August 31, 2009
News & Opinion: Devastating Intelligence
“Details of Bravo’s destruction were so deeply unsettling that over the next five years, the Atomic Energy Commission released only fragments of reports about it. Even a report to Congress was delayed due to “international political sensitivity.” Most of the scientific studies of radiation were conducted by academic institutes funded by the AEC. And many of the scientific articles published in the open literature followed AEC reports that had been classified – and unchallenged – for several years. Together, these limitations assured strong agency influence over public knowledge of the extent of destruction and contamination that would likely follow an attack. And it demonstrated the potent role that classified information could play to insulate political and military leaders from public criticism and accountability.”
This is from a book no one wants to know exists. In fact, much of the details, such as referred to above, reveal the government’s habit of keeping much information about toxin levels in our environment out of view. However, though it’s not information we want to understand as truth, the content of this book affects us all, has affected us for a long time, and holds future consequences we are not even yet aware of. It's an important book.
John Wargo’s Green Intelligence: Creating Environments That Protect Human Health describes the incredible destruction that’s been done to our environment, and how that damage, on a molecular level, is evidenced in every existing soil, plant, animal, and human in existence today. Starting with nuclear testing, progressing through pesticides, mercury in food, and ending in plastics manufacturing, progress has carried a catastrophic price tag, and our only hope now, according to Wargo, is to deal with it on a creatively defensive level going forward. There is no way to erase the effects already in place, but we can do something about contributing to them further.
This isn’t an environmental book about being nice to people, animals, etc. It’s a book of very stark facts about the world we live in, written with intelligence, insight, and profound recommendations of how we can deal with, somewhat literally, the black cloud over our heads.
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.