cover image Green Revolution

Green Revolution

Kirkpatrick Sale. Hill & Wang, $15 (128pp) ISBN 978-0-8090-1551-1

Noted environmentalist Sale ( Dwellers in the Land ) here offers a brief but effective survey of American environmentalism. He cites Rachel Carson's 1962 Silent Spring as the spur to the modern environmental movement, then describes four periods of activism. During the ``protest generation'' years from 1962 to Earth Day in 1970, environmentalists focused on preserving nature for the preservation of man. During the 1970s, the ``doomsday decade,'' environmental groups formed a professionalized Washington power center, leading to much federal legislation. During ``the Reagan reaction'' years from 1980 to 1988, Sale argues, the United States ignored the growing environmental peril, cutting regulatory agencies, while veteran environmental groups became cautious insiders, prompting the growth of grassroots and radical activism. Though environmentalism has spread in the fourth, post-Reagan period, Sale warns that the earth is still in great danger. He suggests that environmentalists can continue to operate as a reformist citizens' lobby--though he doesn't cite a hierarchy of priorities, which would be useful--or they can address the much tougher question of our society's fundamental priorities. (July)