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Ecologist
Man and the environment • The Quality of life • Pollution • Conservation

Vol. 1. No. 3 September 1970

Saving the Severn • Should Britain be a federation?


The green revolution • Supersonic second thoughts
It's good to get out for a breath of fresh air.
But some people have to go a long way Natural Gas, Britain's cleanest fuel, is going
for it, because, as everybody knows, ahead at high speed-with great benefit to all.
Britain's 'smokeless zone' programme is by no In a few years' time it will not be
means yet complete. so easy to take photographs as grim as this one.
There are quite a few areas where this The sooner the better.
kind of picture can still be taken. On the
other hand the programme of conversion to Use Natural Gas-the smokeless fuel.
The Ecologist
Vol. 1. No 3 September 1970

Editorial 3

Feature articles
Dr Eric Albone The ailing air What are we doing to our most essential resource? 4

Francis Arnold ' Save Sabrina! Ecological research project in jeopardy 10

Jean Liedloff The supersonic albatross Concorde discord 14

Michael Allaby Green revolution: social boomerang FAO's 2nd World Food Congress 18

David Evans Should Britain be a federation ? A plan for decentralization 22

Feedback 31
Farewell guillemot and goodbye razorbill • Greetings PCBs ' Dirty sea dangers • Oil on
the rising sun • Pollution makes climate change ' Smog cuts sunlight' Bonds against
pollution * Black or white ecology ' Who pays the bill ? * Cigarettes = cancer = death'
Smell pollution * Esso gets sulphur out " Jet pollution • The price of pumps • Ad-ding to
the horror ' Norway's electric car • From plastic to dust * Mass mercury poisoning * Non-
potable drinking water ' Better off in gaol * Poor caviar • Warning light * DDT did for
Cannery Row ' Light haze kills too ' Ear-service only ' Power-rationing • Freedom to
breed ' Poverty before pollution ' Alaska pipeline could close • Evolution in our time

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Reports 35
Factory farms versus factory farms * A lot of rubbish ' Not counting foreigners ' Seminar
on Water pollution by oil, Aviemore, May 1970

Comments 39
Must cars take over our cities • Of ants and men * Too many • Poetry and knowledge'
Scabby apples

Columns
Lawrence D. Hills Down to earth Mrs Butler's bill 28
Wayne Davis Gargoyle The fifth freedom 29

Books 43
Towards hope: The subversive science * Massed doom: The environmental crisis ' From
prehistory to preservation: The vanishing wildlife of Britain; Wildlife preservation

Poems 25 • 34 • 42
Letters 26
Coming events 48

Editor: E R . D . Goldsmith; Assistant editor: Robert Allen; Managing editor: Brian W. W. Welsh; Contributing editors: Michael Allaby, Peter Bunyard
Jean LiedlorT; Art and Production director: Ronald Gibbons, M . S . I A . D . ; Research: Charles Maclean. Photographs by Robert Baker of London Graphics'
Editorial copy and enquiries should be addressed to The Editor, The Ecologist, 73 Kew Green, Richmond, Surrey. Telephone: 01-948 0690

Published by Ecosystems L t d registered office 11 Mansfield Street, Portland Place, London, W 1 M 0 A H and distributed by the New English Library (Magazine
Division), Barnards Inn, Holborn, London, E . C . I . Printed by the Garden City Press L t d . , Pixmore Avenue, Letchworth, Hertfordshire.

