In this hard-hitting and timely book, Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich challenge those who downplay the reality and importance of global environmental problems with appealing but misleading rhetoric. Such efforts to undermine and misinterpret environmental data, labeled the "brownlash" by the Ehrlichs, prolong an already difficult search for solutions and are deeply disturbing to environmental scientists. In Betrayal of Science and Reason, the Ehrlichs contrast anti-environmental rhetoric with the consensus view of the scientific community, tackling head-on such issues as population growth, desertification, food production, global warming, ozone depletion, acid rain, and biodiversity loss. They also offer a unique glimpse into how science works, and they discuss how scientists can speak out on matters of societal urgency yet retain the support of the scientific community. This book provides an eye-opening look at current environmental problems and the fundamental importance of the scientific process in solving them. It presents unique insight into the sources and implications of anti-environmental rhetoric, and it provides readers with a valuable means of understanding and refuting the feel-good fables that constitute the brownlash.
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(230mm x 153mm x 23mm)
Publisher: Island Press
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US Kirkus Review »
The Ehrlichs (Healing the Planet, 1991, etc.) land a sober-sided sleeve across the collective windpipe of today's environmental glad-tiders. "Brownlash" is what the Ehrlichs call "those efforts made to minimize the seriousness of environmental problems" still bedeviling planet Earth. This happy bunch - Gregg Easterbrook, Julian Simon, Dixy Lee Ray, et al. - have twisted the findings of empirical science and arrived at a body of antiscience, suggest the Ehrlichs, for less than ethical ends. The Ehrlichs have no issue with scientists who challenge conventional thinking, but they find repugnant the brownlash that is simply a vehicle for right-wing ideology or to further some economic or political goal. Since scientific knowledge is not one of the hallmarks of this country's population, the brownlashers have managed to sow seeds of doubt. So the husband-and-wife environmental science team explains once again overpopulation, global climate change, ozone depletion, and losses of biodiversity. They answer questions about the dangers with brisk, no-nonsense answers: They write about a population overshooting the carrying capacity of its turf; about renewable resources becoming nonrenewable due to rate of use; about long-term sustainability and ethical decency toward the Earth as intelligent goals. Sound familiar? The figures have been updated, the latest studies have been plumbed, but these are the same points the Ehrlichs have been fielding since 1970. That doesn't mean they're stuck in a rut, it's just that they got it right the first time around. Ignorance is what allows the brownlashers a toehold. Learn what you can on a topic and make your own decisions, counsel the Ehrlichs. A little reflection, a little common sense, they'll wager, and the glad-riders will be out on the street selling pencils. (Kirkus Reviews)
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