall. The idea behind the book was that if you read reports about sustainability and climate change, it makes you feel helpless and insignificant at a personal level(agreed) and that most people want to be able to make eco-friendly decisions but lack the knowledge(agreed). It covers four basic grounds ...more
Carrie Hunsucker
Feb 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
I wanted to stop listening to this book because it invoked panic attacks and depression, but also at times made me laugh out loud with her dry wit and sense of humor. It made me feel helpless to create meaningful change in the path we are headed with the climate. I REALLY did want a checklist at the end for ways we can help change our trajectory. But the author admits she will not provide such a list. Perhaps she knows that would be a pacifier for the bad feelings that reading about this subject ...more
Jun 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
As I was reading this, I kept getting depressed. I don't know why I thought I wouldn't. This book spells out in several areas how our actions as consumers affect the whole world. "In the name of convenience or immediate gratification or profit, we've created a world where we use resources because we can, with little attention paid to our waste and the problems it creates. We've imagined that our actions are not connected to each other, as if we don't live on one planet with one ocean and one atm ...more
Jun 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Listening on audio, I wished the entire time it'd been recorded by a professional narrator versus the author, but that's really beside the point. This exceeded my expectations. It surprised me that this didn't seem agenda-based in the sense of touting singular, right-wrong paths. This journalist instead provided a deep, equitable delve into the many interwoven, intricate cause-and-effect facets of the topics she researched. And gotta give bonus points for it NOT reading like research!

I learned a
This is the book everyone should read!

I've read (okay tried to read) a few climate change books and let's be real, most are boring and overly technical.

This book has short chapters that are easy to read but pack in interesting information. It connects that big hairy topic of climate change to the actions we have every day.

It's structured around four topics: Internet Food, Fashion, and Fuel.

I can't recommend this enough. You'll learn why you watching more Netflix may harm village access to water
Dec 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is so much information to take in and so much to research. I felt like the author shared more about what’s harming the planet than how we could start changing little by little the things we do, use and buy. Maybe that wasn’t the point of the audio book, finding quick solutions. Regardless I’ll have to start being more cautious about my choices and think about how in the long run it’ll affect the planet and the kids of tomorrow.
Feb 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
4.5/5 This was a really interesting read. I like to think I’m someone who pays attention to the choices I make and how those choices impact the environment, and this read broadened my knowledge further, proving there is all ways more to learn. It opened my eyes to the frustrating ways our Earth is being decimated that aren’t always apparent. It’s quippy and funny which kept me engaged; this is not a dry scientific account of the climate crisis. I’d go ahead and say this should be required readin ...more
Aug 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
The author of this book has a good sense of humour and writes well. This book is about the hidden costs of our actions, including laundry, cell phones, shipping, driving, air travel, eating and what not.

I have to say that while this is a great book ,this was NOT the book for me to read during the pandemic. It just made me feel anxious and guilty.

Great book, wrong timing.
Katie Bruell
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have to admit that I frequently zoned out for a sentence or two while reading this book, especially when it got a little technical, but the humor always brought me back, and I do feel like I learned a lot from reading it.
Becky Gaiovnik
Dec 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This only gets a 4 as a flag for the fact that the author constantly inserts herself into this book. I grew to like it.

Everyone should read this book and then go buy a copy for their mother and father and neighbor. Then we should all be ashamed of ourselves.
Barbara Harmonay armiento
There were many reasons given for global warming and climate change, including some surprises, and they include our discarded e-products, the manufacture of clothing, goats in Mongolia, air conditioners, and deforestation in the southeast U.S. Most of us know that the greatest threat to our world is carbon emissions from cars, trucks, planes, and ships.
Ms. Schlossberg's final recommendations are to vote for people who will make changes in the environmental laws in our country and in the world.
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“Compared to cotton, synthetic fibers require a lot less water to produce, but that’s not necessarily a good enough argument for using them, since they have other significant impacts: they are still made of oil, and their production can require a lot of energy. MIT calculated that the global impact of producing polyester alone was somewhere between 706 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, or about what 185 coal-fired power plants emit in a year.2 Samit Chevli, the principal investigator for biomaterials at DuPont, the giant chemical company, has said that it will be hundreds of years before regular polyester degrades.3 Plus, while the chemicals used in production typically aren’t released to the environment, if factories don’t have treatment systems in the last phase of production, they can release antimony, an element that can be harmful to human health, as well as other toxins and heavy metals. Despite having just written a good amount about the impacts associated with the production of synthetic fibers, that’s actually not why I wanted to call attention to your yoga pants and dry-fit sweat-wicking T-shirts, which we wear out to dinner. It is hard for me to leave my fashion critique at the door, but what I actually want to say about synthetic fibers is that they are everywhere—not just in all of our clothes, but literally everywhere: rivers, lakes, oceans, agricultural fields, mountaintops, glaciers. Everywhere. Synthetic fibers, actually, may be one of the most abundant, widespread, and stubborn forms of pollution that we have inadvertently created.” 2 likes
“Maybe you don't think it's helpful to hear how big the problem is and how we're making it worse without thinking about it. I agree: the size of the problem and the narrative of personal responsibility is destructive! It makes us feel guilty about everything we do, even though we had no idea and weren't responsible for setting up the cattle industry! It shouldn't be the consumer's responsibility to find out what type of fish is okay to eat, or which inexpensive cashmere sweater is okay to buy (which is not to say you should eat fish and wear cheap cashmere with abandon). Instead, it should be up to the company to produce cashmere responsible or not to catch and sell fish that shouldn't be caught and sold, since the companies making money from these activities are the experts (theoretically) who control how the product is made. That's a change we can demand companies make. We don't have to buy their products if they are unwilling to at least tell us where they come from.” 2 likes
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