Green Intelligence: Creating Environments That Protect Human Health [NOOK Book]

Overview

We live in a world awash in manmade chemicals, from the pesticides on our front lawns to the diesel exhaust in the air we breathe. Although experts are beginning to understand the potential dangers of these substances, there are still more than 80,000 synthetic compounds that have not been sufficiently tested to interpret their effects on human health. Yale University professor John Wargo has spent much of his career researching the impact of chemical exposures on women and children. In this book, he ...

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Green Intelligence: Creating Environments That Protect Human Health

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Overview

We live in a world awash in manmade chemicals, from the pesticides on our front lawns to the diesel exhaust in the air we breathe. Although experts are beginning to understand the potential dangers of these substances, there are still more than 80,000 synthetic compounds that have not been sufficiently tested to interpret their effects on human health. Yale University professor John Wargo has spent much of his career researching the impact of chemical exposures on women and children. In this book, he explains the origins of society’s profound misunderstanding of everyday chemical hazards and offers a practical path toward developing greater “green intelligence.”

Despite the rising trend in environmental awareness, information about synthetic substances is often unavailable, distorted, kept secret, or presented in a way that prevents citizens from acting to reduce threats to their health and the environment. By examining the histories of five hazardous technologies and practices, Wargo finds remarkable patterns in the delayed discovery of dangers and explains the governments’ failures to manage them effectively. Sobering yet eminently readable, Wargo’s book ultimately offers a clear vision for a safer future through prevention, transparency, and awareness.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
On 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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Connecticut Center for the Book

— Connecticut Book Awardf finalist
Herbert Needleman

Green Intelligence is by far the most informed, cogent, and readable of the books on the environment that I have encountered. His argument is clear and compelling, his approach is unusual and insightful, and his science is sound.”—Herbert Needleman, M.D., University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Paul R. Ehrlich

"A great book on one of the most neglected aspects of the human predicament—the toxification of our planet. Green Intelligence tells the tale through a series of case histories full of personal interest, making it an engrossing read as well as a dependable source of information. And it ends with a bonus—sound advice on how to reduce your own exposure to toxics."—Paul R. Ehrlich, co-author of The Dominant Animal

Sandra Steingraber

“From nuclear war to farm chemicals to the diesel fumes inside the big yellow school bus, Green Intelligence covers it all, offering us a comprehensive anatomy and a clear-sighted vision for rescue. Bravo!"–Sandra Steingraber, author of Living Downstream: An Ecologist Looks at Cancer and the Environment

Philip J. Landrigan

“A sobering assessment of the impacts that the late twentieth century’s chemical revolution has had on the global environment and human health, Green Intelligence offers a sweeping view of a vast terrain that is invisible to most Americans and that has not been previously explored.”—Philip J. Landrigan, M.D., Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Donald Worster

“This is the book to read on the full array of chemical dangers in our environment. It is comprehensive, eloquent, deeply informed, and full of practical wisdom.”—Donald Worster, University of Kansas
Frances Beinecke

“Readers of Green Intelligence will find themselves outraged by the levels of exposure we as a society face from harmful chemicals. But this prodigious book is that rare combination which not only produces indignation by informing, but also catalyzes action and guides reform by inspiring.”—Frances Beinecke, President, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
The Ecologist - Stephanie Wallis

"Wargo's proposed strategy for winning the chemical war is sensible: we need to create an environmentally intelligent society. . . . His clear-eyed approach offers transparency and a solution to the frenzy of chemical misinformation in our lives."—Stephanie Wallis, The Ecologist

ForeWord Magazine - Book of the Year Award

Finalist of the 2009 Book of the Year Award, presented by ForeWord magazine

Thomas E. Lovejoy

“This volume is a twenty-first century Silent Spring distilled and brought up to date with appealing prose. . . a disturbing book of revelations about the soup of manmade pollutants that permeates the entire world. . . Green Intelligence also provides a clear roadmap for the ways forward. . . Required reading for all citizens and leaders.”—Thomas E. Lovejoy, Heinz Center for Science, Economics and the Environment
The Ecologist

"Wargo''s proposed strategy for winning the chemical war is sensible: we need to create an environmentally intelligent society. . . . His clear-eyed approach offers transparency and a solution to the frenzy of chemical misinformation in our lives."—Stephanie Wallis, The Ecologist

— Stephanie Wallis

ForeWord Magazine

Finalist of the 2009 Book of the Year Award, presented by ForeWord magazine

— Book of the Year Award

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300156386
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2009
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author


John Wargo is professor of environmental policy, risk analysis, and political science at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and the Department of Political Science at Yale University. The author of Our Children’s Toxic Legacy, he has been an adviser to Vice President Al Gore, the U.S. Congress, the U.N. World Health Organization, and other institutions.
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Table of Contents

List of Figures

Prologue: Beyond Control

Pt. 1 The Legacy of Nuclear Testing 1

1 Perfecting the Art of Terror 3

2 The Strontium-90 Odyssey 19

3 Experiments on Humans 40

4 Nuclear Accidents 60

Pt. 2 Training for War, While Wasting Nature 75

5 Sowing Seeds of Protest 77

6 Ravaging Landscapes and Seacoasts 95

7 Mercury 106

8 Wasteland or Wilderness? 126

Pt. 3 The Business of Pesticides 137

9 Capitalizing on Innocence 139

10 Without Warning 155

11 The DDT Dilemma 173

12 What Is Acceptable Risk? 189

Pt. 4 Breathing Toxic Air 205

13 Airborne Menace 207

14 Who Is Most at Risk? 220

15 The Trouble with Diesel 230

Pt. 5 Lessons Learned and Emerging Threats 241

16 Forgotten Lessons 243

17 The Quiet Revolution in Plastics 264

18 Green Intelligence 283

Epilogue: Taking Personal Control 295

Acknowledgments 302

Notes 305

Index 357

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