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"Brownlash" is what the Ehrlichs call "those efforts made to minimize the seriousness of environmental problems" still bedeviling planet Earth. This happy bunch—Gregg Easterbrook, Julian Simon, Dixy Lee Ray, et al.—have twisted the findings of empirical science and arrived at a body of antiscience, suggest the Ehrlichs, for less than ethical ends. The Ehrlichs have no issue with scientists who challenge conventional thinking, but they find repugnant the brownlash that is simply a vehicle for right-wing ideology or to further some economic or political goal. Since scientific knowledge is not one of the hallmarks of this country's population, the brownlashers have managed to sow seeds of doubt. So the husband-and-wife environmental science team explains once again overpopulation, global climate change, ozone depletion, and losses of biodiversity. They answer questions about the dangers with brisk, no-nonsense answers: They write about a population overshooting the carrying capacity of its turf; about renewable resources becoming nonrenewable due to rate of use; about long-term sustainability and ethical decency toward the Earth as intelligent goals. Sound familiar? The figures have been updated, the latest studies have been plumbed, but these are the same points the Ehrlichs have been fielding since 1970. That doesn't mean they're stuck in a rut, it's just that they got it right the first time around.
Ignorance is what allows the brownlashers a toehold. Learn what you can on a topic and make your own decisions, counsel the Ehrlichs. A little reflection, a little common sense, they'll wager, and the glad-tiders will be out on the street selling pencils.
|Ch. 1||A Personal Odyssey||1|
|Ch. 2||"Wise Use" and Environmental Anti-Science||11|
|Ch. 3||In Defense of Science||25|
|Ch. 4||The Good News . . . in Perspective||45|
|Ch. 5||Fables about Population and Food||65|
|Ch. 6||Fables about Non-living Resources||91|
|Ch. 7||Biological Diversity and the Endangered Species Act||107|
|Ch. 8||Fables about the Atmosphere and Climate||125|
|Ch. 9||Fables about Toxic Substances||153|
|Ch. 10||Fables about Economics and the Environment||175|
|Ch. 11||Faulty Transmissions||189|
|Ch. 12||How Can Good Science Become Good Policy?||203|
|Ch. 13||One Planet, One Experiment||213|
|App. A||Brownlash Literature||217|
|App. B||The Scientific Consensus||233|
Posted November 27, 2000
This book is a lot less doom and gloom than Mr. Ehrlich's first book - The Population Bomb. Pollution seems to be the mainstay of the Ehrlich's concernes now, but the usual predictions of an unsustainable future are included. I find the book disappointing because it doesn't appear to make any scientific refutations on significant issues - just arguments. For instance, the Ehrlich's have taken quite a blow from Julian Simon. Their response to him is brief and sounds more like a childish argument than a rebutall. For instance, they 'attack' Simon's claim that the we can sustain our growth for 7 billion years; it takes them a full page, but they certainly do put Simon to 'shame.' My question - are they serious?? The sun won't even be around for even 4.6 billion years; do they think Simon is that stupid? I think they missed something. The majority of the book's 'battle against the browlashers' was especially disapointing, covering such 'popular myths' as 'the greenhouse effect is a hoax' and 'cfc's couldn't have caused the ozone hole...'; popular? how so? Further, the book cites 'brownlash literature' which they consider dangerous; Simon's books are not listed; why? Isn't Simon one of the Ehrlich's greatest forces of opposition?Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.