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After an unpromising introduction that skips erratically from one to another often-repeated example or generalization, Marzani offers a steadily improving survey of the origin and evolution of the earth's ecosystems, then a tough and cogent analysis of the causes and cures for various forms of pollution -- water, air, thermonuclear, pesticide, solid waste, noise -- and the politics of ecology. Though he quotes Nobel winner Szent-Gyorgyi's estimate of man's survival chances as ""no better than 50% and steadily dropping,"" Marzani's approach is positive -- not in the blandly unskeptical, follow-your-leaders manner of last years' reports by Millard (p. 513, J-195 and p. 1027, J-375) and Halacy (1165, J-445). (Marzani allows, for example, that ""the auto companies bitterly opposed the Muskie bill"" and that the Pentagon and the AEC are ""less than candid toward the public"" in their ""cavalier attitude toward health hazards from radiation"") -- but in his faith that technological and economic solutions ""only await the political muscle of a concerned electorate."" Impressive examples from government and private projects here and abroad support his optimism about the saving potential of technology. Recognizing that ""the automobile is deeply embedded in the social and economic life of the United States,"" he outlines a realistic program for reducing auto pollution by 2/3 in ten years; Marzani also advocates enforcement through government taxing powers, reorganization of the AEC, biological controls to replace chemical pesticides, a massive research program to develop new sources of energy (with controlled thermonuclear fusion the ultimate solution), supplying the undeveloped nations with non-polluting energy sources free, and tapping the ""swollen and wasteful"" arms budget for funds. This is a book that encourages commitment without false assurance, and its specificity of names, cases, and bibliographic footnotes adds to its value among juvenile titles on the environment.

Pub Date: March 15th, 1972
Publisher: Young Scott