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Editorial

The cult of 'productivity' viable 5000 miles of hedgerows are though the importance to technological
"Productivity" is a cult. Its aim is to mercilessly cut down annually. Partly processes of such renewable manufac­
achieve maximum output for minimum as a result each year the fens lose an tured resources is trivial compared to
input. This sounds innocent enough, inch of topsoil which has taken between that of land and non-renewable minerals
even desirable, as it is in this way that 300 and 1000 years to produce. These and fuels, the latter are totally left out
wealth can be maximized. factors combine to reduce the land's of our accounts. Why? The answer is
Closer scrutiny, however, reveals that capacity to produce food for the future. that if they were included it would be­
this wealth is mainly illusory and that it It must be clear by now that the "pro­ come plainly evident that modern agri­
is achieved at vast social cost. ductivity" we are referring to is not just culture, rather than having increased
The goal of behavioural processes in output divided by input. It is short-term productivity, has drastically reduced it.
a stable system is to achieve an optimum output divided by long-term input. Thus But this is not all. Growing food is not
output—never a maximum one. to increase today's output we are using man's only occupation. A social system
There is no way of increasing the out­ resources required for tomorrow. is very complex. It is made up of many
put of any part of a system beyond the But this is not all. We are supposing parts, and many of these have been
optimum with total impunity. This is a that land is the only input. It is not. affected by those processes that have
basic ecological principle from which There are countless others, and some of permitted the spectacular rise in "pro­
no-one is exempt—not even the most them, rather than fall or remain con­ ductivity" of which we are so proud. For
brilliant scientists in the world. stant, have risen dramatically. Thus, instance, pesticides have decimated bird
Take the example of "Productivity" whereas in 1939 farmers used 60 ele­ and insect species. Nitrates, added to
in agriculture. In 1935 wheat yield per ments of nitrogen fertilizer, in 1968 they the soil, have run off into rivers, leading
acre was 19 cwt. By 1968 it had surged to to eutrophication and the extermination
were using 748. In fact, "productivity", if
29. How has this been achieved? The of fish-life. Cutting down hedgerows has
nitrogen is taken as the input, has fallen
answer is by "intensification", i.e. by in­ transformed once beautiful countryside
by 88%. I t has also fallen if we take
creasing the input of various technolo­ into monotonous prairies. Unemployment
chemical pesticides as the input, as it has
gies. In this way wheat output per unit of has destroyed rural life and the cities
if we take agricultural machinery. On
land has risen dramatically. But is it have become chaotic and overcrowded
the other hand it may appear that pro­
the same wheat? Also is it the same as more and more have sought factory
ductivity per unit of labour has increased
land? The answer, in both cases, is no. employment.
since there are less than half as many
Among other things, we have in­ In many of the so-called developing
people on the land as there were after
creased the use of nitrogen fertilizers and countries this process is proceeding
the war. But this too is an illusion—as
introduced chemical pesticides. As a re­ at such a rate and on such a scale
sult today's wheat is different. For in­ many of the people who once tilled the
that cities are menaced with social
stance, it has a higher water content and soil are now simply producing the fer­
breakdown. Indeed at the present rate,
may contain traces of dangerous poisons tilizers, pesticides and agricultural
it is only a matter of time before the
such as DDT. machinery in urban factories. Indeed,
alienated and unemployed refugees in
But the land has also been affected. if agriculture is defined as the production
mushrooming shantytowns revolt and
The structure of the soil has been de­ of food, then they are as much involved destroy any semblance of law and order.
stroyed. Its moisture retaining capacity in it as they were before.
Thus the cult of productivity is lead­
has been impaired which makes it far But this is not all. To manufacture ing to a reduction in the quality of our
more vulnerable to drought, as farmers fertilizers, pesticides and machinery, we food and in the land's long-term food-
in East Anglia are finding to their cost. must build factories, to transport them producing capacity, and also causing
In addition pesticides have exterminated we must build roads—and all this, as such serious perturbations in the com­
countless living organisms that previous­ does their daily use, involves the con­ plex social and ecological systems of
ly controlled pest-populations. This sumption of non-renewable natural re­ which we are part that it may menace
makes food production that much more sources—metals of different sorts—and the very survival of civilized life.
vulnerable to epidemics—think of the above all fossil fuels of which the earth Clearly we must scrap this absurd
swarms of green-flies and caterpillars has a limited stock and one that is fast cult, and in devising a substitute goal-
that farmers are now complaining of. running out. structure let us remember that it is the
We have also had to introduce expen­ It is recognized accounting practice to optimum that we must aim for—never
sive farm machinery—and to make this 'write off' or 'amortize' fixed plant. Yet the maximum.
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The ailing air
Do we know what we are doing to our most essential resource?
by Dr Eric S. Albone
Research Associate, Centre for the Biology of Natural Systems, Washington University, Saint Louis, Missouri.

Man's capacity today to kill and to the abundance of shorter wavelength


"Pollution panic" is today's fad. communicate, to reproduce and to foul radiation leading to a chemistry based on
But it is far too serious to be so with his biological and technological ex­ the photolysis of oxygen molecules to
creta is global and therefore of dimen­ atomic oxygen. One consequence is the
devalued. In the midst of our sions critical to his survival. The prob­ maintenance of an ozone layer which
current clamour, facts are few lem is one of the scale of man's power, serves to shield the earth's surface from
and informed discussion is and pollution presents one facet of that dangerous radiation. But even these re­
deafeningly silent. Attitudes of impending problem, one manifestation mote heights feel man's impact. It is said
of man's mindless might. that by flying for one hour at these alti­
environmental hypochondria Let us here look at one kind of pollu­ tudes, a supersonic transport consumes
jostle those of "balanced" tion, the physical and biological aspects 66 tons of fuel and casts out 83 tons of
complacency. In this article Dr. of the pollution of the air, remembering water, 72 tons of carbon dioxide and 4
Eric S. Albone puts the problems that in reality our environment is an tons each of carbon monoxide and nitric
integrated whole and that a considera­ oxide. I f such flights become common,
of air pollution into perspective. tion of the air environment in isolation the consequences are unclear. Anxiety
is not strictly valid. And if we wish to has been voiced that the water vapour
A year ago a man walked on the look to the future, let us mainly look produced at elevations where natural
moon. Here was a measure of our time, to the present rather than lose ourselves water concentrations are low could have
inspiring and futile, cut out by cash and in fantasy, for the present is where the significant effects on the energy balance
courage for the television sets of the future is born. of the entire planet, and also that the
world. But it was a crucial event, for "Pollution" is not a scientific term, vital ozone layer could be disrupted. But
here man first stood outside his world implying as it does a value judgement. lacking sufficient background knowledge
and knew his oneness with a precious, It presents a convenient label but not a we can only advance an informed guess.
living lump of rock set in a bleak infinity. convenient starting point. Rather it is Into this thin envelope of air we pour
Here was an experience different from necessary first to develop understandings our gaseous wastes. Carbon dioxide is
that of generations of explorers strug­ of the nature of the many complex pro­ produced in massive quantities, but this
gling over the earth's hostile hide in cesses occurring in the environment. is not usually considered a pollutant.
search of new lands and new fortunes. Judgements follow, for although on With water, it is the ultimate product of
Here was a world grown small and some occasions pollution will be evident combustion. Of the major gases con­
fragile in the shadow of man's power. to all, at others it will be illusory and sidered pollutants, the US in 1965 re­
From a relentless arrogance towards at still others it may be hidden to casual leased an estimated 72 million tons of
a world we still seem to believe was examination. carbon monoxide, 26 million tons of
created for our benefit and from a deter­ sulphur oxides, 19 million tons of hydro­
mination to exploit all we find with un­ Envelope of air carbons, 13 million tons of nitrogen
compromising thoroughness has flowed So, what of the air environment? Each oxides and 12 million tons of "particles",
the stream of achievements of which we day each of us breathes his way through together with a plethora of other mater­
are justly proud. Such attitudes, which about 3000 gallons of air composed, if ials, lesser in quantity but not necessarily
Lynn White sees rooted in our half-for­ dry and clean, of 78.09 per cent by in significance. Future trends are un­
gotten theological past, are now by their volume of nitrogen and 20.94 per cent certain, but if one recalls the astonish­
very success and power threatening us oxygen. The remainder is mainly argon ingly rapid and violent explosion in
with destruction. Their value has passed. and carbon dioxide. I n practice, water technology which this century has seen,
Man must learn to replace harmony for vapour is also present to an extent vary­ one could be very pessimistic. On this
aggression, or die. Rene Dubos has put ing from 1 to 3 per cent. Approximately point, the Spilhaus Report in America
it this way. " I n order to survive, man­ one half the weight of the atmosphere projected with regard to sulphur dioxide
kind will have to develop what might be lies below an altitude of 18,000 feet and emissions that on the basis of "severe
called a steady state." The transition im­ 1 per cent above 100,000 feet. The com­ but realistic controls . . . a 75 per cent
plies momentous consequences for all position and dominant chemical pro­ increase by 1980 and a further 75 per
aspects of our life and thought. But un­ cesses of the atmosphere differ from the cent increase by 2000" will occur, and
less there is transition, our tenancy of troposphere, which extends from the John Middleton, US National Air Pol­
this planet is limited. ground to 39,000 feet at mid-latitudes, in lution Control Administration Commis-

