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Nuclear War and Environmental Catastropheby Noam Chomksy
Synopses & Reviews
Nuclear War and Environmental Catastrophe is a focused discussion on the existential threats of our time, and their points of intersection since World War II. Both nuclear war and environmental catastrophe have the potential for similar outcomes: a world made uninhabitable by the scarcity of water, food and livable land.
While a nuclear strike would require action, environmental catastrophe is partially defined by willful inaction in response to human-induced climate change. This short book, a series of interviews with Noam Chomsky by Laray Polk, exposes the economic matrix of dominant countries and the failure of the US to act in the face of exhaustive evidence. Denial of the facts is only half the equation, other factors contributing to degradation of the environment include extreme techniques for the extraction of remaining carbon deposits, the elimination of agricultural land for biofuel and the construction of dams, and the destruction of forests that are crucial carbon sequestration.
On the subject of current nuclear tensions, Chomsky revisits the long-established option of a nuclear-weapon-free zone (NWFZ) in the Middle East, a proposal set in motion through a joint Egyptian-Iranian General Assembly resolution in 1974.
This book serves as a warning that further postponement of nuclear disarmament and the productive search for sustainable energy will condemn the human species to catastrophic conditions in the very near future.
"This collection of interviews with revered American linguist, historian, political critic, and activist Chomsky reads at times like a 'Chomsky for Beginners' or greatest hits compilation mixed with some fresh insights on current political and economic issues. The book's central problem is its structure, most evident in its misleading title. Though Chomsky sharply critiques America's lack of green tech-nology, blames America for nuclear damage in Iraq, and attacks its arrogant attempt to control the arms race, these are hardly the two central themes of the book. However, the volume is still rich with Chomsky's opinions; he debunks present day hysterias like overblown threats from Iran or aggressive posturing by China. Perhaps the most interesting part of the Q & A format is Polk's constant attempts to bait Chomsky into Republican-specific attacks (the Koch brothers, Santorum, the religious right), a simplistic trap that Chomsky doesn't fall into. As Kennedy gets hit as hard as Nixon, so Obama takes his licks as much as Reagan. In the end, Chomsky argues that environmentalist hopes lay with one of the world's poorest countries, Bolivia — which has passed laws granting rights to nature — while Amer-ica, the richest, fracks the very ground beneath its feet. (May)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
NOAM CHOMSKY was born in Philadelphia in 1928. He studied at the University
of Pennsylvania where he received his PhD in linguistics in 1955. He joined the
staff at MIT and was appointed Institute Professor in 1976, gaining international
renown for his contributions to the understanding of language acquisition. He
became famous as a radical intellectual with the publication of his book,
Manufacturing Consent, in 1988. Chomsky has written and lectured widely on
linguistics, philosophy, intellectual history, contemporary issues, international
affairs and US foreign policy. His views have profoundly influenced both scientific
and political thought around the world. LARAY POLK was born in Durant,
Oklahoma and now lives in Dallas, Texas. She is a multimedia artist and writer.
Her articles and investigative reports have appeared in the Dallas Morning News,
D Magazine, and In These Times. As a 2009 grant recipient from The Investigative
Fund at The Nation Institute, she produced stories on the political entanglements
and compromised science behind the establishment of a radioactive waste
disposal site in Texas, situated in close proximity to the Ogallala Aquifer.
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