Citizen Reviews: Ecological Intelligence

Two months ago, I asked for M&Q customers who would review books for us. I got a great response–so much so that I fell behind in posting the reviews. My apologies to those of you whose fine work is still in the hopper; I have not forgotten.

To kick off the series I’m calling “Citizen Reviews,” April Nelson discusses Daniel Goleman’s latest book. Goleman’s previous book Emotional Intelligence showed that smart is more than IQ. His latest book aims to teach us all to be smarter consumers, too. –David E

Ecological Intelligence: How Knowing the Hidden Impacts of What We Buy Can Change Everything
My consumer’s dilemma has to do with attempting to make ecologically responsible decisions in my day-to-day life, but not always having easy access to the information necessary. What Daniel Goleman proposes to combat this dilemma, in his book Ecological Intelligence, is the idea of radical transparency. Radical transparency, as Goleman defines the term, is “tracking every substantial impact of an item from manufacture to disposal—not just its carbon footprint and other environmental costs, but its biological risks, as well as its consequences for those who labored to make it—and summarizing those impacts for shoppers as they are deciding what to purchase.”

While I was reading, thoughts kept bubbling up in the back of my mind about the pair of Nike workout pants I’d recently purchased, and their questionable stigma. A few passing mentions in the book suggest that Nike has done a lot to improve their social impact. It would have been great if, when I was shopping for workout pants, I had been able to tell quickly each company’s environmental, biological and social impacts. Goleman gives inspiring examples of retailers that have already taken it upon themselves to provide these services to their customers and innovative concerned citizens that have created databases providing easily accessible information to consumers.

I have always thought that if manufacturers were to change their ways (i.e., their manufacturing methods or the chemicals they use in their products), the change would have to come about through government regulations. I was very excited to read Goleman’s support of the idea that our power as consumers, including business-to-business consumers, is considerable. The bottom line of this book is that businesses are prepared to cater to consumers’ desires, whether they are centered around ecological responsibility or saving money. The inspiring thing: the two do not seem to be mutually exclusive.

By day, April Nelson is an attorney’s sidekick. By night, she is a Minneapolis-dwelling, voraciously-reading, dog-loving, eagerly-bicycling student pursuing a biology degree.

2 thoughts on “Citizen Reviews: Ecological Intelligence

  1. In response to <>Ecological Intelligence<><><><>Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment.<><><>Industrial Society is destroying necessary things <>[Animals, Trees, Air, Water and Land]<> for making unnecessary things <>[consumer goods].<><><><>“Growth Rate” – “Economy Rate” – “GDP”<><><>
    <>These are figures of “Ecocide”.
    These are figures of “crimes against Nature”.
    These are figures of “destruction of Ecosystems”.
    These are figures of “Insanity, Abnormality and Criminality”.<><><><>The link between Mind and Social / Environmental-Issues.<><><>The fast-paced, consumerist lifestyle of Industrial Society is causing exponential rise in psychological problems besides destroying the environment. All issues are interlinked. Our Minds cannot be peaceful when attention-spans are down to nanoseconds, microseconds and milliseconds. Our Minds cannot be peaceful if we destroy Nature <>[Animals, Trees, Air, Water and Land].<><><><>Chief Seattle<> of the Indian Tribe had warned the destroyers of ecosystems way back in 1854 :<><><>Only after the last tree has been cut down,
    Only after the last river has been poisoned,
    Only after the last fish has been caught,
    Only then will you realize that you cannot eat money.<><><>To read the complete article please follow any of these links.<><>< HREF="" REL="nofollow">Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment<><><>< HREF="" REL="nofollow">Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment<><><>< HREF="" REL="nofollow">Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment<><><>< HREF="" REL="nofollow">Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment<><><>sushil_yadav
    Delhi, India

  2. I’ve seen some less-substantial efforts than Goleman undertakes to trace product production back to its roots, such as a short piece in Runner’s World recently about what it takes to make a shoe and transport it to the consumer.

    More like what Goleman calls for would help make consumers more savvy about their purchases.

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