The Ehrlichs (Healing the Planet, 1991, etc.) land a sober-sided sleeve across the collective windpipe of today's...


BETRAYAL OF SCIENCE AND REASON: How Anti-Environmental Rhetoric Threatens Our Future

The Ehrlichs (Healing the Planet, 1991, etc.) land a sober-sided sleeve across the collective windpipe of today's environmental glad-tiders. ""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-riders will be out on the street selling pencils.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1996


Page Count: 320

Publisher: Island

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1996