ACT Now, Apologize Later

Adam Werbach, Author HarperCollins Publishers $25 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-017550-4
In Your Face! might be a more accurate title for this intensely confrontational call-to-environmental-arms by the 23-year-old president of the Sierra Club. Werbach has little patience for excuses, whether from the glib spokespersons of corporate polluters or the mouths of disenchanted Gen-Xers. Americans must do more than recycle bottles and cans, he insists; we must take vigorous action against the ""big boys"" like the U.S. government and large corporations. Though such a course might seem daunting, Werbach recounts the stories of several ordinary Americans who took on the giants and won. Beth Gausman, for example, who was injured by hydrogen fluoride that had leaked from a parked UPS truck, organized the Chemical Injury Coalition in 1988 and worked to help pass California Bill 2705, which regulates the transport of inhalation hazards. Rev. R.T. Conley of West Dallas managed to close down a smelting plant that was poisoning his community. Others have worked to save forests, streams, wetlands--and so must we all, says Werbach, whether it be the Grand Canyon or a corner of the Bronx. Werbach's reasoning, though impassioned, is neither subtle nor thorough; he identifies problems but does not offer concrete solutions, and oversimplifies complex issues--a poorly developed chapter on religion and environmentalism is one instance of such sloppy arguments. Thoughtful types may dislike Werbach's tendency to overstatement; others will appreciate his irreverence and zeal. His clarion call is bound to recruit a new generation of activists to fight the good fight for a clean and healthy natural world. Author tour; U.K. and translation rights: William Morris. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Nonfiction
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