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weight of dismal surroundings also have
a place. One estimate of the total
Only when such understandings are agricultural damage in the US
being developed can we hope to discuss resulting from air pollution has
pollution rationally. Then we shall begin
to be aware of the real costs of our com­ put the cost at $500 million per
forts in the modern world, and we shall year.
become impatient with such statements
as "The Generating Board has been County's 4 million cars. This accumu­
searching for years for a way of remov­ lates in an atmosphere in which low
ing sulphur dioxide formed by the burn­ winds and the surrounding mountains
ing of fossil fuels without increasing the limit horizontal dispersion, and thermal
cost of electricity" (Daily Telegraph). inversion (which lies over the area some
We shall realize the real cost of dirty 320 days of the year) limits vertical dis­
electricity. persion. The outcome is a whole range
The environment is a dynamic system of new pollutants, the oxidants, formed
and our gaseous wastes are unlikely to in the atmosphere itself. Best known are
remain unchanged in it. I f they were to, ozone and peroxyacetyl nitrate (PAN).
global air pollutant levels would slowly An average oxidant level of 0.15 ppm
"By 1990 our potential to emit and inevitably rise. In fact, with the or more for an hour is considered evid­
dearth of information we have, we prob­ ence of serious photochemical smog. Los
sulphur oxides could hit 95 ably wouldn't notice the early stages of Angeles experienced such smog on 29
million tons—and again our this process anyway. We also have rather per cent of the 714 days of 1964 and
calculations may well prove on little information on the nature and ex­ 1965 for which good records exist. This
the conservative side." tent of the various processes removing phenomenon, unknown before 1945, is.
pollutants from the atmosphere, the now extending to other major cities of
sioner, has written this year that "by natural pollutant sinks. We are unsure the world. I t exacts a severe toll, the
1990 our potential to emit sulphur oxides of the atmospheric fate of carbon mon­ total cost of which has not been compu­
could hit 95 million tons—and again our oxide (although we can guess) and of ted. Here are some elements of the cost.
calculations may well prove on the con­ methane, although the possibility of Oxidants produce severe eye and respir­
servative side". What happens in oxidation in the stratosphere has been atory irritation and one study has re­
America will surely be paralleled here. discussed. Usually we have not worried vealed a general relationship between
Certainly the problem will continue to about such problems and have trusted oxidant levels and the athletic perform­
grow under the fragmentary yet relent­ that pollutants will be diluted by the ance of schoolchildren in Los Angeles.
less impulse of our dangerously narrow winds and then forgotten. Materials are attacked, especially rub­
economic concern. ber, and plants are damaged. In 1954 the
Killer smogs damage to crops from Los Angeles air
Understanding pollution But we cannot always trust the pollution was even then estimated at $3
To put meaning into these numbers, weather to be our friend. The December million per year. One estimate of the
various understandings are required. 1952 killer smog of London depended total agricultural damage in the US re­
Firstly we need to know something about for its ferocity on the weather. It impell­ sulting from air pollution has put the
the diffusion, transformation and fate of ed Londoners to light fires to keep warm cost at $500 million per year. I t is poss­
the substances we add to air. This re­ and then trapped the smoke in the damp ibly greater. Nobody really knows. To­
quires a knowledge of the location, atmosphere. Last summer (1969), the day we have reports of smog killing
nature and extent of emission sources American mid-west experienced smog nearly a million trees in a National For­
and understandings derived from mete­ for several days and smog alerts were an­ est on the mountains 60 miles from Los
orology and atmospheric chemistry to­ nounced in Chicago and St Louis as stag­ Angeles.
gether with the support derived from an nant air settled over the region and pop­
extensive monitoring programme of the ulations suffocated in their own fumes. British scene
ambient air. In all these areas we are In fact US government meteorologists But that is America, not Britain, we
weak. A second kind of understanding (ESSA) regularly examine meteorologi­ confidently say. Such things do not hap­
we require concerns the effects of mat­ cal charts and issue high pollution pen here. And certainly the British scene
erials added to the air at the concentra­ warnings as such atmospheric conditions differs from the American. Sometimes it
tions and in the mixtures actually en­ develop over a region. Los Angeles pro­ is better, sometimes worse. Conditions
countered. We may expect effects on vides a notorious example of unfavour­ are not nearly so conducive to the form­
man's health, on his possessions (through able climate. Pollutants from this heavily ation of photochemical smog in Britain
corrosion and soiling), on the plants he populated area concentrate in a stagnant as in Los Angeles. But recall that there
grows for food and decoration, and on atmosphere and, in the California sun, is neither extensive nor systematic mon­
the total web of life of which he is part. undergo photochemical transformations itoring of the air for oxidants in Britain,
Effects on a global scale are to be ex­ which are even now not fully under­ so our optimism has little base apart
pected and the less easily quantified con­ stood. Most significant in Los Angeles from supposition, albeit seemingly rea­
sequences such as personal discomfort are the oxides of nitrogen and hydro­ sonable supposition in the case of oxid­
caused by odour and the psychological carbons derived from Los Angeles ants. In this context, it is interesting to

