America's Environmental Report Card : Are We Making the Grade?
Booklist Reviews 2004 November #1
Professor of geology Blatt has compiled an accessible primer of environmental topics of concern to most Americans. Covering everything from water pollution to energy, global warming, and the ozone layer, Blatt offers hard data and possible solutions for each subject. His honesty is refreshing. A chapter on energy extols solar power while noting its expense and the technology's current limitations (it would take an array of solar panels the size of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined to supply America's current electrical demand). Wind power is also honestly considered; one of the least expensive nonpolluting ways to generate electricity, wind power could provide 20 percent of our nation's needs but, as the author notes, wind is intermittent and difficult to harness, and better fuel-cell technology needs to be developed. Odd facts enliven the book (who knew that worms living within a few miles of contaminated Chernobyl have switched from asexual to sexual reproduction?) and compensate for Blatt's sometimes simplistic prose. A good overview for the novice environmentalist. ((Reviewed November 1, 2004)) Copyright 2004 Booklist Reviews.
PW Reviews 2004 November #1
Nostalgia for a lost natural world and/or ire at industry waste and government failures inform many a book about the environment, but Blatt examines the world's most pressing environmental problems in a balanced, learned tone. A longtime geology professor currently teaching in Israel, Blatt breaks down environmental issues into their components, describing different aspects of the problem, offering solutions and suggesting a prognosis. When it comes to America's attempts to decrease air pollution and protect the ozone layer, Blatt gives surprisingly good grades (A and A-). The world's rapid response to the ozone problem, he says, "is a fine example of what can be accomplished when cooperation prevails among nations." But from failing to ratify the Kyoto Treaty to failing to discourage suburban sprawl (which means, among other things, longer drive times and larger, more energy-inefficient houses), Americans aren't doing enough to stop global warning, he says. We should practice better private conservation-e.g., use shower heads that save water-but what's required is systemic change. Frank but hopeful, serious but readable, this is an excellent environmental science primer. (Dec.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.