FOOTPRINTS ON THE PLANET: A Search for an Environ mental Ethic by Robert Cahn

FOOTPRINTS ON THE PLANET: A Search for an Environ mental Ethic

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With a Pulitzer Prize-winning environmental affairs journalist for its author, this might be expected to pack quite a wallop. It doesn't. Made up largely of interviews, the book is occasionally humorous--viz., author Cahn urges President Nixon to publicize his seeming concern for the environment by attending Yellowstone National Park's 100th Anniversary; Nixon turns to his aides and asks whether visiting any other park might help the Republican ticket more. It's topical--pages are devoted to the very recent plight of the snail darter; and it's gossipy--besides tidbits on Nixon, we learn that, environmentally speaking, Johnson was more talk than action and Ford was labeled ""hopeless"" by the League of Conservation. Mostly, though, Cahn discusses, in exceedingly obvious terms, the difficulties of nurturing an environmental ethic in a large bureaucracy. ""Rare is the company,"" he writes, ""that includes in its corporate structure a system that allows for the environmental impacts of all major decisions. . . [and] where options can be presented for less environmentally harmful. . . solutions."" Invariably, where he does present a company that appears to be acting responsibly and exhibiting an environmental ethic, he frustrates the reader by intimating that they're not doing everything that they could, either. The book's real value lies in persuading the individual to consider the environmental ramifications of any decision he might make. A victory of sorts.

Pub Date: Nov. 15th, 1978
Publisher: Universe