Moment on the Earth: The Coming Age of Environmental Optimism

Moment on the Earth: The Coming Age of Environmental Optimism

by Gregg Easterbrook
     
 

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In this provocative, widely-discussed book, Gregg Easterbrook asserts that far more environmental progress is being made than today's doomsayers would have us believe. Easterbrook explains why he believes pollution is almost over in the Western world, and why a truly "green" future it coming.  See more details below

Overview

In this provocative, widely-discussed book, Gregg Easterbrook asserts that far more environmental progress is being made than today's doomsayers would have us believe. Easterbrook explains why he believes pollution is almost over in the Western world, and why a truly "green" future it coming.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Journalist Easterbrook's optimistic account of humanity's impact on the environment, in which he argues against ecological doomsayers. (Apr.)
Publishers Weekly - Cahners\\Publishers_Weekly
At last, an optimistic view of environmental progress! On the 25th anniversary of Earth Day there is cause for celebration, argues the author; we have achieved solutions for many problems. There has been vast improvement in air and water quality, industrial pollution has lessened and we have virtually stopped ocean dumping. A contributing editor for Newsweek and the Atlantic, Easterbrook offers a comprehensive survey of ecological progress since 1970; he suggests that pollution in the West has already peaked and will be satisfactorily ameliorated within decades. He first looks at earth history, noting that the planet has always recovered from cataclysm. Part two analzyes the major issues: acid rain, toxic waste, radiation, global warming, air, water, land, economics, population and politics. Easterbrook finds some problems less severe than predicted, with corrective measures less expensive than expected owing to unanticipated technical discoveries and free-market innovation. He chides doomsayers of the environmental movement for their scare tactics and calls for activists to move from toxin-ringing to rationality.
Library Journal
A contributing editor to Newsweek and The Atlantic, Easterbrook offers a new approach to environmental thinking characterized by confidence in the ability of human reason and technology to work with nature to create a healthy habitat for humans, plants, and animals. He contrasts his optimistic approach, termed "eco-realism," with the pessimism and doomsaying he finds in current environmentalism. In the first part, Easterbrook attempts to look at the condition of the modern earth from the perspective of a personified nature, reassuringly resilient and resourceful through eons of time. The second part assesses in separate alphabetized chapters the current status of various environmental problems, while the brief third section explores a me'lange of visionary futures for life on Earth and in space. Although Easterbrook supports valid criticisms of alarmist environmentalist tactics, particularly in cases of radiation dangers and chemical safety, his book is likely to provoke controversy because, especially in Part 1, his stance is polemic, his language often satiric, and the viewpoints of environmental spokespersons oversimplified and sometimes distorted. The journalistic practice that omits complete documentation of sources also undercuts the effectiveness of Easterbrook's arguments. Still, this may prove to be an influential book that libraries with environmental collections should consider acquiring.-Joan S. Elbers, formerly with Montgomery Coll., Rockville, Md.
Brenda Grazis
Another environmental four-alarm? Hardly. Easterbrook, a "Newsweek" reporter, discusses with unabashed optimism virtually every environmental issue, from water pollution to the World Bank. His contention is that technology, or nature itself given sufficient time, will negate any environmental calamity--only extinctions are irreversible, and they are part of nature's design. Despite a relentlessly upbeat perspective, his endless tweaking of "enviros" grows tiresome and is often gratuitous. For example, he derisively recounts the predictions of "Silent Spring", yet acknowledges that such prophecies have remained unfulfilled because "society heeded Carson's warning." References are inadequate (generally, merely titles), and odd inaccuracies, such as claiming that the insect-eating "robin remains as ubiquitous as backyard feeders," or crediting the principle of uniformitarianism to Lyell rather than Hutton, suggest a nonrigorous inquiry and questionable qualifications. Easterbrook's "ecorealism" will appeal to predisposed "ecorealists" of all stripes, but environmentalists may conclude that Easterbrook just doesn't get it.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780670839834
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/28/1995
Pages:
768
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.51(h) x 2.18(d)

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