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Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit.

There is universal agreement that Al Gore is one of the smartest Vice Presidents we have ever had; this would be true even if a certain someone had not immediately preceded him in the job.

While admired for his intelligence, Vice President Gore has been tarred by some pundits as wooden and unemotional. Obviously, none of them have read his book. Published last year prior to the presidential campaign, Earth in the Balance is written not only with a policy wonk's grasp of the facts but with the passionate gusto of a father who has made a personal--a deeply personal--commitment to change the world for his children and children everywhere.

Interspersing the wisdom of everyone from Yogi Berra to Winston Churchill, Gore has produced a solid historical context for grasping the enormity of our global environmental calamity and an adroit analysis of how we daily make it worse. It is a chilling achievement--and indictment--in prose. Those of us who believe we know how bad it is can still be shocked. Those--like most officials in the previous two Administrations, who seem to believe we can simply put a cork in the ozone hole or a big hat on our head--should be downright scared to death.

However, Vice President Gore, as they say, doesn't just "talk the talk;" he can "walk the walk." In an unusual twist for a book written by a politician, Gore makes detailed recommendations for a sweeping prescription for worldwide change. His "Global Marshall Plan" is built on the premise that "we must make the rescue of the environment the central organizing principle for civilization."

The Gore plan is very tough medicine, based on five strategic goals: stabilizing world population; rapid development of environmentally appropriate technologies; a new system of economics that accounts for the environmental cost of decisions; international agreements to implement the plan; and universal environmental education.

The Vice President equates the breadth of this struggle to the half-century fight against communism. It may be even harder. There is no Evil Empire to rally against. In this battle, to quote Pogo, "we have met the enemy, and he is us."

Unfortunately, failure on this battlefield will not mean the end of life as we know it, but quite simply the end of life.

Earth in the Balance was written by Senator Al Gore as part of a personal--and sometimes spiritual--"journey in search of a true understanding of the global ecological crisis and how it can be resolved." Feeling "called" to this challenge, a remarkable confluence of events has given Vice President Gore the opportunity to turn what he learned on his journey into policy. Designated our nation's environmental advocate by President Clinton, his loud, clear voice will, if we are as prescient as the author, bring Americans and all the world's citizen's together in the epic struggle for environmental sanity.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Studds, Gerry E.
Publication:Oceanus
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jun 22, 1993
Words:475
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