From Publishers Weekly
Tension between alarmism and optimism fuels this stimulating treatise on green development, an update of the 2003 edition. Earth Policy Institute president Brown (Who Will Feed China?) surveys the worldwide environmental devastation wrought by breakneck industrialization and the heedless, auto-centric, "throwaway economy": oil and water shortages, pollution, deforestation, soil erosion, desertification, collapsing fisheries, mass extinctions, looming famine and pestilence-and he hasn't even gotten to global warming yet. Fortunately, Brown says, "all the problems we face can be dealt with using existing technologies," at a manageable cost. He spends most of the book touting advances in sustainable agriculture, wildlife and resource conservation, renewable energy, hyper-efficient cars, mass transit and appliances, and recycling (a waterless, composting toilet that produces "essentially odorless" humus, for instance). He totals it all up in a $161 billion yearly budget and adds a prescription for environmental taxes-on everything from gasoline to garbage-to steer the economy toward eco-friendliness. Brown wants to reform and humanize, not abolish, industrial modernity, and keeps the focus on practical, tested measures. He sprinkles many intriguing facts and figures, but they are presented selectively and unsystematically (price data on renewable energy sources, in particular, is inadequate and misleading); his somewhat boosterish approach lacks the meticulous cost-benefit analyses the subject cries out for. But while the book doesn't offer the last word on sustainable economic development, its can-do spirit and lucid exposition of promising proposals make it a good starting point for discussion of this all-important issue.
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Brown makes a compelling case from his unique vantage point, having spent 30 years studying the state of the world. -- Mother Earth News
a masterpiece! -- Ted Turner
.We should all heed his advice. -- President Bill Clinton