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Time to Eat the Dog?: The Real Guide to Sustainable Living [Paperback]

Robert Vale , Brenda Vale
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Book Description

15 Jun 2009
The world and its resources are finite, yet we are seemingly locked into a system based on growth: growth of population, growth of income and growth of consumption. From this irrefutable starting point, Time to Eat the Dog? attempts to uncover what sustainability really means. Brenda and Robert Vale explore the environmental impact of the decisions we make, from what we eat and what we wear to how we travel and enjoy ourselves. Their book will make you see your life and your place in the world in a completely new light. Challenging the orthodoxies that underpin our entire economic system, this is one subversive read.


Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Thames and Hudson Ltd (15 Jun 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0500287902
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500287903
  • Product Dimensions: 3.1 x 17 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 535,755 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic detail, not a light read. 21 Jun 2009
By Mad Saint Uden TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is not a light, jolly through the joys of sustainable living - don't think 'This Morning series'.

Rather this is a detailed look at the pros and cons of how we live, have lived & could live our lives. Everything is broken into the facts and figures for example how much energy and resources are used to make a dishwasher, dishwasher tablets, vs washing up liquid, sinks, & bowls, vs soap flakes etc then the energy used to actually perform the task at hand (washing up in this case) to decide what is more 'sustainable' this goes right down to the food we eat to give us energy to do the task & what we ould grow in how much space to provide the food...

If you've ever watched a 'this morning' style section and wondered, if, really, when you worked it all out...but couldn't be bothered to work it out for yourself, then this is the book for you.

Everything is referenced and it's truly fascinating and highly detailed. it's a book that I'll take tips from it now - I'm all up for a wormery - and go back later to get more info most likely when I see something else that brings me back to wondering...sadly I wont follow all of the most sustainable ideas right away (I do feel bad about that) but I think over the next few years I'll build up to many of them.

I highly recommend this book for any environmentalist or would be and for those on 'the other side' too.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dangerously dull? 22 July 2009
By J. Dawson VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
It's possible that this book might inspire people to think a bit more about the consequences of their actions and steps they can take to live more sustainably. However I suspect the endless statistics, tables and often preachy and neagtive tone may have the exact opposite effect for some people, and lead them to draw the conclusion that nothing can be done anyway, that all the things that make life pleasant are unsustainable,and they might as well just give up now.

My other half has a PhD in mathematics, and after reading the introduction to this book, he abandoned it and declared that he was unconvinced that the authors had any realy understanding of statistics. Alas, I pressed on with the entire thing. I cannot judge the accuracy of the statistics or the authors' use of them, but I can say that as a layperson the preopnderance of figures and equations scattered liberally throughout the text does not just interrupt the flow but is actively off-putting.I nearly gave up before the end of the first chapter and was only able to read on by devising a strategy of skimming the numbers, looking only at the botttom line (when I could find it, which was in itself often difficult).

But unfortunately that is not the only problem with this book. Many of the conclusions drawn from these endless calculations are entirely unsurprising - it is more sustainable to walk, cycle,or take public transport than to drive without passengers (surprise!), or that it is bad to endlessly replace things just because they have gone out of style or a better version is now available (surprise! again).
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not what it claims on the tin 15 July 2009
By marcoscu TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
A tedious, dry read which wants to reduce the entire concept of sustainability to the nuts and bolts of carbon production/reduction which is a long way from the core principles. Sustainability is far more muddied and grey than this black and white list-book seems to suggest. For the first few dips, it's intermittently fascinating but eventually very repetitive! It reads more like a doctoral thesis than a book intended for mass/popular consumption, it's certainly not what the cover blurb would suggest which is a nuts and bolts, how-to guide to everyday sustainability.

As a reference book, I would think it could be a useful carbon-figures guide for academics. As a general-reader guide, I found it annoying and lacking.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By J. S. Hardman TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a really unusual book. From the cover it looks like it will be an unchallenging read, telling us how the world is doomed and that a bit of recycling, driving less and holidaying at home instead of abroad will save us all. It's not that at all - it's actually full of researched material, the sort of thing that you have to present when submitting assignments on degree courses, lots of tables, comparisons, etc, but somehow without becoming overly dry. It's a fairly hefty tome, but worth reading.

The basic premise is that if you divide the useable surface area of the Earth by the number of people on the Earth you work out how much useable land is available to support you personally, to feed you, to water you, to provide you with shelter, to provide you with all those consumer items you want, to provide your transport, your entertainment, even your dog's food. That's the premise and the calculations etc relate back to that. It becomes repetitive, but it's a message worth hammering into people. I suspect, though, that the consumers with the largest footprint are not necessarily the people who will read this book. More likely is that people who have already reduced their footprint will be the type of people who read this. They might then reduce their footprint a bit more, but it's the wider population who need to get the message.

Even Al Gore avoided some of the subjects covered in this book (e.g. comparing the footprint of eating meat against the footprint of eating vegetables, comparing rice with locally produced, seasonal vegetables etc). Those are subjects that the wider population needs to understand, but these are subjects that some people seem to find difficult to even contemplate.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Where did it go?
I'm really angry this book never made it to me through the royal mail, it's a first for me. I'm extremely interested in sustainability for the modern family on an average wage (not... Read more
Published on 17 Feb 2012 by klynn
3.0 out of 5 stars A book of two halves
Not a bad read, but for me something to dip in and out of.I found some of the facts both surprising and interesting, how ecological is it to use a dishwasher, for example, or what... Read more
Published on 15 Dec 2011 by Johnnybluetime
2.0 out of 5 stars TOO HEAVY FOR ME
I'm someone who's game for a lifecycle analysis of environmental impact, and thinks in terms of embodied carbon, so I was a bit surprised that this book was just too dense for me... Read more
Published on 9 Feb 2011 by Emily - London
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic guide to sustainable living
This book gives an incredible insight into how you can make your western lifestyle more sustainable. I like the way that the book is split into topics. Read more
Published on 12 Aug 2010 by Asbjørn Syverhuset
2.0 out of 5 stars Rather hard-going... [2.5 stars]
I got this book a long time ago, and I've only just reached the end after reading it on and off. It's not the succinct, attention-grabbing book of facts I expected it to be; as... Read more
Published on 27 Jan 2010 by Chantal Lyons
3.0 out of 5 stars Time to eat this book
As someone who is perhaps a little cynical of "global warming" I was pre-disposed to hate this book. It wasn't actually what I thought it was going to be. Read more
Published on 30 Sep 2009 by Brains
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book
This book is very good for what it is. If you know little about energy saving and would like to know where to start or what it is about, then this book won't be a bad... Read more
Published on 20 Sep 2009 by James T
3.0 out of 5 stars Sustainable living is not a light hearted topic; neither is this book!
Since we live on a planet with finite resources, we could do with uncovering what sustainability really means to the world in general and our own home in particular. Read more
Published on 23 July 2009 by Gaurav Sharma
4.0 out of 5 stars A somewhat quirky book of informational lists
As a lot of previous reviewers have already said, this isn't quite what it's billed to be. I hoped that a "guide to sustainable living" would put me on the right path to day to day... Read more
Published on 20 July 2009 by trishthedish
4.0 out of 5 stars Great title and an informative read
From the book's title, I have to admit I thought this book would be slightly frivolous but luckily, it's not. Read more
Published on 17 July 2009 by RC
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