In 1880, coal was the primary energy source for everything from home heating to industry. Regions where coal was readily available, such as the Ruhr Valley in Germany and western Pennsylvania in the United States, witnessed exponential growth-yet also suffered the greatest damage from coal pollution.
These conditions prompted civic activism in the form of “anti-smoke” campaigns to attack the unsightly physical manifestations of coal burning. This early period witnessed significant cooperation between industrialists, government, and citizens to combat the smoke problem. It was not until the 1960s, when attention shifted from dust and grime to hazardous invisible gases, that cooperation dissipated, and protests took an antagonistic turn.
The Age of Smoke presents an original, comparative history of environmental policy and protest in the United States and Germany. Dividing this history into distinct eras (1880 to World War I, interwar, post-World War II to 1970), Frank Uekoetter compares and contrasts the influence of political, class, and social structures, scientific communities, engineers, industrial lobbies, and environmental groups in each nation. He concludes with a discussion of the environmental revolution, arguing that there were indeed two environmental revolutions in both countries: one societal, where changing values gave urgency to air pollution control, the other institutional, where changes in policies tried to catch up with shifting sentiments.
Focusing on a critical period in environmental history, The Age of Smoke provides a valuable study of policy development in two modern industrial nations, and the rise of civic activism to combat air pollution. As Uekoetter's work reveals, the cooperative approaches developed in an earlier era offer valuable lessons and perhaps the best hope for future progress.
Bad Water is a sophisticated theoretical analysis of Japanese thinkers and activists' efforts to reintegrate the natural environment into Japan's social and political thought in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth. The need to incorporate nature into politics was revealed by a series of large-scale industrial disasters in the 1890s. The Ashio Copper Mine unleashed massive amounts of copper, arsenic, mercury, and other pollutants into surrounding watersheds. Robert Stolz argues that by forcefully demonstrating the mutual penetration of humans and nature, industrial pollution biologically and politically compromised the autonomous liberal subject underlying the political philosophy of the modernizing Meiji state. In the following decades, socialism, anarchism, fascism, and Confucian benevolence and moral economy were marshaled in the search for new theories of a modern political subject and a social organization adequate to the environmental crisis. With detailed considerations of several key environmental activists, including Tanaka Shōzō, Bad Water is a nuanced account of Japan's environmental turn, a historical moment when, for the first time, Japanese thinkers and activists experienced nature as alienated from themselves and were forced to rebuild the connections.
Nothing is as elemental, as essential to human life, as the air we breathe. Yet around the world, in rich countries and poor ones, it is quietly poisoning us.
Air pollution prematurely kills seven million people every year, including more than one hundred thousand Americans. It is strongly linked to strokes, heart attacks, many kinds of cancer, dementia, and premature birth, among other ailments. In Choked, Beth Gardiner travels the world to tell the story of this modern-day plague, taking readers from the halls of power in Washington and the diesel-fogged London streets she walks with her daughter to Poland’s coal heartland and India’s gasping capital. In a gripping narrative that’s alive with powerful voices and personalities, she exposes the political decisions and economic forces that have kept so many of us breathing dirty air. This is a moving, up-close look at the human toll, where we meet the scientists who have transformed our understanding of pollution’s effects on the body and the ordinary people fighting for a cleaner future.
In the United States, air is far cleaner than it once was. But progress has failed to keep up with the science, which tells us that even today’s lower pollution levels are doing real damage. And as the Trump administration rips up the regulations that have brought us where we are, decades of gains are now at risk. Elsewhere, the problem is far worse, and choking nations like China are scrambling to replicate the achievements of an American agency—the EPA—that until recently was the envy of the world.
Clean air feels like a birthright. But it can disappear in a puff of smoke if the rules that protect it are unraveled. At home and around the world, it’s never been more important to understand how progress happened and what dangers might still be in store. Choked shows us that we hold the power to build a cleaner, healthier future: one in which breathing, life’s most basic function, no longer carries a hidden danger.
