- File Size: 2707 KB
- Print Length: 246 pages
- Publisher: Knopf; 1st edition (March 5, 2014)
- Publication Date: March 5, 2014
- Sold by: Random House LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00IBZ6032
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Not Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,141,387 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
The Closing Circle: Nature, Man, and Technology 1st Edition, Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
This book, along with such things as "Silent Spring", is one of the primary texts marking and shaping the American (and world) awareness of the dangers posed to nature and the worldwide natural environment by home sapiens and our species increasingly multitudinous and potent activities. Back in the day, there was a tendency in the American popular media to define this threat in terms of increasingly powerful and inscrutable technology or increasing human population. Fools and polemicists tended to see this "either ... or", and Commoner was usually pointed out as holding that technology was the principal threat; indeed, he did in fact downplay increasing population as an independent factor in environmental degradation, holding that unsustainable population increase was largely a result of poverty, and by extension inappropriate or inequitably distributed technological access. Paul Ehrlich was usually the symbol of the population side. But this kind of artificial opposition wasn't inherent in what anyone who really thought was really thinking, however easy it was for genuine thinkers such as Commoner to get drawn into media-driven polemic.
From Chapter Ten, "Social Issues":
"Ecological survival does not mean the abandonment of technology. Rather, it requires that technology be derived from a scientific analysis that is appropriate to the natural world on which the technology intrudes."
The books systematically goes through the various issues as we saw them, in the day: the meaning of ecosystems, air, water, earth, social and economic issues, certain specially powerful dangers, such as nuclear technology. With the educated mutation of some mutanda, the book is still intellectually, not just historically valuable.
But history looms large in this one. For years, Barry Commoner was an competent and dignified proponent of sanity and caution in public matters. Unfortunately, he was one of few. I remember vividly his appearance on William F. Buckley's "Firing Line". After quite a few sallies by Buckley along the lines of "In your chapter on, you say ...", with responses along the lines of "No, actually, what I said there was ...", Commoner suddenly asked, when it was least expected, "Did you actually read this book?" Buckley hadn't expected the question, at least not then, so he was completely flummoxed. This was the kind of thing the establishment culture threw at people like Commoner. At least Buckley was more or less polite about it. His epigones have not been as polite, and it is increasingly clear that the populace listens to the polemicist, not scientists like Commoner.
(I'm trying to get rid of Amazon's little noodgy requests for reviews, and now I'm over the word limit.)
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