Tom Athanasiou, a journalist and businessman, has produced an important, 385-page essay on the state of global environmentalism that is both hopeful and dire. He points to the 1992 Earth Summit Rio de Janeiro as "a doorway opening to ... more humane economics ... and greater concern for the vulnerability of Mother Earth." However, he also warns of the consequences of the economic inequalities of the southern and northern hemispheres and the potential ecological disasters of encouraging poorer countries to pursue the purely market-based path of richer countries.
From Publishers Weekly
From NAFTA to America's consumer culture and from the ecological imperialism practiced by the developed world over the developing world to the disappointing environmental record of the Clinton administration, Athanasiou rails against environmental abuse and injustice worldwide. He presents much thought-provoking material. For example, foreign aid for environmental projects is not only often environmentally destructive but makes recipient countries more-rather than less-dependent. "[I]n 1993, the world's forty poorest countries paid $19 billion more in debt and interest than they received in aid." And America's consumerism, in addition to its environmental impact, has dramatic effects on everyday life: "Americans... spend, on average, about six hours shopping each week. This is more time than Russians spent in the late 1980s, when Soviet shopping queues were world famous." Overall, the book's breadth becomes distracting with topics shifting rapidly. The prose itself is often academic and thus difficult to follow. Author tour.
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