The resurgence of state involvement in policymaking in recent years has renewed a long-standing debate about the most effective role for states within a federal system of government. In The Dimensions of Federalism, William R. Lowry assesses and examines the responsiveness and innovation of state governments in the area of air and water pollution control policies. Building a theoretical model that demonstrates the relationship between state and federal governments, Lowry combines econometric analysis of data on all fifty states with an in-depth study of a leading state in each of four major areas of pollution policy to conclude that state policymakers will often experiment and willingly improve upon federal pollution control standards. But this willingness is tempered, he maintains, both by a fear of losing important constituents to interstate competition and by the difficulty of coordinating efforts and disseminating information without the active involvement of the federal government. Originally published in 1992, this book continues to be pertinent in a political climate that will inevitably see an increased role for states in domestic policymaking. It will be of great interest to students and scholars of American public policy, federalism, and environmental politics and policy.
Marine pollution causes significant damage to fisheries and other economically productive uses of the ocean. The value of that damage can be quantified by economists, but the meanings of those valuations and how they are derived are often obscure to noneconomists.Economic Losses from Marine Pollution brings a fuller understanding of the variety and extent of marine losses and how they are assessed to scientists, lawyers, and environmentalists by systematically identifying and classifying marine losses and relating them to models and methods of economic valuation. The authors use a step-by-step approach to show how economists have used these methods and how they approach the problem of assessing economic damage.The book begins by describing the importance of economic valuation of marine damages, the history of concern over marine pollution, and the development of economic methodologies to assess damage from it. Following that, the book: considers types of marine pollution and their effects on organisms, ecosystems, and humans, and the corresponding economic effects of those biological impacts introduces the economic principles and methods needed to understand and to assess economic damages expresses losses from water quality impairments in terms of economic value introduces the basic economic techniques that have been developed and used to measure changes in economic value discusses how to apply those economic techniques, and presents a variety of practical examples explores limitations and problems that can arise in such applied work.Economic Losses from Marine Pollution includes all of the relevant economic theory together with specific examples of how that theory has been and can be applied. It offers environmental professionals with little or no background in economics the basic economic tools needed to understand economic valuations of environmental damage, and represents a unique handbook for environmental and marine scientists, lawyers, economists, policy professionals, and anyone interested in issues of marine water quality.
Sigrud Olson Nature Writing Award, Notable Children’s Book Green Earth Book Award, Honor Book
There are days in late winter when the Pacific coast enjoys a brief spell of clear, warm weather. Most of the winter storms have passed and the summer fog has not yet settled in. This is when some coastal communities plan their annual beach clean-ups.
In this sequel to Ellie’s Log and Ricky’s Atlas, Ellie and Ricky travel to the Oregon coast from their home in the Cascade Mountains to help with a one-day beach clean-up. Hoping to find a prized Japanese glass float, they instead find more important natural treasures, and evidence of an ocean that needs its own global-scale clean-up.
Ellie and Ricky are amazed by their discoveries at the edge of the world’s largest ocean. Together, they realize the power of volunteering and grapple with the challenges of ocean conservation. In her journal Ellie records her observations of their adventures in her own words and pictures.
With charming pen-and-ink drawings and a compelling story, Ellie's Strand makes coastal science exciting for upper elementary school students. It will be a treasured companion for young beach explorers everywhere.
Rajan investigates air pollution policy as one based on how to make cars less polluting. Putting the onus on auto manufacturers and owners has generated an elaborate scheme of emissions testing and pollution-control devices, and does not look at the technology itself as the heart of the problem. Rajan focuses his study on data collected in Los Angeles, to show how emissions testing burdens the poor, who tend to own older cars that pollute more. Rajan argues for democratic control over technology, steering it away from special interest groups and toward a long-term ethical resolution.
Explorations in Environmental History represents four decades of writing from one of the most distinguished scholars in the field of environmental history. Samuel Hays’s dedication and research is apparent in every one of these essays, four of which are published here for the first time.
Fighting Toxics is a step-by-step guide illustrating how to investigate the toxic hazards that may exist in your community, how to determine the risks they pose to your health, and how to launch an effective campaign to eliminate them.
For Love of Lakes
Darby Nelson Michigan State University Press, 2011 Library of Congress QH98.N46 2011 | Dewey Decimal 551.482
America has more than 130,000 lakes of significant size. Ninety percent of all Americans live within fifty miles of a lake, and our 1.8 billion trips to watery places make them our top vacation choice. Yet despite this striking popularity, more than 45 percent of surveyed lakes and 80 percent of urban lakes do not meet water quality standards. For Love of Lakes weaves a delightful tapestry of history, science, emotion, and poetry for all who love lakes or enjoy nature writing. For Love of Lakes is an affectionate account documenting our species’ long relationship with lakes—their glacial origins, Thoreau and his environmental message, and the major perceptual shifts and advances in our understanding of lake ecology. This is a necessary and thoughtful book that addresses the stewardship void while providing improved understanding of our most treasured natural feature.
