The Hidden Impacts of What We Buy
Crown Business, Paperback, 9780385527835, 288pp.
Publication Date: March 30, 2010
We buy herbal shampoos that contain industrial chemicals that can threaten our health or contaminate the environment. We dive down to see coral reefs, not realizing that an ingredient in our sunscreen feeds a virus that kills the reef. We wear organic cotton t-shirts, but don t know that its dyes may put factory workers at risk for leukemia. In "Ecological Intelligence," Daniel Goleman reveals why so many of the products that are labeled green are a mirage, and illuminates our wild inconsistencies in response to the ecological crisis.
Drawing on cutting-edge research, Goleman explains why we as shoppers are in the dark over the hidden impacts of the goods and services we make and consume, victims of a blackout of information about the detrimental effects of producing, shipping, packaging, distributing, and discarding the goods we buy.
But the balance of power is about to shift from seller to buyer, as a new generation of technologies informs us of the ecological facts about products at the point of purchase. This radical transparency will enable consumers to make smarter purchasing decisions, and will drive companies to rethink and reform their businesses, ushering in, Goleman claims, a new age of competitive advantage.
“Goleman's critiques are scathing, but his conclusion is heartening: a new generation of industrial ecologists is mapping the exact impact of every production process, which could challenge consumers to change their behavior in substance rather than just show.”
-- Publishers Weekly
“A convincing case that information alone–provided that it’s easy for shoppers to access–can spur an ecological revolution.”
-- Kirkus Reviews
“Former New York Times columnist Goleman (Emotional Intelligence)… persuasively argues that radical transparency–which includes environmental, social, biological, and worker safety and health impacts–will better enable consumers to make decisions based on what matters most to them. Goleman's discussion of individual shopping habits is particularly interesting, including the need to be aware of superficial service and product claims…Although individual decisions are important, he asserts that group action and institutions can create market pressure to shift to sustainable practices and that digital tools can play an effective role in shaping collective awareness and creating coordinated action. Recommended for readers interested in business or environmental issues.”
-- Library Journal
"Ecological Intelligence is a fascinating whodunit revealing the intricate processes that create our material world. Written by the acknowledged master on how to be a truly intelligent human being, Goleman reveals the complex web of impacts everyday products have upon people and habitat and how a new form of intelligence can radically alter consumption patterns from destructive to constructive."
-- Paul Hawken, Author of the Ecology of Commerce and Blessed Unrest
“The eight hundred pound gorilla behind virtually all of the ‘sustainability challenges’ is you, and me, the consumer. The problem is not that we are bad but that we have been blind to the impacts of our every-day choices - which is about to change. As Goleman shows, new information technologies and growing public concern are awakening our intrinsic desire to do what is right to shape a healthier world for our children and grandchildren.”
-- Peter Senge, Director of the Center for Organizational Learning at the MIT Sloan School of Management and author of The Fifth Discipline, The Dance of Change, Presence, and The Necessary Revolution
“Drawing on his capacious intelligence Daniel Goleman dissects the issues involved in the attainment of long term sustainability and details promising and intriguing solutions. Once again, he has written an essential book.”
-- Howard Gardner, author and Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education
“Our civilization faces a sobering, momentous challenge, one of the most profound in its history: the ominous possibility of ecological collapse, and Dan Goleman provides fresh insight and the most intelligent, thoughtful plan to confront it. Goleman skillfully weaves together his argument, through a masterful combination of logic and persuasion, about how we can apply our intelligence to this pressing question. Goleman makes a powerful and compelling case that how we answer this question will determine not just our fate, but the fate of our children and even life on this planet. This book should be required reading for every politician, policy maker, and citizen of this planet. It should sit on the desk of everyone who is concerned about making the best, most intelligent choices for our destiny.”
-- Michio Kaku, Professor of Theoretical Physics, author of Physics of the Impossible and Parallel Worlds
“The market place is a democratic voting booth, if we chose to make it so -- we the consumer get to decide which companies will succeed and which ones fail. Dan Goleman's Ecological Intelligence provides tools for voting consciously and rationally. An eloquent "must read" bridge between business and consumer that crosses generational gaps and lights the path to an environmentally sustainable and socially just destination.”
-- John Perkins, bestselling author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man