The Day the World Stops Shopping Summary and Reviews

The Day the World Stops Shopping

How Ending Consumerism Saves the Environment and Ourselves

by J.B. MacKinnon

The Day the World Stops Shopping by J.B. MacKinnon X
The Day the World Stops Shopping by J.B. MacKinnon
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Book Summary

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.

We can't stop shopping. And yet we must. This is the consumer dilemma.

The economy says we must always consume more: even the slightest drop in spending leads to widespread unemployment, bankruptcy, and home foreclosure.

The planet says we consume too much: in America, we burn the earth's resources at a rate five times faster than it can regenerate. And despite 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.

Addressing this paradox head-on, acclaimed journalist J. B. MacKinnon asks, What would really happen if we simply stopped shopping? Is there a way to reduce our consumption to earth-saving levels without triggering 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 the thought experiment came shockingly true: the coronavirus brought shopping to a halt, and MacKinnon's ideas were tested in real time.

Drawing from experts in fields ranging from climate change to economics, 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: An investment in our physical and emotional wellness. The pleasure of caring for our possessions. Closer relationships with our natural world and one another. Imaginative and inspiring, The Day the World Stops Shopping will embolden you to envision another way.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"While many of the concepts are familiar, the author digs deeper than most. Rather than allowing his conclusions to be directed by the theories of others, MacKinnon traveled the world, conducting interviews with experts and gathering information to support his findings...A well-researched and provocative analysis offering hope and optimism for our future." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"[I]ntriguing...[MacKinnon's] thought experiment is well-researched and stimulating. Readers will be galvanized to make changes in their own buying habits." - Publishers Weekly

"Dissecting the dilemma at civilization's heart—the burden that reckless growth heaps upon the faltering Earth—J.B. MacKinnon lays out a wealth of knowledge and wisdom in a gripping, page-turning read. With wit, precision, and startling insights from around the world, he looks deeply into what we have done, and might do so much better. A model of clarity and grace, The Day the World Stops Shopping is one of the most important and well-written books I have read." - Ronald Wright, author of A Short History of Progress

"In a large pool of often simplistic manuals for simple living, this book stands out for its curiosity, humanity and genuinely global appreciation of why we consume too much and what to do about it." - Frank Trentmann, author of Empire of Things: How We Became a World of Consumers, from the Fifteenth Century to the Twenty-First

This information about The Day the World Stops Shopping shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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More Information

J. B. MacKinnon is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in the New Yorker, National Geographic, and The Atlantic, as well as the Best American Science and Nature Writing anthologies. He is also the author of four books of nonfiction, including the bestselling Plenty (with Alisa Smith), widely recognized as a catalyst of the local foods movement. He lives in Vancouver, Canada.

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