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Publishers WeeklyOn the morning of April 8, 1951, a group of American dignitaries visiting Runit Island in the South Pacific watched as a blinding white light filled the sky, followed by a yellow and red fireball that vaporized millions of tons of water, mud, plant and animal life into radioactive mist and debris. Within 15 seconds, the conflagration was over, but the damage the nuclear experiment unleashed on the Marshall Islands would last generations. It is from this dramatic focal point that Wargo, a Yale University professor, paints his distressing landscape of modern ecology, further coloring it with the histories of three other pernicious practices that have changed the chemistry of the planet and our bodies: the use of modern-day pesticides, the consumption of vehicle emissions and the widespread adoption of plastics. Wargo reveals how information about synthetic substances has been distorted and kept secret preventing people from taking action to reduce threats to their health. Though Wargo sometimes skirts a general sentiment of helplessness in the face of industrial and governmental actions, he punctuates the book with ways in which people can take back long-violated environments and reclaim their ecological well-being.
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