Britain's supremacy in the nineteenth century depended in large part on its vast deposits of coal. This coal not only powered steam engines in factories, ships, and railway locomotives but also warmed homes and cooked food. As coal consumption skyrocketed, the air in Britain's cities and towns became filled with ever-greater and denser clouds of smoke.
In this far-reaching study, Peter Thorsheim explains that, for much of the nineteenth century, few people in Britain even considered coal smoke to be pollution. To them, pollution meant miasma: invisible gases generated by decomposing plant and animal matter. Far from viewing coal smoke as pollution, most people considered smoke to be a valuable disinfectant, for its carbon and sulfur were thought capable of rendering miasma harmless.
Inventing Pollution examines the radically new understanding of pollution that emerged in the late nineteenth century, one that centered not on organic decay but on coal combustion. This change, as Peter Thorsheim argues, gave birth to the smoke-abatement movement and to new ways of thinking about the relationships among humanity, technology, and the environment.
Leadville explores the clash between a small mining town high up in Colorado's Rocky Mountains and the federal government, determined to clean up the toxic mess left from a hundred years of mining.
Set amidst the historic streets and buildings reflecting the town's past glory as one of the richest nineteenth-century mining districts in North America-a history populated with characters such as Meyer Guggenheim and the Titanic's unsinkable Molly Brown--the Leadville Gillian Klucas portrays became a battleground in the 1980s and 1990s.
The tale begins one morning in 1983 when a flood of toxic mining waste washes past the Smith Ranch and down the headwaters of the Arkansas River. The event presages a Superfund cleanup campaign that draws national attention, sparks local protest, and triggers the intervention of an antagonistic state representative.
Just as the Environmental Protection Agency comes to town telling the community that their celebrated mining heritage is a public health and environmental hazard, the mining industry abandons Leadville, throwing the town into economic chaos. Klucas unveils the events that resulted from this volatile formula and the remarkable turnaround that followed.
The author's well-grounded perspective, in-depth interviews with participants, and keen insights make Leadville a portrait vivid with characterizations that could fill the pages of a novel. But because this is a real story with real people, It shows the reality behind the Western mystique and explores the challenges to local autonomy and community identity brought by a struggle for economic survival, unyielding government policy, and long-term health consequences induced by extractive-industry practices.
Carl F. Cranor Harvard University Press, 2010 Library of Congress RA566.3.C73 2010 | Dewey Decimal 363.7363
Take a random walk through your life and you’ll find it is awash in industrial, often toxic, chemicals. Sip water from a plastic bottle and ingest bisphenol A. Prepare dinner in a non-stick frying pan or wear a layer of Gore-Tex only to be exposed to perfluorinated compounds. Hang curtains, clip your baby into a car seat, watch television—all are manufactured with brominated flame-retardants. Cosmetic ingredients, industrial chemicals, pesticides, and other compounds enter our bodies and remain briefly or permanently. Far too many suspected toxic hazards are unleashed every day that affect the development and function of our brain, immune system, reproductive organs, or hormones. But no public health law requires product testing of most chemical compounds before they enter the market. If products are deemed dangerous, toxicants must be forcibly reduced or removed—but only after harm has been done. In this scientifically rigorous legal analysis, Carl Cranor argues that just as pharmaceuticals and pesticides cannot be sold without pre-market testing, other chemical products should be subject to the same safety measures. Cranor shows, in terrifying detail, what risks we run, and that it is entirely possible to design a less dangerous commercial world.
Today, “Love Canal” is synonymous with the struggle for environmental health and justice. But in 1972, when Lois Gibbs moved there with her husband and new baby, it was simply a modest neighborhood in Niagara Falls, New York. How did this community become the poster child for toxic disasters? How did Gibbs and her neighbors start a national movement that continues to this day? What do their efforts teach us about current environmental health threats and how to prevent them? Love Canal is Gibbs’ original account of the landmark case, now updated with insights gained over three decades.
