Friday, February 13, 2009

Confessions of an Eco-Sinner

Mom got this book from the library the other day. I didn't really understand what it was about until Mom gave me a synopsis. I didn't think Mom was an eco-sinner, but after hearing about this book, I think she is. Even though she is super conscience of living a green life, there are just too many ways to be an eco-sinner in our global economy.

What would happen if you took a journey around the world to find where the source of all your 'stuff' comes from? This is exactly what Fred Pearce did and it is not only shocking, it is a eye opening wakeup call. He went through his house, from his wedding ring, to the food he eats, to the furniture he sits on, to the clothes he wears, and tracked the raw materials back to their origin. He traveled more than 110,000 miles on his journey which begs the comment "Nice carbon footprint". Pearce is more concerned about personal footprints than carbon footprints because so few of us know anything about the people and places that enable our nice, sweet Western lifestyle.

I admit that I don't need much and that I consume very little, yet I am still guilty of being an eco-sinner. I am what I like to call guilty by association. I live with Mom and Dad who, like the rest of the Western world are eco-sinners, so that makes me one too. I believe that the global economy is good for the world and that the real lesson from this book is awareness. All of us need to be aware of where our 'stuff' comes from so that we can make educated choices when shopping. There are right and wrong choices when purchasing almost everything, and when you make yourself aware of the right choices, you become part of the solution instead of part of the problem.

All of us cannot take a global journey of 'stuff' discovery, but thankfully Fred Pearce did. His book will open your eyes and your heart to the way people around the world make a living - by producing our 'stuff'. The conditions most people work under are not pretty - they are exploited, forced into slave labor, exposed to toxic chemicals, etc. - but the people are almost always beautiful. They all want what we have - prosperity - and we must remember that we are the most fortunate people in the world, despite current conditions.

The world - our world, their world - needs us to take action right now. Educate yourself about your 'stuff' and then spread the word. This book is a must read for you and for your neighbor, for your best friend and your enemy. Read it, discuss it, and live it.

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