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Time to Eat the Dog?: The Real Guide to Sustainable Living Paperback – 15 Jun 2009

3.4 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Thames and Hudson Ltd; 01 edition (15 Jun. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0500287902
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500287903
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 22.9 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 127,066 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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By J. Dawson VINE VOICE on 22 July 2009
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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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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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
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. In theory, this is what the authors of this book Robert and Brenda Vale set out to do.

Sandwiched between an introduction and a conclusion are seven detailed chapters titled - Food, Transport, Buildings, Stuff "we" have at home, Time to Spare, Work and Rites of Passage. No one disputes that our resources are finite. Hence, the Vales are asking two principal questions. First of all, how can we continue to grow on a finite planet? Secondly, when will we have enough?

What follows is a cacophony of figures and a perceptively detailed analysis of how we live, should or could live. Sources of figures quoted range from animal owners to car brochures, from NASA to closet loonies of all descriptions, from government statistics to private surveys. The veracity of research and referencing should not be doubted but the tone in which it is presented is open to questioning.

The mind sees (or in this case reads) what it chooses to see based on our backgrounds, prejudices and opinions on such a touchy subject. I find this book's narrative fluctuates between worrying facts and exaggerated nonsense. It makes a bold claim of making 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."

Subversive it surely is, but coherent it's most certainly not! It is one thing to advocate sustainability (and rightly so) but another to make it relevant enough to impact change. This book succeeds in the former but fails in the latter.
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