Is Italy il bel paese—the beautiful country—where tourists spend their vacations looking for art, history, and scenery? Or is it a land whose beauty has been cursed by humanity’s greed and nature’s cruelty? The answer is largely a matter of narrative and the narrator’s vision of Italy. The fifteen essays in Nature and History in Modern Italy investigate that nation’s long experience in managing domesticated rather than wild natures and offer insight into these conflicting visions. Italians shaped their land in the most literal sense, producing the landscape, sculpting its heritage, embedding memory in nature, and rendering the two different visions inseparable. The interplay of Italy’s rich human history and its dramatic natural diversity is a subject with broad appeal to a wide range of readers.
On the border of the United States and Mexico, few policy issues face such acute challenges as those related to water. Border cities face an uncertain future water supply, low-income neighborhoods often lack water and sewer services, and water contamination poses a risk to the health of residents and the environment. Responses by government agencies on both sides of the border have been insufficient. Increasing economic development has mainly resulted in increasing problems. These limitations of government and market forces suggest that nonprofit organizations—the so-called “third sector”—might play an important role in meeting the growing challenges in the region.
Finding that these organizations do have a positive impact, Daniel Sabet seeks to understand how autonomous nonprofit organizations have emerged and developed along the border. He employs data from more than 250 interviews with members of civil society organizations and public officials, surveys of neighborhood association leaders, observations at public meetings, and many secondary sources. His research compares the experiences of third-sector organizations in four prominent Mexican border cities: Tijuana, Nogales, Ciudad Juárez, and Nuevo Laredo.
Sabet finds that political change is a necessary precondition for the establishment of an independent third sector. The demise of one-party rule in Mexico has given nonprofit organizations greater opportunities to flourish, he finds, but persistent informal rules still obstruct their emergence and development. Sabet concludes that the success of the third sector will depend on the organizations’ networks. He examines organizational ties to three key groups—U.S. nonprofits, the business community, and government-created methods for public participation—and evaluates the importance of these connections for the future.
In this rich ethnographic study, Kelly D. Alley sheds light on debates about water uses, wastewater management, and the meanings of waste and sacred power. On the Banks of the Ganga analyzes the human predicaments that result from the accumulation and disposal of waste by tracing how citizens of India interpret the impact of wastewater flows on a sacred river and on their own cultural practices.
Alley investigates ethno-semantic, discursive, and institutional data to flesh out the interplay between religious, scientific, and official discourses about the river Ganga. Using a new outward layering methodology, she points out that anthropological analysis must separate the historical and discursive strands of the debates concerning waste and sacred purity in order to reveal the cultural complexities that surround the Ganga. Ultimately, she addresses a deeply rooted cultural paradox: if the Ganga river is considered sacred by Hindus across India, then why do the people allow it to become polluted?
Examining areas of contemporary concern such as water usage and urban waste management in the most populated river basin in the world, this book will appeal to anthropologists and readers in religious, environmental, and Asian studies, as well as geography and law.
Kelly D. Alley is Associate Professor and Director of Anthropology at Auburn University. In addition to being a prolific writer, she has conducted research on public culture and environmental issues in northern India for over a decade. Alley is currently overseeing a project to ameliorate river pollution problems in India.
Peril in the Ponds tells the story of a government biologist’s investigation into the mystery of deformed frogs, an epidemic that grew during the 1990s and continues today. It provides an inside view of a highly charged environmental issue that aroused the attention of the public and the media and sparked controversies among scientists, politicians, and government agencies. By the 1990s, wetlands across the United States were endangered from pollution and decades of drainage to convert them into farmland and urban developments. But when deformed frogs—many with missing legs or eyes, footless stumps, or misshapen jaws—began to emerge from Minnesota wetlands, alarm bells went off. What caused such deformities? Pollution? Ultraviolet rays? Biological agents? And could the mysterious cause also pose a threat to humans? Judy Helgen writes with passionate concern about vulnerable frogs and wetlands as she navigates through a maze of inquisitive media and a reluctant government agency. She reports on the complexity of a growing catastrophe for frogs and broadens the issue as she researches and meets with scientists from around the world. She affirms the importance of examining aquatic life to understand pollution and the need to rescue our remaining wetlands. She also shares the fears expressed by the teachers, students, and other citizens who found these creatures, sensed a problem, and looked to her for answers. Ultimately, this is a story about the biological beauty of wetlands and our need to pay attention to the environment around us.
