“From what to eat to what to invest in, she makes it clear that what seems obvious (American Apparel’s 'Made in the USA' label) is likely far less so under careful observation (American Apparel’s anti-union stance) … this is a solid choice for those willing to dive into the complexity of living with a social conscious in the 21st century.” —Booklist
“With a welcome mixture of facts and humor, Fran Hawthorne highlights the dilemmas of living an environmentally virtuous, healthy life in a fiercely consumption-oriented culture.” —Michael F. Jacobson, PhD, executive director, Center for Science in the Public Interest
A veteran journalist and levelheaded mom tackles the ethics of everyday life
Today’s shoppers don’t just consume; we investigate and categorize the impact of our decisions on climate change, animals, our health, our political views, geopolitical relationships, working conditions, and more. Yet when we actually try to live according to our principles, it can be so overwhelming, contradictory, and demanding that we want to scream. Do I buy imported organic or local nonorganic? Is it terrible if my child wants watermelon out of season?
Veteran journalist and levelheaded mom Fran Hawthorne sets out to answer these questions—and spark more. En route, she interviews activists and ordinary consumers alike, including officials from PETA, the AFL-CIO, the Sierra Club, an organization of “EcoMoms,” and the rabbinical group that has redefined kosher. She learns from ethicists, psychologists, Wall Street analysts, child-rearing experts, and policy wonks, while examining everything from Barack Obama’s union-made inaugural ball tuxedo to the conundrum of how electric cars might obtain their electricity. And she delves into socially responsible investing at a moment when the wheels have come off the economy. Her odyssey will be all too familiar and often funny for consumers who have thrown up their hands and wondered, “What’s a good liberal to do?”