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recall recent reports from Porton con­ This form of pollution is most easily
cerning an unexpected bactericidal com­ As a result of the "vast geo­ overlooked. A n example is the damage
ponent of ordinary air. I t is conjectured physical experiment" man is observed to cut its way through the cen­
that this component has an origin similar tre of St Louis last year following the
unwittingly conducting, "by the
to Los Angeles smog, but this time chance release of quite a small quantity
"made in Britain". year 2000 the increase in of defoliant. Defoliant is manufactured
Apart from some measurements in atmospheric carbon dioxide will in the area. The effect on plant life could
London, we do not examine the com­ be close to 25 per cent". be mapped, but it required a trained
position of our atmosphere very thor­ scientist with an interest in the commun­
oughly. The Ministry of Technology ity to draw the observations together,
through its Warren Spring Laboratory measures only smoke and sulphur di­ and such persons are not often available.
has been conducting a very extensive oxide. This is not adequate. Nitrogen
National Survey of Smoke and Sulphur oxides and oxidants should be added to Acid rain
Dioxide for some years. By September the list, especially in view of the Porton But sometimes quite ordinary pollut­
1969, 1189 daily sampling instruments reports. And a much more general ap­ ants fox us. Consider the fact that
were in use. This excellent study has re­ proach to assessing air quality should Sweden's rain has become more acidic
sulted in the publication of a listing of be initiated. A report of the 1967 WHO recently. One theory is that the sulphur
geographical "black areas" in Britain. symposium on the health effects of air dioxide emissions from Britain and other
It has also detected a very encouraging pollution contains these remarkable European countries are to blame. Are
downward trend in ground-level sulphur statements: " I n the concentrations they? We don't know. Since 1957, the
dioxide and smoke levels in the country found in the air, none of the known pol­ pH (a measure of acidity, the acidity in­
as a whole in recent years, especially fol­ lutants would be expected to have any creasing the lower the pH) of rain over
lowing the Clean Air Act of 1956. But serious effects on health . . . some un­ Britain has averaged p H 5.0. But, in
this limited success is grounds for more known substance is therefore responsible Sweden, median values have been slowly
action rather than less, especially in the for the correlation between airway resist­ dropping from p H 4.8 in the period
face of the bureaucratic farce in which ance and air pollution during the win­ 1957-61 to p H 4.5 in the years 1962-6.
shortages of smokeless fuel have now ter". That is how much we understand Isolated reports of rain of astonishing
dictated a policy of suspension of smoke­ our environment. acidity exist. This phenomenon is hot
less zones. We need to be on the lookout for un­ confined to Sweden. In 1958, precipita­
usual or unexpected pollutants which tion of p H less than 5.0 was limited to
Unknown pollutants can cause serious damage even following parts of the Netherlands. By 1962, rain
But the Ministry of Technology survey brief exposure at low concentrations. of that acidity extended over areas of
Sydney harbour
Carbon dioxide build-up
Carbon dioxide with water is the ulti­ Man is unique in the rapidity
mate major product of combustion. It and extent to which he is
is non-toxic and a natural constituent of conducting his blind
the air. I t appears quite harmless. But environmental experiments.
global carbon dioxide levels are rising.
They have risen from 296 ppm in 1900
to 318 ppm today. The US President's extending round the globe at altitudes
Science Advisory Committee Report of just above the tropopause. Large ex­
1965 entitled "Restoring the Quality of panses of vegetation evolve considerable
Our Environment" states that, as a re­ quanties of organic materials. Even the
sult of the "vast geophysical experi­ reactive hydrocarbon isoprene has been
ment" man is unwittingly conducting, thus identified. But man is unique in the
"by the year 2000 the increase in atmos­ rapidity and extent to which he is con­
pheric carbon dioxide will be close to ducting his blind environmental experi­
25 per cent. This may be sufficient to ments. A medley of pollutants marks his
produce measurable and perhaps mark­ crowded communities. A n American
ed changes in climate, and will almost study shows that the level of lead in rain
in a given locality is well correlated with
"Britain has the highest death certainly cause significant changes in the
temperature and other properties of the the sales of leaded petrol in that location.
rate in the world for chronic lung In two cities, the level of lead in rain
stratosphere". The root of the matter is
disease in middle-aged men." that the carbon dioxide build-up, which was twice the maximum allowed by US
through man's agency has been too rapid Public Health Service standards for
for the slow acting natural sinks such as drinking water. In this context, it is
central Europe and in the Netherlands
cheering to read in the 1968 Rothamsted
rain of acidity below pH 4.0 was en­ the ocean to respond, may perturb the
Report that " i n most industrial coun­
countered. It is pointless to debate who globe's energy balance, for carbon di­
tries, burning (sulphur containing) fuels
or what is to blame. We do not have any oxide, while allowing the sun's radiation
puts enough sulphur in the air and rain
conclusive evidence. For example, we do to reach the earth in its usual way, has
to provide for crops".
not have much information how much the property of trapping the longer wave­
pollution we "export" on the winds. A n length radiation the earth re-irradiates Pollution by metals
airborne spectroscopic technique deve­ back into space, thus tending to an over­
Pollution of the environment by small
loped in America would be valuable all global temperature rise. This might
quantities of metals is a vast subject,
here, but it is unlikely to be applied. So even eventually cause some melting of
not fully explored. Metals can pollute
far our one ground-level directional the polar ice-caps with an accompanying
the environment in various ways and
smoke and sulphur dioxide pollutant change in sea level. It seems however
can have serious effects on health. Lead
monitoring station on the Norfolk coast that this may not happen. The total situ­
has been much discussed, but it possibly
indicates that we "export" just a little ation is much more complicated. Not
also exerts indirect effects. Very low lead
more than we "import". But one sta­ only carbon dioxide, but also atmos­
levels occur in our cities as the result
tion is not enough to begin to assess the pheric water and dust levels (the dust
of using leaded petrol. Certain experi­
situation. And still people debate Swe­ level itself being partly the result of ments also reveal that the lung's resist­
den's rain. It seems that we are deter­ man's activity) together with factors de­ ance to infection may also be lowered
mined to fight the "Fight Against Pollu­ pending on the sun's own activity, deter­ by exposure to small quantities of lead.
tion" over unknown terrain. There is the mine the earth's temperature. In fact, Cadmium is linked with hypertension
frightening-amusing quotation of one of global temperatures which had been ris* and a whole spectrum of other metals
our lost leaders, Austin N . Heller, Com­ ing, have, since 1940, been declining a also exert their effects. NAPCA Behavi­
missioner of Air Resources, New York, little. The crucial point in all this is oural Toxicology Unit at Cincinnati is
that "by reducing sharply the ambient that man is now acting in ignorance on looking at the way pollutants affect brain
sulphur dioxide levels, we could be in­ a scale of global consequence. Further it function. Carbon monoxide, lead and
creasing photochemical reactions . . . or seems practically impossible that he ozone are under investigation, for al­
smog". I don't suppose anyone knows would be able to regulate his production though it has been said that carbon
enough about any particular atmosphere of carbon dioxide anyway. monoxide in the environment seldom
to say whether or not this is so. But we Even with smogs and smoke and sul­ results in blood carboxyhaemoglobin
do know the fight is world-wide. The phuric acid droplets in urban air, to see levels much in excess of those experi­
Swedish rain situation indicates that. We pollution in perspective, it must be recog­ enced by smokers, these levels could be
know it too from the detection of pesti­ nized that man is not alone in pouring of significance on our roads where any
cide residues (DDT, dieldrin, BHC, hep- chemicals into the air. Estimates are that reduction in driver performance and per­
tachlor epoxide) in the tissues of the ani­ 80 per cent of the sulphur dioxide in the ception could be critical. Metals in the
mals of Antarctica, even if the concen­ air of the whole world at any time de­ environment might also play an impor­
trations are low. Pesticides have never rives from the natural sulphur cycle in tant part in the chemical transforma­
been used in that entire continent. We which hydrogen sulphide is evolved by tions of other pollutants. Thus mangan­
know it too from the carbon dioxide decaying organic matter. There is too a ese and iron speed the production of sul­
affair. natural region rich in sulphate particles phuric acid from sulphur dioxide. Again

