Tal (Pollution in a Promised Land) presents 20 momentous speeches by members of the world's environmental movement, beginning with Rachel Carson's 1963 address to the Garden Club of America and concluding with the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize lecture of Wangari Maathai, founder of Kenya's Green Belt Movement. As Tal points out, a well-crafted speech can sway an audience's opinion, and he offers excellent examples, such as a presentation on the state of our polluted oceans by Thor Heyerdahl and a moving lecture by Vandana Shiva on the threat multinational corporations pose to sustainability among the world's poor. A great speech can also have lasting political impact, as did Margaret Thatcher's 1989 address to the U.N. General Assembly on the dangers of global warming, Lois Gibbs's Love Canal testimony before a congressional subcommittee in 1979, and David Lange's 1985 argument at the Oxford Union debating forum, where he justified the establishment of New Zealand as a nuclear-free zone. Tal introduces each of his selections with a biographical vignette that highlights the speaker's talents, accomplishments and courage, effectively whetting the reader's appetite for what follows. 20 b&w photos. (Feb.)
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