Devine, Robert S. Bush Versus the Environment. New York: Anchor Books, 2004. Paperback, 270 pp.
As U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd, who served under eleven presidents and for over fifty years, wrote in his important book Losing America: Confronting a Reckless and Arrogant Presidency(2004): “My eleventh president, George W. Bush, entered the White House with fewer tools than most. . . His major talent seems always to have been in raising money. And the money poured in from the corporate interests, who knew they would have a reliable friend in the White House. . .” (p. 19).
Senator Byrd’s comments ought to be borne in mind when pondering Devine’s argument about Bush’s anti-environmental but pro-corporate policies. “Bush’s lack of vision constantly shows up in his approach to environmental issues,” notes Devine (p. 236). Given that global warming has been recognized as the world’s single most significant challenge today, the White House approach to the environment has been exceptionally disastrous and, I would argue, even criminal.
As Devine documents, the Bush regime has not only pulled out of the sensible Kyoto Protocol but has wholeheartedly supported the corporate push for oil drilling on protected land in the Arctic, and piece by piece dismantled earlier legislation to protect wildlife and wilderness, as well as to backpeddle on Bush’s campaign pledge to reduce America’s carbon emissions.
Relying on questionable authorities and personal opinions, the Bush government has consistently ignored the warnings of the overwhelming majority of scientists, who see global warming as a major threat to the continuation of human civilization and indeed the biosphere as a whole. As Devine puts it: “As if trying to hide an elephant in the living room by throwing a slipcover over it, the Administration repeatedly has attempted to conceal the reality of global warming in environmental reports” (p. 175). By now, of course, the elephant has grown too big for any living room or to be concealed from the public.
The problem is that the public has thus remained silent and static. As Devine points out, to avoid further erosion of environmental standards, the public has to fully comprehend the situation and then speak out. Devine concludes, “. . . we citizens have an opportunity to force some changes, steer America toward an enlightened vision, and with the case of Bush versus the Environment” (p. 238). But will Americans have the courage to use the power of their collective vote to bring about change?
Copyright ©2007 by Georg Feuerstein. All rights reserved.
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