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more needs to be known concerning the creased deaths were notable among lung duction in growth rate of the plant),
full range of such catalysis. (especially bronchitis) and heart diseases none of these have been discussed. Nor
especially in old people. Under less has the role of pollution in contributing
Air pollution and health dramatic circumstances, Carnow has to haze and mist nor the implications of
In this sea of uncertainty, it is diffi­ documented an increase in acute mor­ pollution for ecology. As the 1969
cult to know where we stand with regard bidity from respiratory disease in pati­ American Chemical Society Report
to the consequences of air pollution for ents with chronic bronchopulmonary states, "the relationship of air contamin­
our health. The 1970 Report for the disease in association with increased am­ ants to the ecology, the aggregate of liv­
Royal College of Physicians "Air Pollu­ bient sulphur dioxide levels in Chicago. ing things as they exist together in
tion and Health" does state that "Britain Another survey published in 1969, com­ nature, is very nearly a total mystery".
has the highest death rate in the world paring human lung tissue obtained at We are increasingly learning the impor­
for chronic lung disease in middle-aged post-mortem from long-time residents of tance of odour in determining behaviour
men" and that "men working in Lon­ heavily polluted St Louis with similar patterns of animals and the study of
don had worse bronchitis and poorer tissue from Winnipeg where high pollu­ pheromones is in its infancy. The range
function of the lung than those in either tion and stagnant atmospheric conditions of the implications of pollution is further
Bergen (Norway) or the cities of the are far less common, revealed a marked suggested by one report suggesting that
eastern seaboard of the United States" deterioration of the lung in the more certain air pollutants possibly stimulate
taking men of similar age and smoking polluted city. This effect was not the growth of Haemophilus influenzae.
habits. It remains difficult to assess the accounted for on the basis of smoking a bacterium significant in relation to
precise impact of pollution on health be­ history alone. For example, "of the chronic bronchial disease.
cause of the variability of susceptibility smokers, there were four times as many But in all things, it is apparent that
and exposure among the population and cases of severe emphysema in St Louis we are only beginning to understand
because of the importance of synergistic residents as was observed in Winnipeg". what we are doing to our environment.
effects, that is, of combinations of effects This assessment was made on the basis Knowledge is scarce and the situation
acting together to create an enhanced of lung tissue examination. is serious. There is so much we need to
total effect. The private (and therefore of know before we can begin to live in our
less public concern) "pollution" of Time to act world intelligently. The pressures are on.
tobacco smoking adds a further compli­ This brief discussion of air pollution It is time to act now.
cation. As Lambert and Reid recently has touched lightly on only some of
stated in the Lancet, "The dominant many aspects of the subject. Corrosion
influence of smoking on chronic lung of metals and stonework, the discolora­
"The relationship of air
disease is now well recognized", yet air tion of paints, the soiling and disintegra­ contaminants to the ecology, the
pollution effects are documented. Most tion of fabrics, the effects on crops of aggregate of living things as they
dramatic was the London smog of Dec­ pollutants where "hidden" effects are
ember 5 to 9, 1952, responsible for an
exist together in nature, is very
sometimes as important as visible dam­
estimated 3,500 to 4,000 deaths. In­ age to foliage (hidden effects include re­
nearly a total mystery."