The climate change reckoning looms. As scientists try to discern what the Earth’s changing weather patterns mean for our future, Rachel Rothschild seeks to understand the current scientific and political debates surrounding the environment through the history of another global environmental threat: acid rain.
The identification of acid rain in the 1960s changed scientific and popular understanding of fossil fuel pollution’s potential to cause regional—and even global—environmental harms. It showed scientists that the problem of fossil fuel pollution was one that crossed borders—it could travel across vast stretches of the earth’s atmosphere to impact ecosystems around the world. This unprecedented transnational reach prompted governments, for the first time, to confront the need to cooperate on pollution policies, transforming environmental science and diplomacy. Studies of acid rain and other pollutants brought about a reimagining of how to investigate the natural world as a complete entity, and the responses of policy makers, scientists, and the public set the stage for how societies have approached other prominent environmental dangers on a global scale, most notably climate change.
Grounded in archival research spanning eight countries and five languages, as well as interviews with leading scientists from both government and industry, Poisonous Skies is the first book to examine the history of acid rain in an international context. By delving deep into our environmental past, Rothschild hopes to inform its future, showing us how much is at stake for the natural world as well as what we risk—and have already risked—by not acting.
"This is an adventure story-not among the wild animals he knows so well but among the politicians as he pioneered the efforts to conserve our wildlife, our natural resources, and the very atmosphere that supports us all. It is a history invaluable to those interested in the preservation of our environment; a matter in which we all should be concerned and involved." -WALTER CRONKITE "Train has produced a thoughtful and insightful account of a remarkable public career, an account which reflects very fairly the effort during my presidency to strike a balance among the nation's economic, energy, and environmental needs." -PRESIDENT GERALD R. FORD Russell E. Train, now chairman emeritus of the World Wildlife Fund, has led a remarkable life in conservation and environmental politics. Though many of his contributions have been unsung, Train was the catalyst for many of the nation's most important positive environmental policies that remain with us today. In the current political climate, where party divisions are so sharp and environmental concerns are so often shunted aside, Train's journey as a life-long Republican and an ardent conservationist is an inspiring story. Much of the important environmental policy Train helped to devise and implement occurred during two Republican administrations, those of Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. Train served as undersecretary of Interior early in Nixon's administration before becoming chair of the president's Council on Environmental Quality (1970-1973). He then moved on to many accomplishments as head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from 1973 until 1978. At the end of the Ford administration, Train left government to become president of World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in the U.S. where he played a key role in developing that institution into the major conservation organization it is today. Politics, Pollution, and Pandas is a fascinating, behind-the-scenes account of the politics of the environment over much of the last half century, as told by one of its master architects.
In Pollution Is Colonialism Max Liboiron presents a framework for understanding scientific research methods as practices that can align with or against colonialism. They point out that even when researchers are working toward benevolent goals, environmental science and activism are often premised on a colonial worldview and access to land. Focusing on plastic pollution, the book models an anticolonial scientific practice aligned with Indigenous, particularly Métis, concepts of land, ethics, and relations. Liboiron draws on their work in the Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research (CLEAR)—an anticolonial science laboratory in Newfoundland, Canada—to illuminate how pollution is not a symptom of capitalism but a violent enactment of colonial land relations that claim access to Indigenous land. Liboiron's creative, lively, and passionate text refuses theories of pollution that make Indigenous land available for settler and colonial goals. In this way, their methodology demonstrates that anticolonial science is not only possible but is currently being practiced in ways that enact more ethical modes of being in the world.
Today’s electric power companies compete to provide cleaner electricity. That’s a good thing, but progress has come with costs, especially for communities reliant on the coal industry. Thomas McGarity examines the changes of recent decades and offers ideas for building a more sustainable grid while easing the economic downsides of coal’s demise.
In Reducing Toxics, leading experts address industry, technology, health, and policy issues and explore the potential for pollution prevention at the industry and facility levels. They consider both the regulatory and institutional settings of toxics reduction initiatives, prescribe strategies for developing a prevention framework, and apply these principles in analyzing industry case studies. Among the topics considered are: the evolution of, and limits to, current environmental policy incorporating prevention into production planning and decisionmaking do voluntary programs lead to industry greening or greenwashing? case studies of the chemical, aerosols, radiator repair and electric vehicle industries opportunities for and barriers to pollution prevention Reducing Toxics offers an analytic framework for defining and understanding different approaches in the toxics area and describes the basis for a new policy and industrial decisionmaking construct.
