In a brilliant work of imaginative non-fiction, prize-winning author J.B. MacKinnon asks what would happen--to our economy, our ecology, our products, our selves--if we stopped consuming so much? Is that alternative world one we might actually want to live in?
We can't stop shopping. And yet we must. This is the consumer dilemma.
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, as we've seen in the pandemic, 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?
At first, 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.
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.
Journalist and author J.B. MACKINNON coined the term "the 100 Mile Diet," and his book Plenty is widely considered a catalyst of the local foods movement. His essays on natural history have appeared in Orion, Reader's Digest, and other magazines. He is based in Vancouver, Canada.