New York
Save Sabrina
An ecological research project is menaced by lack of funds
by Francis Arnold

bank the original inhabitants of this land major threat to the welfare, and eventu­
The Sabrina Project is an blended into the countryside, and lived ally survival, of hundreds of thousands
ambitious and constructive in it harmoniously. of people in this region alone.
Today all of this is gone. Great ex­ This is not idle speculation. There
response to critical conditions
panses of the coastline, from Gloucester are, for example, three nuclear power
caused by pollution. An to Bridgwater, have been effectively stations, including the largest in the
extremely competent inter­ destroyed. The air is foul with the fumes country, on the banks of the Severn. It
disciplinary team of scientists of power stations and steel works. should be noted that this river has one
Chemical plants pour their effluent into
is attempting a detailed study of the highest tides on earth, and is prone
the river, and even the land is becom­ to flooding. It is hideous to contemplate
of the Severn Estuary in order ing poisoned. Trout in the tributaries
the effect of a wave of water rushing
to predict the likely effects of of the river and birds on its surrounding
through such a plant, to emerge heavily
development planning there. mudflats are dying out.
laden with radioactive isotopes. But even
The Severn is not unique in this re­
This important project is barring such a catastrophe, the prospects
spect. Almost every river in England
suffering from lack of funds shares its fate. Until recently, this de­
are poor. In at least three cases, nuclear
and support. We consider it plants have failed disastrously, spreading
struction of one of our most valuable
large amounts of radiation—and this is
essential it be allowed to resources has provoked little protest,
other than from conservationists, who only in the last 20 years. Furthermore,
accomplish its vital aims. the wastes have to be disposed of some­
have been ridiculed as "doom-cryers" by
the hard-headed men of government and where; the containers so far designed
The area around the Severn river was industry. have a shorter half-life than some of
once among the loveliest and most fertile Cries of doom are unfortunately not their more toxic contents. Finally, there
in Britain. Its cities grew rich on agri­ out of place. The sewage, slag and fumes are no guarantees that low doses of
culture and foreign trade. On the Welsh which have caused these changes are a radiation are as harmless as they were

Pollution
guide to
the Severn

10
believed to be. I f anything, all the evid­ near the Gloucester canal; the steel to think that this is unquestionably a
ence points the other way. works at Port Talbot have killed off the Good Thing.
surrounding forest; Monsanto Chemi­
Region with a future cals pours its chlorinated biphenyl resi­ Planning amok
But the government wants to "de­ dues into the Severn. Several cement What of this planned introduction of
velop" the region. A recent report {The works pump out dust and sulphur dioxide new industry? I called the Ministry of
Southwest: a region with a future, GPO, on its banks. Stray fluoride from the slag Housing and Local Government in
1967) suggests siting at least another heaps—"inevitable" by-products of the Bristol and tried to find out what safe­
150,000 people, and a lot of power-con­ construction of the M5—has caused guards were proposed against the intro­
suming industry near Bristol alone. This fluorosis in cows. In the latter case, it duction of pollution hazards. The reply
will require the services of the two addi­ has got so bad that several farmers have did little to reduce my concern for the
tional atomic plants already planned, found their milk refused by the market­ people of the region. Basically, it is un­
and several more besides. ing board for this reason. But there is no likely that any plant which wished to
That is, needless to say, only the be­ redress available to them. site itself in areas planned for industry
ginning. The Avonmouth complex is These are just some of the consequen­ would be objected to. Of course, some
probably the largest industrial source of ces of industrial expansion in the area. factories are referred to the River Auth­
pollution outside the Midlands, with its But the report quoted above goes on to ority, the Alkali Inspectorate, and other
enormous I C I fertilizer plant, and smoke­ say: " . . . schemes to inject new popu­ specific agencies. But how is the County
stacks which emit carbon dioxide, lation into various parts of the region, Planning Office to know that a certain
sulphur dioxide, and in one case neat notably Severnside, would call for a chemical plant will produce waste
nitrogen dioxide and arsenic. The latter planned introduction of new industry; materials, and that these will interfere
is particularly poisonous. In addition, such a combination of indigenous manu­ with various aspects of human metabol- <
organofluorine compounds—not noted facturing expansion and new industry ism, perhaps in a lethal way? This h[
for their beneficial effects on plant, ani­ could lead to an even more rapid rate not the sort of thing a prospective i n - '
mal, or human life—flow into the river. of growth than was experienced in the dustry would be likely to advertise.
There have been substantial oil leaks decade 1954-1964." The authors appear A central pollution control board,

Cardiff Steel Works and


Power Station. Rivers
running through the
town also drain Coke
Ovens, Electroplating
Plants and PesticidesSteelworks. Drainage of DDT
•From the surroundingGlue Factory, •from Orchards, i
^regton Monsanto Chemicals. Coal Fired Power Station
and Cement Works. (
NEWPORT

Cement Works* E^mous Steele ^^W^toryK "^GLOUCESTER


OH Docks, Ihdustrial 9
Oil Docks and Canal (there have been serious le
Complex'; Pollutants from
the manufacture of PVC, Nuclear Power Station
Antioxidents, Acetylene,
Plastics, Organosilicon Nuclear Power Station
Compounds.
e vonmou
Phosphorous £xtrac\ J? A th Industrial Complex".
tion Plant and Coal-
Tired Power Station.
^BRISTOL

Nuclear Power Statbn\


Area of built-up regions (Towns/Cities)
9 Approximate position of pollution sources
)3R/P0£WATER These are onlu some of the major sources which
have been identified so far.

