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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dated Environmentalism, Unique Viewpoint Lens, August 17, 2011
The first edition was published in 1980, and this revised 1989 edition didn't change much from the original. In 2011, I can safely say parts were prophetic and parts were wrong. The book calls itself an 'environmentalist classic' and warnings are couched in a 'I-know-best' type of position which uses fear (as opposed to facts) to make points. Because of when it was written, this book completely missed the influence of the Internet.

This is what the book predicted: "Greenhouse effect, holes in the ozone layer, acid rain, devastating droughts, catastrophic floods, and an increase in cancer." Mostly correct. Scientists still argue about what constitutes a 'full greenhouse effect' but even industry sellouts can't ignore the melting of the arctic icecap in 2011. Our weather has been pretty bad, as more energy seeps into our atmosphere, it will get worse. The predicted increase in cancer is hard to quantify and not apparent... we have a higher population, so of course more people get cancer...

The disaster 'end of everything' tone taken by the book exaggerated the impacts of what continues to go wrong. The 'Last Great Energy Wasteland' and predictions about clothing are not yet correct, and I doubt they will be. While not in the proactive way espoused by Rifkin, the world is gradually adopting more solar and wind powered energy generating plants, so I do not believe the lack of energy will be the downfall of civilization. (Indeed, I've seen a theory that if a 'free' source of energy were invented or discovered, the world would still need to worry about climate change from waste heat.)

Overall, the environmental positions were prescient, but the speculated politics and science are way off the mark. The philosophy of entropy is interesting (p47-72), and communicates the gist of this work (The Entropy Viewpoint). If you want to read something more current by Rifkin, try The Hydrogen Economy. I would not recommend reading every page of "Entropy" unless you are writing a paper on the history of the environmentalist movement.
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ENTROPY: INTO THE GREENHOUSE WORLD (New Age Book) by Jeremy Rifkin (Paperback - May 1, 1989)
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