Merkel noted how since 1978 humans claimed the entire sustainable yield of the earth, and ever since have been drawing down on resources at an unsustainable rate. Americans in particular consume a vastly larger "share of the pie" than most others around the world.
He provides charts and tools to help people measure their ecological footprint. Setting goals to live a richer and simpler lifestyle is encouraged. He also recommends readers to practice advice provided in the book Your Money or Your Life, by Vicki Robbins and Joe Dominguez.
He references the following valuable frugal tips:
- Buy what you need but don't "go shopping"
- Take care of what you own
- Do it yourself
- Anticipate your needs
- Get it for less
- Buy it used
- Pay off your credit-card balance
- Walk or bicycle to do errands
The goal of this book is to help most of us move through the following four stages.
- Unconscious unsustainability
- Conscious unsustainability
- Conscious sustainability
- Unconscious sustainability