11
lution damage in the region of study
Sewage, slag and fumes are a comes to millions every year, this is a A central pollution control
major threat to the welfare, trifling sum. board, with powers to vet all
So far, they have had trouble obtain­
and eventually survival, of future development, and to call
ing this money, though their normal
hundreds of thousands of people source, the National Environmental Re­ in any experts required, is
in this region. search Council (NERC) has footed some urgently needed.
of the bill. The NERC has its own prob­
lems. After studentships and research
with powers to vet all future develop­ ent than the original pollutants. Not
traineeships have been taken care of,
ment, and to call in any experts required, only will this process be observed in
they have only a little more than a mil­
is urgently needed. It should see all de­ the test-tube, but another group will be
lion pounds a year for the whole of
velopment plans before they are referred checking on the actual types of bacteria
Britain, and some projects outside this
to the County Planning Office. The cur­ and other fauna and flora in the river.
country. This is pitiful. Still, one would
rent bureaucracy, however well-mean­ It is this kind of combined attack that
have hoped that they might have been a
ing, is simply unable to deal with these is almost unique to Sabrina. The vast
little more generous with Sabrina, which
problems. majority of previous work has been
is the first of its kind.
To return to the Southwest Report. It virtually useless simply because it was
What are the aims of Sabrina? "The impossible to relate theoretical to prac­
defines derelict land as: " . . . land so Sabrina Project will contribute an in­
damaged by industrial and other de­ tical considerations.
creasing quantity of vital scientific know­
velopment that it is incapable of bene­ Yet another study will be dealing
ledge to planners and communities
ficial use without treatment." The South­ with heavy metals, and may have alarm­
around the Severn Estuary. It will also
west comes high in the tables of those ing implications. It has been suggested
help to break down some of the barriers
regions afflicted with derelict land, in recent years that trace elements, such
to interdepartmental communication in
much of which is beyond redemption. as copper, zinc and lead may have seri­
the University and pave the way for the
Not surprisingly, its spread—and the ous effects on metabolism, and hence
teaching of science as a study of the en­
more subtle degradation of land still used general well-being. Excesses of these
vironment as a whole rather than as a
for farming—is reflected in a reduction substances have been linked to heart
study of individual facets." These are
in the efficiency of local agriculture. disease, cancer, and dental problems, to
ambitious goals, but the founders of the
name just a few. Maps of high concentra­
The detection of specific pollutants, project and their more recent converts
tion of these and other disorders, and of
and the identification of environmental are a thorough and highly competent
toxic metals will be drawn up. Computer
disorders is an extremely tricky business. group.
analysis is expected to show areas
Usually it is carried out—in a few cases
of overlap, and to suggest linkages be­
where comprehensive studies have been Interdisciplinary approach
tween chemicals and diseases. Needless
done—by survey techniques. Where one The interdisciplinary concept is a to say, the main ways in which they
finds high levels of both smoke particles vital one. What is the use of an organic attack the body are through the air and
and lung cancer, the hypothesis that the chemist devising a new pesticide if, water pollution caused by industrial
former causes the latter appears justified. several years later, after massive in­ processes.
But to prove the point is difficult. To vestment and widespread use, a biologist There are many other exciting and
provide proof so conclusive that the discovers that the chemical is a major impressive aspects of this work. By use
government is forced to take action hazard to man? Worse, the chemist will of aerial infra-red photography, geo­
against a firm which has a massive vested have both, intellectual and economic graphers will be able to distinguish at a
interest in the source of the pollution— vested interests in his discovery, and glance between healthy and diseased
and which may be a substantial exporter will resent the "meddling" of the bio­ vegetation, and to plot currents of ther­
—demands herculean persistence. logist. mal pollution. The sediments of the
In a specific case with which Sabrina estuary will be checked for their role in
The Sabrina Project will be dealing, plans have been afoot the sequence of water pollution. And
But a group called the Sabrina Pro­ for some time to site a major airport on there is much more . . .
ject, after the Roman name for the River the Welsh coast of the Severn. A n official
Severn, has taken up the challenge. of the meteorology section became Practical participation
Initiated by a pair of scientists at the aware of this, and also of the fact that But many of the greater benefits
University of Bristol some two years there is almost no information available will be invisible. They lie in the areas
ago, it has planned, and is beginning to about weather conditions there. It turned of improved communications within
put into practice, an impressively out that the winds may be such as to the university and with the control
thorough programme of research. The constitute a major hazard to aviation. agencies in the district who will be able
team now consists of more than thirty Apparently no one had previously to refer problems to Sabrina. The
extremely able scientists from disciplines thought this worth consideration. group will act as a major fund of en­
as diverse as Chemistry, Civil Engineer­ In another sub-project, three research­ vironmental information in the Estuary,
ing, Botany, and Architecture, who will ers will be studying the fate of pesticides the best in Britain.
require less than £70,000 per annum for when they are acted upon by micro­ Perhaps the most important conse­
the whole programme. When one con­ organisms. There have been suspicions quence of all will be for the students at
siders that two heart transplants cost that some of the breakdown products the University of Bristol, who will
about the same amount, or that the pol­ are even more toxic and more persist- participate as fieldworkers. This has
12
two results: it reduces the cost and tion to set out the precise conditions
provides the first worthwhile course of . . . there is a need for a new within which industry can operate.
practical science in any university. class of scientist, a sort of With accurate assessments of the
For years now, lecturers have won­ distribution and severity of individual
dered what to do with practicals, those
monitor who follows the
hazards, it will be possible to deter­
interminable hours of repetition which consequences of industrial mine the cost to the country of pollu­
are both so cursory as to be useless, actions . . . He will need to be tion from a given source. A simple tax,
and so time-consuming as to interfere able to relate his speciality to the equal to this amount should be a suffi­
with essential reading and seminars. cient incentive to "clean up". Once this
At the same time, the demand of in­
entire range of scientific
has been applied to a single industry
dustry and basic research has not ex­ disciplines. in a field, it will be in the interests of
panded as fast as the output of young that industry to determine the damage
scientists. In some fields, geology and caused by its competitors. It will be
The co-ordinator of the project puts
physics, for example, graduates are be­ happy to subsidize research about
it this way: "Many industrialists take
coming a glut on the market. them, which will help to place the
the view that we may be polluting
Allowing students to participate the environment. We'd like to know burden where it belongs.
shows how these twin problems can be about it. But if you come back with Of course this is only one possible
solved, while harnessing large amounts evidence that we are poisoning the scheme. It is to be hoped that some­
of youthful enthusiasm to a good water and destroying the land, and where, a group as thorough and as well
cause. Those who go on to basic re­ publicize it, we'll have to do something conceived as Sabrina, is designing ways
search will be the more competent for about it. That would put us at an econ­ of transforming our painfully ex­
it, and the future industrialists who omic disadvantage with respect to panding knowledge of pollution into
form a large part of the current crop of competitors who have not been in­ real improvements in the quality of life.
science students will become aware, vestigated." It is really no longer a question of
before they go out to work, of the con­ In the highly competitive business- "the quality of life", but of "the ex­
sequences of what they will be doing. world in which success is only meas­ pectancy of life" for us, and particu­
Perhaps then, the indiscriminate rape ured in terms of immediate results, larly for our children. For if the "pro­
of the land and fouling of the air in there is little hope of survival for the gress" planned for the Severn region—
the name of progress will be subject socially-responsible industrialist over- and for the rest of the country—is
to scrutiny within industry itself. concerned with wider long-term issues. allowed to proceed, England in the
And there is a need of a new class of That is why it is essential that Govern­ year 2000 may be virtually incapable
scientist, a sort of monitor, who follows ment should pass the necessary legisla­ of supporting human life.
the consequences of industrial actions.
The researchers of Sabrina are his
prototypes. He will need to be able to
relate his speciality to the entire range
of scientific disciplines. This is pre­
cisely the kind of attitude which will
be inculcated by Sabrina, and the pro­
jects which follow it all over the coun­
try.

