Sunday, March 21, 2010

Whole Earth Discipline - An Ecopragmatist Manifesto by Stewart Brand

Turn the Greens Blue?

'Global warming' is a hot subject these days. For many decades the environmentalists more well known as the 'Greens' were ridiculed as 'anti progress' and leftists. Now when they have been finally proved right, the Greens seem to have lost their way. As a well known environmentalist, Stewart Brand explores where the Greens are going wrong and why they should trust Science more. Brand is keen to show us how Urbanization is Green, Nuclear Power is Green and Genetic Engineering is Green. This is the focus of the first part of the book. The book also traces the Green movement and is filled with references to various publications over the last three decades.

The second part of the book explores how we can take care of the Earth and examines possible global scale nature infrastructure initiatives that can reverse global warming.Brand is ready to acknowledge his mistakes and would like the rest of the Greens also to do so. If not he would like to see some of the Greens split away to become Green-Blues and develop the Green movement in a different direction.

The book was interesting and thought provoking. I was impressed with the coverage on the benefits of Genetically Engineered plants and the various measures that can be taken to improve the conditions on Earth. He exposes the damage caused by the fears of the traditional Greens in opposing genetic engineering. But I would have liked to see a more deeper analysis of some of the conclusions - especially the safety aspects and waste clean up of Nuclear Energy. Brand seems to rely too much of quotes and references and avoid science fundamentals in this case.

I liked the author's summary at the end:

"Ecological balance is too important for sentiment. It requires Science.
The health of natural infrastructure is too compromised for passivity. It requires Engineering.
What we call natural and what we call human are inseparable. We live one life."

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