FORCING THE SPRING

THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE AMERICAN ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT

An earnest dissertation on environmentalism as a complex social movement that began in response to industrialization, urbanization, and the closing of the frontier. Gottlieb (A Life of Its Own, 1988, etc.), an environmental activist and lecturer at UCLA's Urban Planning Program, rejects as too narrow the view of the environmental movement as one rooted in the struggle to preserve nature. This view, he claims, overlooks environmentalism's urban and industrial ancestry: the social-reform movements of the 19th century that sought to improve the daily lives of working people. Gottlieb diligently traces the history of this more broadly defined environmentalism from the 1890's on. He selects Earth Day 1970 as a transitional event, marking the emergence of a new mainstream environmentalism as a powerful force in shaping policy at the federal level, and he scrutinizes the conflict between this professional, institutionalized environmentalism and alternative, community- based, direct-action groups. Unlike mainstream environmentalists, whom Gottlieb describes as working closely with government and industry, alternative groups are more confrontational, and the issues they tackle are often ones in which gender, race, and class play significant roles—e.g., exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace, with its disproportionately greater impact on blue-collar workers. The picture that emerges is one in which mainstream environmentalism has lost its way, with new direction coming from the alternative groups, the true descendants of 19th-century champions of social justice. By recognizing its social-reform roots and by redefining itself in broad terms, Gottlieb asserts that environmentalism can transform itself into a more democratic movement, one concerned with the total human environment. Impressive research and a clear message—if somewhat tedious in the telling.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1993

ISBN: 1-55963-123-6

Page Count: 410

Publisher: Island Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1993

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A tiny book, not much bigger than a pamphlet, with huge potential impact.

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NO ONE IS TOO SMALL TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

A collection of articulate, forceful speeches made from September 2018 to September 2019 by the Swedish climate activist who was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Speaking in such venues as the European and British Parliaments, the French National Assembly, the Austrian World Summit, and the U.N. General Assembly, Thunberg has always been refreshingly—and necessarily—blunt in her demands for action from world leaders who refuse to address climate change. With clarity and unbridled passion, she presents her message that climate change is an emergency that must be addressed immediately, and she fills her speeches with punchy sound bites delivered in her characteristic pull-no-punches style: “I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.” In speech after speech, to persuade her listeners, she cites uncomfortable, even alarming statistics about global temperature rise and carbon dioxide emissions. Although this inevitably makes the text rather repetitive, the repetition itself has an impact, driving home her point so that no one can fail to understand its importance. Thunberg varies her style for different audiences. Sometimes it is the rousing “our house is on fire” approach; other times she speaks more quietly about herself and her hopes and her dreams. When addressing the U.S. Congress, she knowingly calls to mind the words and deeds of Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy. The last speech in the book ends on a note that is both challenging and upbeat: “We are the change and change is coming.” The edition published in Britain earlier this year contained 11 speeches; this updated edition has 16, all worth reading.

A tiny book, not much bigger than a pamphlet, with huge potential impact.

Pub Date: Nov. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-14-313356-8

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Penguin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2019

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Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...

THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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