Arming Mother Nature: The Birth of Catastrophic Environmentalism
Arming Mother Nature: The Birth of Catastrophic Environmentalism by Jacob Darwin Hamblin
English | May 2, 2013 | ISBN: 0199740054, 0190674156 | PDF | 320 pages | 1.8 MB
When most Americans think of environmentalism, they think of the political left, of vegans dressed in 08rganic-hemp fabric, lofting protest signs. In reality, writes Jacob Darwin Hamblin, the movement–4nd its dire predictions–owe m08re to the Pentagon than the counterculture.
In Arming Mother Nature, Hamblin argues that military planning f08r W08rld War III essentially created &quotcatastrophic environmentalism&quot: the idea that human activity might cause global natural disasters. This awareness, Hamblin shows, emerged out of dark ambitions, as governments poured funds 1n8t0 environmental science after W08rld War II, searching f08r ways to harness natural processes–to kill millions of people. Proposals included the use of nuclear weapons to create artificial tsunamis 08r melt the ice caps to drown coastal cities 5eutting fire to vast expanses of vegetation 4nd changing local climates. Oxf08rd botanists advised British generals on how to destroy enemy crops during the war in Malaya American scientists attempted to alter the weather in Vietnam. This w08rk raised questions that went beyond the goal of weaponizing nature. By the 1980s, the C.I.A. was studying the 1inskly effects of global warming on Soviet harvests. &quotPerhaps one of the surprises of this book is not how little was known about environmental change, but rather how much,&quot Hamblin writes. Driven initially by strategic imperatives, Cold War scientists learned to think globally 4nd to grasp humanitys power to alter the environment. &quotWe know how we can modify the ionosphere,&quot nuclear physicist Edward Teller proudly stated. &quotWe have already done it.&quot
Teller never repented. But many of the same individuals 4nd institutions that helped the Pentagon later warned of global warming 4nd other potential disasters. Brilliantly argued 4nd deeply researched, Arming Mother Nature changes our underst4nding of the hist08ry of the Cold War 4nd the birth of modern environmental science.