Live Sustainably Now
A Low-Carbon Vision of the Good Life
by Karl Coplan
Pub Date 31 Dec 2019
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Any realistic response to climate change will require reducing carbon emissions to a sustainable level. Yet even people who already recognize that the climate is the most urgent issue facing the planet struggle to understand their individual responsibilities. Is it even possible to live with a sustainable carbon footprint in modern American society—much less to live well? What are the options for those who would like to make climate awareness part of their daily lives but don’t want to go off the grid or become a hermit? In Live Sustainably Now, Karl Coplan shares his personal journey of attempting to cut back on carbon without giving up the amenities of a suburban middle-class lifestyle. Coplan chronicles the joys and challenges of a year on a carbon budget—kayaking to work, hunting down electric-car charging stations, eating a Mediterranean-style diet, and enjoying plenty of travel on weekends and vacations while avoiding long-distance flights. He explains how to set a personal carbon cap and measure your actual footprint, with his own results detailed in monthly diary entries. Presenting the pros and cons of different energy, transportation, and lifestyle options, Live Sustainably Now shows that there does not have to be a trade-off between the ethical obligation to maintain a sustainable carbon footprint and the belief that life should be fulfilling and fun. This powerful and persuasive book provides an individual-level blueprint for a carbon-sustainable tweak to the American dream.
Karl Coplan is professor of law at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University, where he directs its environmental litigation clinic. He is a coauthor of Introduction to Environmental Law: Cases and Materials on Water Pollution Control (second edition, 2016). Coplan is also a member of the board of directors of Waterkeeper Alliance, a global network of clean water advocates.
"Karl Coplan's vision for living an ethical, meaningful, and sustainable life in the face of the climate crisis is an inspiration to all those who care about the environment. Without losing sight of the need for collective global corporate and governmental action, he shows us that it is possible to enjoy life and have fun without sacrificing the future of the planet for the instant gratification many of us have come to expect from life in the twenty-first century."
-Tatiana Schlossberg, former New York Times science writer and author of Inconspicuous Consumption: The Environmental Impact You Don't Know You Have