As world population grows, and more people move to cities and suburbs, they place greater stress on the operating system of our whole planet. But urbanization and increasing densities also present our best opportunity for improving sustainability, by transforming urban development into desirable, lower-carbon, compact and walkable communities and business centers.
Jonathan Barnett and Larry Beasley seek to demonstrate that a sustainable built and natural environment can be achieved through ecodesign, which integrates the practice of planning and urban design with environmental conservation, through normal business practices and the kinds of capital programs and regulations already in use in most communities. Ecodesign helps adapt the design of our built environment to both a changing climate and a rapidly growing world, creating more desirable places in the process.
In six comprehensively illustrated chapters, the authors explain ecodesign concepts, including the importance of preserving and restoring natural systems while also adapting to climate-change; minimizing congestion on highways and at airports by making development more compact, and by making it easier to walk, cycle and take trains and mass transit; crafting and managing regulations to insure better placemaking and fulfill consumer preferences, while incentivizing preferred practices; creating an inviting and environmentally responsible public realm from parks to streets to forgotten spaces; and finally how to implement these ecodesign concepts.
Throughout the book, the ecodesign framework is demonstrated by innovative practices that are already underway or have been accomplished in many cities and suburbs—from Hammarby Sjöstad in Stockholm to False Creek North in Vancouver to Battery Park City in Manhattan, as well as many smaller-scale examples that can be adopted in any community.
Ecodesign thinking is relevant to anyone who has a part in shaping or influencing the future of cities and suburbs – designers, public officials, and politicians.
The Scars of Project 459 tells the environmental story of the Lake of the Ozarks, built by the Union Electric Company in 1931. At 55,000 acres, the lake was the biggest manmade lake in the United States at the time of its completion, and it remains the biggest in the Midwest, with 1,100 miles of shoreline in four different Missouri counties. Though created to generate hydroelectric power, not for development, the "Magic Dragon," as it is popularly known because of its serpentine shape, has become a major recreational area. Located in some of the most spectacular Ozark scenery, the giant lake today attracts three million visitors annually and has more than 70,000 homes along its shoreline. Traci Angel shows how the popularity of the Lake of the Ozarks has resulted in major present-day problems, including poor water quality, loss of habitat, and increasing concerns about aging waste-management systems for the homes surrounding the lake. Many in the area, especially business owners whose incomes depend on tourism, resist acknowledging these problems. The Scars of Project 459 aims to make public the challenges facing this important resource and ensure that its future is not to be loved to death.
Since the late 1960s, Oregon has been at the forefront of environmental protection in the United States. The state generally, and Portland in particular, continue to have strong “green” credentials well into the twenty-first century. Within this forty year period of progress, however, the health of the Willamette River has been a consistent blot on the record. Willamette River water pollution has not gone away—the problem has, in fact, gotten much more complex. James Hillegas-Elting’s book, Speaking for the River, provides a historical look at this dilemma.
Willamette River cleanup efforts between 1926 and 1975 centered on a struggle between abatement advocates and the two primary polluters in the watershed, the City of Portland and the pulp and paper industry. Beginning in 1926, clean streams advocates created ad hoc groups of public health experts, sanitary engineers, conservationists, sportsmen, and others to pressure Portland officials and industry representatives to cease polluting the river. By the late 1960s, these grassroots initiatives found political footholds at the state level. As governor between 1967 and 1975, Tom McCall took the issue of environmental protection personally, providing the charisma and leadership that was needed to finally make substantive progress toward cleaning the Willamette.
Speaking for the River is the first book to describe the historical roots of Willamette River pollution, providing important context for understanding the political, fiscal, and technological antecedents to the present-day conundrum. Hillegas-Elting’s contribution to the academic literature on environmental and urban history in Oregon will be welcomed by policy makers, environmentalists, and concerned citizens alike.
WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE • Winner of The New York Public Library’s Helen Bernstein Book Award
A new classic of science reporting.”—The New York Times
The true story of a small town ravaged by industrial pollution, Toms River won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize and has been hailed by The New York Times as "a new classic of science reporting." Now available in paperback with a new afterword by acclaimed author Dan Fagin, the book masterfully blends hard-hitting investigative journalism, scientific discovery, and unforgettable characters.
