I borrowed The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard from the library sometime in August, and then commenced a frenzied reading of it, defying Car Sickness Gods and bedtimes and personal hygiene to finish the book because it was on a 14-day new release loan with no option to renew. Cruel library policy. Anyway, it's a dense note-taking sort of book that should come with a study guide. A write-in-the-margins-if-it-were-my-own-copy, take-your-time and-read-every-interesting-fact-out-loud-to-whoever-else-is-near-you sort of book.
Actually, what really seals the deal is that although it's almost guaranteed that a sickening feeling of guilt will settle over you during many chapters, the author is careful to emphasize that this is not the fault of individuals and individual-level choices. That reducing, reusing and recycling are important but they aren't the end goal and aren't even the most important things we can do. The most important thing we can do is demand systemic change: from government, from corporations and from top-level decision-makers. Leonard argues that it's not enough to worry about waste once it's generated; we need to go upstream to stop the waste from ever being made. So it's not a "ten simple things you can do to save the planet" piece (although there are plenty of those lists and it's a nice place to start) and it's not designed to make you paranoid about every product you buy, every company you support or every store you visit. It's written to make you think, to question the status quo of consumption and waste, and to help change the current paradigm to one that will sustain our limited resources for us and for future generations. Give it a read.
And that's all I have to say about that.
Have you read The Story of Stuff too? We'll start a book club and compare margin notes over a short glass of apple jack and a platter of crudites. Tell me about it in the comments or, as long as we're talking about book clubs, any recent recommendations you've got.