ECOLOGICAL SANITY by George & Karen Bolander Claus


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This controversial addition to the ecology literature attempts to refocus the aims and methods of the movement from ""reactionary"" to ""revolutionary,"" deploring the sensationalism of most issues and advocating more scientific interpretation of the facts. But it does not recognize or admit the necessity for a temperate consumerism in today's ecologically expensive, mechanized society. The book is significant in parts, if not in context. An analysis of water pollution amply proves why the U.S. should invest in treatment systems instead of making token efforts such as the phosphate ban (which led to substitutes more dangerous to personal health), while continuing to dump raw sewage into waterways. Chemical toxicology is submitted to a naive statistical treatment (the average daily intake of DDT is 0.02 mg = 240 molecules per body cell -- too little to poison). One-third of the text decries the ""great DDT circus,"" citing the triviality of many animal experiments and refuting other data. More important than birds, or human fat deposition, which the authors contend are doubtful hazards, is the eradication of disease (malaria) and support of food production by a cheap efficient pesticide. The clever reasoning fails to sustain their conclusions that chemicals are ""faster and tidier"" than natural methods. Every major environmental activist -- Carson, Ehrlich, Commoner -- is discussed in terms of specific issues, and they are all chastised as nostaligic advocates of a lifestyle-gone-by. ""Ecological sanity"" demands technological adaptation to consumption. Air pollution is not included in this work, perhaps because one author is a mass psychologist and the other a water biologist. Some of their new opinions may not obtain universal endorsement, but the evidence presented is challenging and extensive, and the literature review of DDT alone makes this a useful source.

Pub Date: Oct. 28th, 1974
Publisher: McKay