One of New Jersey’s seemingly innumerable quiet seaside towns, Toms River became the unlikely setting for a decades-long drama that culminated in 2001 with one of the largest environmental legal settlements in history. For years, large chemical companies had been using Toms River as their private dumping ground, burying tens of thousands of leaky drums in open pits and discharging billions of gallons of acid-laced wastewater into the town’s namesake river. The result was a notorious cluster of childhood cancers scientifically linked to local air and water pollution.
Fagin recounts the sixty-year saga of rampant pollution and inadequate oversight that made Toms River a cautionary tale. He brings to life the pioneering scientists and physicians who first identified pollutants as a cause of cancer and the everyday people in Toms River who struggled for justice: a young boy whose cherubic smile belied the fast-growing tumors that had decimated his body from birth; a nurse who fought to bring the alarming incidence of childhood cancers to the attention of authorities who didn’t want to listen; and a mother whose love for her stricken child transformed her into a tenacious advocate for change.
Rooted in a centuries-old scientific quest, Toms River is an epic of dumpers at midnight and deceptions in broad daylight, of corporate avarice and government neglect, and of a few brave individuals who refused to keep silent until the truth was exposed.
Toxic Airs brings together historians of medicine, environmental historians, historians of science and technology, and interdisciplinary scholars to address atmospheric issues on a spectrum of scales from body to place to planet. The chapters analyze airborne and atmospheric threats posed to humans, and contributors demonstrate how conceptions of toxicity have evolved and how humans have both created and mitigated toxins in the air.
Specific topics discussed include medieval beliefs in the pestilent breath of witches, malarial theory in India, domestic and military use of tear gas, Gulf War Syndrome, Los Angeles smog, automotive emissions control, the epidemiological effects of air pollution, transboundary air pollution, ozone depletion, the contributions of contemporary artists to climate awareness, and the toxic history of carbon “die”-oxide. Overall, the essays provide a wide-ranging historical study of interest to students and scholars of many disciplines.
Tourism is at once both a beloved pastime and a denigrated form of popular culture. Romanticized for its promise of pleasure, tourism is also potentially toxic, enabling the deadly exploitation of the cultures and environments visited. For many decades, the environmental justice movement has offered —toxic tours,— non-commercial trips intended to highlight people and locales polluted by poisonous chemicals. Out of these efforts and their popular reception, a new understanding of democratic participation in environmental decision-making has begun to arise. Phaedra C. Pezzullo examines these tours as a tactic of resistance and for their potential in reducing the cultural and physical distance between hosts and visitors.
Pezzullo begins by establishing the ambiguous roles tourism and the toxic have played in the U.S. cultural imagination since the mid-20th century in a range of spheres, including Hollywood films, women's magazines, comic books, and scholarly writings. Next, drawing on participant observation, interviews, documentaries, and secondary accounts in popular media, she identifies and examines a range of tourist performances enabled by toxic tours. Extended illustrations of the racial, class, and gender politics involved include Louisiana’s —Cancer Alley,— California’s San Francisco Bay Area, and the Mexican border town of Matamoros. Weaving together social critiques of tourism and community responses to toxic chemicals, this critical, rhetorical, and cultural analysis brings into focus the tragedy of ongoing patterns of toxification and our assumptions about travel, democracy, and pollution.
Although Utah is a land of outdoor wonders, the state has a distressing air pollution problem. In some areas like Salt Lake City, geography exacerbates the issue; air quality in the Wasatch Front metropolitan region often ranks among the worst in the nation.
Utah’s Air Quality Issues: Problems and Solutions is the first book to tackle the subject. Written by scholars in a variety of fields, including chemical engineering, economics, atmospheric science, health care, law, parks and recreation and public policy, the book provides a one-stop resource on the causes, impacts, and possible solutions to the state’s air quality dilemma. This volume is a must read for anyone wanting to understand Utah’s air pollution problem and what can be done about it.
The Yellow River
David A. Pietz Harvard University Press, 2015 Library of Congress TD424.4.C6P54 2015 | Dewey Decimal 333.916209511
In the Maoist years the North China Plain was re-engineered to use every drop of water for irrigation and hydroelectricity. As David Pietz shows, China’s urban growth, industrial expansion, and agricultural intensification rested on compromised water resources, with effects that cast a long shadow over China’s future course as a global power.