May 25, 1997 in Features

Readers Can Relate To ‘Stuff’

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Did you know…

It takes half a pound of fertilizers and pesticides to produce one pound of Colombian coffee beans.

The coffee picker who harvests those beans gets paid less than $1 a day.

While 40 percent of the paper stock on which The Spokesman-Review is printed is recycled, the remainder comes from fresh wood pulp.

The average American consumes 120 pounds of “stuff” each and every day.

If you didn’t know these things, you’re not alone. Most of us don’t. That’s why John Ryan and Alan Thein have written “Stuff: The Secret Lives of Everyday Things.”

Ryan, who will read from the book in Spokane on Wednesday (see reader board below), wants such secrets unveiled. And as research director for Northwest Environmental Watch, Ryan makes such unveilings his business.

“At NEW,” he told S-R reporter Mike Guilfoil in February, “we struggled with how to present this information in a way that can grab more people’s interest. Our goal was to tackle this really sensitive issue in a non-preachy and personally relevant way.”

In “Stuff,” he and Thein did that by emphasizing “everyday objects that people can relate to.”

Objects such as T-shirts, hamburgers, cars, computers, etc., that have hidden costs.

“Our message,” Ryan told Guilfoil, “is that what we do every day does make a difference. It won’t make the whole difference. We can’t save the world with just 50 simple things. But personal changes, combined with efforts to change the overall system, can have a big impact.”

Looking ahead

The next Spokane Public Library used-book sale will be held on Saturday, June 7, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the downtown branch, 906 W. Main.

Most hardbacks will go for 50 cents, paperbacks for a quarter. Special prices will be as marked.

For further information, call 626-5312.

Autograph parties

Rainier Rey, author of the science fiction book “Replicator Run,” will sign copies of his straight-to-paperback book from 11:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday at Auntie’s Bookstore, Main and Washington.

Stan W. Johnson, author of the regional histories “The Milwaukee Road in Idaho: A Guide to Sites and Locations” and “The Milwaukee Revisited,” will sign copies of the books from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Book & Game Co. in Coeur d’Alene’s Silver Lake Mall.

The reader board

Jan Karon, author of the Mitford Series, will read from her latest installment, “These High, Green Hills,” at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Auntie’s Bookstore.

John Ryan, co-author of “Stuff: The Secret Lives of Everyday Things,” will read from his book at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Auntie’s Bookstore.

Caroline James, author of “Nez Perce Women in Transition,” will read from her book at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Auntie’s Bookstore.

, DataTimes


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