Teresa Belton/SilverWood Books/£13.95/ISBN 978-1-78132-260-4
Can we live environmentally friendly lives without making sacrifices to our wellbeing and happiness? This is probably a familiar question to environmentalists and, while not promising a definitive answer, this book contributes to the debate.
The first 40 pages provide an excellent summary of the current state of the environment, wellbeing research and new thinking in economics. It is here, for example, that readers will find out that Costa Ricans score the highest happiness per unit of environmental impact. The rest of the book is a loosely structured collection of insights into how some people can be happy with minimal environmental impact. The author draws on her research on a collection of UK people who are self-declared “modest consumers” with high wellbeing scores. Chapter titles such as “The significance of experience” and “The place of spirituality” will give the reader an idea of what to expect. Apart from the chapter, “Nurturing playfulness”, the work is well referenced and stimulates thought. Overall, the book is readable and gives insights into how some people lead happy lives without consuming too many resources. And they didn’t have to move to Costa Rica to do it.
Richard Lupo, senior sustainability consultant at Sustainable Homes.