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Arming Mother Nature : the birth of catastrophic environmentalism

by Hamblin, Jacob Darwin,

Format: Print Book 2013
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 1 copy
Available (1)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library Mezzanine - Non-fiction GE180.H35 2013
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Mezzanine - Non-fiction
Call Number  GE180.H35 2013
Famines. Diseases. Natural catastrophes. In 1945, scientists imagined these as the future faces of war. The United States and its allies prepared for a global struggle against the Soviet Union by using science to extend "total war" ideas to the natural environment. Biological andradiological weapons, crop destruction, massive fires, artificial earthquakes and tsunamis, ocean current manipulation, sea level tinkering, weather control, and even climate change - all these became avenues of research at the height of the Cold War. By the 1960s, a new phrase had emerged:environmental warfare.The same science - in fact, many of the same people - also led the way in understanding the earth's vulnerability during the environmental crisis of the 1970s. The first reports on human-induced climate change came from scientists who had advised NATO about how to protect the western allies fromSoviet attack. Leading ecologists at Oxford also had helped Britain wage a war against crops in Malaya - and the Americans followed suit in Vietnam. The first predictions of environmental doomsday in the early 1970s came from the intellectual pioneers of global conflict resolution, and some haddesigned America's missile defense systems. President Nixon's advisors on environmental quality had learned how to think globally by imagining Mother Nature as an armed combatant.Knowledge of environmental threats followed from military preparations throughout the Cold War, from nuclear winter to the AIDS epidemic. How much of our catastrophic thinking about today's environmental crises do we owe to the plans for World War Three?
Published Reviews
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Hamblin (Poison in the Well) takes advantage of the Freedom of Information Act and thorough re-search to produce this chilling and cynical study of post-WWII collusion between scientists and the military to create alternative weapons of mass destruction: famine, plague, pestilence, drought, and earthquake. The Cold War paranoia that swept the world made the possibility of biological warfare a real fear: some governments believed that the virtue of using pathogens to decimate a country's popu-lation and economy was that "this could be done without declaring war." This obsession with prepar-ing for and protecting against total war led nations to join in global monitoring of the atmosphere, and Hamblin notes that in the International Geophysical Year of 1957 "humans were carrying out a major experiment on the earth." Among the plans considered was the melting of the polar ice cap to turn pen-insulas into islands. Hamblin reads Richard Nixon's support of a ban on biological weapons as an as-tute diversion from the efficacy of nuclear weapons and concludes that "when every problem is treated as a global crisis, real global crises are easily ignored." His dark review of recent history offers an un-settling theory of how close we have already come to total destruction. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."

Additional Information
Subjects Environmental policy -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
Environmentalism -- Political aspects -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
Environmental sciences -- Political aspects -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
Disasters -- Environmental aspects -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
War -- Environmental aspects -- History -- 20th century.
Military planning -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
Cold War -- Environmental aspects -- History -- 20th century.
Nature -- Effect of human beings on -- History -- 20th century.
Global environmental change -- History -- 20th century.
United States -- Military policy.
Publisher New York :Oxford University Press,2013
Language English
Description x, 298 pages ; 25 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 253-286) and index.
ISBN 9780199740055 (acid-free paper)
0199740054 (acid-free paper)
Other Classic View