The Economical Environmentalist
My Attempt to Live a Low-Carbon Life and What it Cost
Reducing your carbon emissions in an economic down-turn can be challenging, but saving the planet doesn't have to cost you more. Tough economic times need not relegate concerns for the planet to the back burner. The author is an environmental economist trying to live a low-carbon life in London. He worked for 15 years in the UK's Office of Climate Change, the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit and the Department of the Environment. So far so good. But he has kids. A family to visit in India. A hectic job. In distilling and building on his own experience of trying to live a low carbon life, he helps us navigate the choices that confront us all - families, singletons, pensioners - when making decisions about what to eat, what to buy, how to travel and how to keep warm in the era of climate change and economic turmoil. He works out the sums and lets us know which choices will make the biggest difference, and which are false savings. His book is an irreverent but seriously rigorous reference guide to low-cost, low-carbon living for everyone - in any location - in tough times. It's brimming with up-to-date information on current and future technologies, tips and ideas for every budget on how to spend the least for the biggest carbon reduction gain and insight from the experiences of people trying to live low-carbon lives.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction 2. The Economic and Environmental Challenges 3. From Field to Fork - Reducing the Environmental Impacts of Eating 4. Getting from A to B - Reducing Emissions from Travel 5. Keeping your Home Warm 6. Our Friends Electric 7. Waste Not, Want Not 8. Travel and Leisure 9. Carbon-offsetting, Communities and Social Change
Prashant Vaze is the Chief Economist at Consumer Focus, UK. Previously he spent 15 years in the UK's Office of Climate Change, the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit and the Department of the Environment.
'Climate change will not be solved by Governments and businesses alone; it will take the efforts of people and communities changing their purchases and habits. It is rare to read a book that so well combines solid analysis and real life experience with wit and candour. Vaze has drawn on his skills as a former Government economist to produce such a guide.' Nicholas Stern, IG Patel Professor and Chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment 'This is an exhilarating read, written with pace and passion and full of creative solutions on the big issues of environmental sanity and social justice.' Ed Mayo, Chief Executive Co-operatives UK and former Chief Executive of Consumer Focus 'This book has ideas, lessons, thoughts and encouragement for us all. Above all it shows how a low-carbon life can be a rich, rewarding, high-enjoyment thing to aim for.' Chris Smith, Chairman Environment Agency 'This is a really excellent book: practical, optimistic and honest. Everyone should read it.' Stephen Tindale, Climate and Energy Consultant, former Executive-Director GreenpeaceUK 'We need to cut our emissions here in the UK by 40% in the next ten years. This will be very challenging. But it is feasible, affordable, and far from undermining our quality of life could actually enhance it. In this excellent book, Prashant Vaze provides us with a very practical assessment of what needs to be done. He successfully bridges the gap between high level analysis and everyday living. He shows that there are many opportunities for each of us to make our contribution to tackling dangerous climate change and building a green economy.' David Kennedy, Chief Executive of the Committee on Climate Change 'Walking the walk on low carbon living is much harder than talking the talk. But it is doable and has some unexpected rewards, as Prashant Vaze demonstrates admirably in this entertaining book.' Dr. Samuel Fankhauser, Senior Fellow, Grantham Research Institute, London School of Economics 'Climate change will not be solved by Governments and businesses alone; it will take the efforts of people and communities changing their purchases and habits. It is rare to read a book that so well combines solid analysis and real life experience with wit and candour. Vaze has drawn on his skills as a former Government economist to produce such a guide. This is an excellent book aimed at anyone genuinely interested in reducing their own emissions. It provides insights into many of the different technologies available to people, explaining how they work and their cost-effectiveness. This type of action brings communities together and builds the political will which is crucial for action on the necessary scale.' Nicholas Stern, IG Patel Professor and Chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment 'One of the cheering points about the book is that the author is neither proscriptive nor preachy: he's an economist, he's given you what must be the clearest and most accurate data available on every possible lifestyle choice.' Natalie Bennett, editor of The Guardian Weekly , London 'I've been dealing with global warming issues for 35 years and those coming fresh to it often assume everyone else is too. Thus, for me, it's hard to find a new angle and, I must admit, it's expectation I used when planning this review. Slowly but surely I was persuaded otherwise.. Overall, this is a surprise of a text, one of the best I've reviewed this year and certainly a definite must-buy for the institution and personal library.' Paul S. Ganderton, TENews, British Ecological Society 'Those of us resolving to lead a lower-carbon life in 2010 could do worse than acquire a copy of Prashant Vaze�s new book, The Economical Environmentalist, in which the author picks over the fine details of his life [working out] how much CO2 he could save by driving more slowly, installing loft insulation or becoming a vegetarian. The result ... is delightfully geeky and has the virtue of being right more often than not.' The Financial Times 'The down to earth writing - light but still serious- was a delight to read...any educator could come at this aspect of environmental education from any subject. Students would easily be hooked on this book.' Ecogeog, Reviews 'This is a surprise of a text, one of the best I've reviewed this year and certainly a must-buy for the institution and personal library.' Ecogeog, Reviews 'The book is an irreverent, but seriousl rigourous reference guide to low-cost, low-carbon living for everyone in any location and in tough times.' Abstracts of Public Administration, Development, and Environment. 'The Economical Environmentalist is truly a personal account, aimed at individuals...his tips are realistic'. Mobility Magazine.