ENVIRONMENTAL AWAKENING: The New Revolution to Protect the Earth by Rice Odell

ENVIRONMENTAL AWAKENING: The New Revolution to Protect the Earth

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Following a paean to the ""environmental revolution""--described as bursting forth with ""explosive force,"" or cosmologically with a ""Big Bang""--journalist Rice Odell offers a plodding account of environmental problems, geared to coincide with Earth Day '80. Speaking of the environmental movement's ""considerable political success,"" he implies that they single-handedly got legislation passed dealing with air and water pollution and toxic chemicals, and says they ""can take credit"" for such conservation measures as standby gas rationing (what about OPEC?). Past civilizations have declined for socio-political and/or environmental reasons, and Odell cites nuclear proliferation and hazardous waste disposal as significant modern threats, suggesting that not using nuclear materials and keeping dangerous substances from being released into the environment would solve that problem. Then comes the laundry list of concerns: food (inequitable distribution and protein malnutrition); water (conservation as our best hope); population (do you ""flood a country with contraceptives"" or wait until economic development encourages families to practice birth control?); climate modification (growing efforts to control weather for economic reasons); chemicals (the regulatory picture is ""not bright""). A lengthy look at energy resources (better handled in the Harvard Business School's Energy Future) sees the picture in terms of oil supply, coal potential, and solar feasibility; discusses hazards from nuclear fuel and coal (carbon monoxide); and concludes that ""a healthy economy can be maintained with a greatly reduced reliance on energy."" Standard statistics, endless theorizing, and little to suggest the much-touted ""revolution.

Pub Date: April 22nd, 1980
Publisher: Ballinger/Harper & Row