But Is It True?: A Citizen’s Guide to Environmental Health and Safety Issues (Paperback)
  • But Is It True?: A Citizen’s Guide to Environmental Health and Safety Issues (Paperback)
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But Is It True?: A Citizen’s Guide to Environmental Health and Safety Issues (Paperback)

(author)
£43.95
Paperback 584 Pages
Published: 25/03/1997
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We've eaten Alar with our apples and PCBs with our fish, drunk arsenic with our water, breathed asbestos in our schools. Someone sounded the alarm, someone else said we were safe, and both had science on their side. Whom are we to trust? How are we to know? Amid this chaos of questions and conflicting information, Aaron Wildavsky arrives with just what the beleaguered citizen needs: a clear, fair, and factual look at how the rival claims of environmentalists and industrialists work, what they mean, and where to start sorting them out.

Working with his students at a risk analysis center, Wildavsky examined all the evidence behind the charges and countercharges in several controversial cases involving environmental health and public safety. Here he lays out these cases in terms an average citizen can understand, weighs the merits of the claims of various parties, and offers reasoned judgments on the government's response. From Love Canal to Times Beach, from DDT to Agent Orange, acid rain, and global warming, from saccharin to asbestos, nuclear waste, and radon, Wildavsky shows how we can achieve an informed understanding of the contentious environmental issues that confront us daily. The book supports the conclusion Wildavsky reached himself, both as a citizen committed to the welfare of the earth and its inhabitants, and as a social scientist concerned with how public policy is made: though it is bad to be harmed, it is worse to be harmed in the name of health.

Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674089235
Number of pages: 584
Weight: 762 g
Dimensions: 235 x 162 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

Global warming. Acid rain. Ozone holes. Just how much are we really at risk? This careful analysis of the evidence concludes that aside from ozone depletion, claims of imminent catastrophe are 'mostly false, unproven, or negligible.' - New York Times Book Review

But Is It True? is a guided tour de force of most of the American and global environmental causes célèbres since 'The Great Cranberry Scare' of 1959...It exemplifies the wit and vigor that have characterized [Wildavsky's] previous work. It exemplifies his passion for truth. - John Adams, Nature

The book...offers a wealth of clearly written information on past and current environmental science controversies, and it is a godsend to those who teach environmental policy classes. The book also makes a clear and compelling case for challenging conventional wisdom about the environmental perils that appear to surround us. - Hank C. Jenkins, American Political Science Review

Survey[s] a Hit Parade of great eco-scares...This is an exhaustive attempt to show how journalists and environmentalists have whipped up hysteria about these great nondangers to the public's health. - Max Boot, Wall Street Journal

Published posthumously, this book presents in a simplified, concise manner scientific findings related to environmental and safety issues of general concern...Wildavsky follows issues such as Love Canal, Agent Orange, PCBs, and Alar from initial findings through media hype to resulting governmental regulation. He invites citizens to evaluate the facts and his conclusions regarding the exaggeration of danger. Wildavsky's hope is that citizens will apply similar factual consideration to other issues as they arise...Recommended. - Judith L. Lesso, Library Journal

The author offers a sociology of scientific knowledge in the United States and how the independent findings of non-governmental organizations influenced processes of decision-making concerning environmental issues. In this purpose, Wildavsky starts with very concrete and knowledgeable case-studies and develops later on to more general conclusions about the relationship between science and citizenship. This collective enterprise is a well-researched manual for environmentalists. Moreover, it offers a compendium of strategies to assess the risk of harmful substances and to prevent the detriment of health...Wildavsky's last book is an excellent, differentiated and well-documented tool to make democracy more accountable and, at the same time, thrilling. - José M. Magone, Political Studies [UK]

The measure of the importance of Wildavsky's work on risk is that nobody involved in environmental and health risk issues can afford to ignore it, least of all the environmentalists he is likely to infuriate. here, as ever, Aaron Wildavsky is iconoclastic, provocative, insightful, engaging and engaged. - John S. Dryzek, Journal of Public Policy

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