Action versus inaction


There is only one problem. Will the
data be acted upon once they have
been found? The history of foot-
dragging over public safety, mania for
"progress" at whatever the cost, and
pandering to industry by local and
national governments makes one less
than optimistic about this. One of the
things which the group must do if it
is to achieve its goals is to discover
the ways in which their findings can
be converted into effective legal and
social action. This is something which
scientists heretofore have been wary of
getting involved with.
Not surprisingly, the response of
local industry to Sabrina has been less "/V like half a pound of anything you have that doesn't contain tars, resins,
pesticide residues, poly supersaturated fats, artificial sweeteners, softeners, foaming
than jubilant. In fact only one firm has agents or chemical additives ..."
so far offered to co-operate wit! them,
and none has advanced any money.
13
The In April 1970 the Nixon
administration revealed that it
proposed to ban all civilian

supersonic flights at supersonic speeds over


the whole of the United States.
A month later the Labour
government of this country

albatross produced a White Paper, "The


Protection of the Environment",
which suggested that the
more Concorde discord Concorde and other SSTs be
banned from flying
by Jean Liedloff
supersonically over Britain.
Whether the Conservatives will
accept the proposals of the
White Paper remains to be seen,
but it seems likely that they will,
for the damage and distress
caused by that explosive trail

of sound, the sonic boom, left


by aircraft flying faster than the
speed of sound, vastly outweigh
any possible benefits of speed
and convenience. But although
the banning of overland booms
is more or less assured, it has
drawn the sting of public outcry,
and now other equally
hazardous aspects of SST are
in danger of being seriously
neglected. These may be divided
into two categories: threats to
the environment and the large
majority of people who will
never have any use for
supersonic transport, and
threats to those who will
actuallyflyin a Concorde, a
Boeing B2707-3000SST or a
Russian TU-144SST.

14
"Good morning, this is your captain do not feel in tip-top physical condition one-thirtieth that of sea level. That
speaking. Welcome aboard Flight 96, the may wish to debark through the front sounds pretty technical but what it
maiden supersonic transport flight, New loading ramp at this time. means basically, is that if we should lose
York to London. " A t cruising speed the exterior skin air pressure while in flight, everybody
"You are presently enclosed in the temperature of this aircraft will be ap­ on board will lose consciousness in 15
finest airframe ever built, capable of proximately 260 degrees Centigrade. For seconds. However, we are equipped with
speeds in excess of mach 3, more than that reason we have installed a superb oxygen masks conveniently located over
1800 miles per hour at altitudes over refrigeration system guaranteed to keep each seat for just such an emergency.
65,000 feet above sea level. Your pur­ you and your dinner wine at room tem­ Passengers incapable of holding their
chase of tickets for this flight has put perature. As some wag has said, should breath for extended periods of time or
you in the technological forefront of air there be a malfunction in this system, whose reflexes are somewhat slow may
travel. instead of freezing to death like on an wish to debark through the front load­
"Uh, because this is a technologically older jet, we'll fry. Passengers unaccus­ ing ramp at this time.
advanced aircraft, there are a few points tomed to rapid changes in temperature "We now have clearance for taxying
I would like to cover with you before may wish to debark through the front out to the runway for take-off, and I
take-off that may have escaped your loading ramp at this time. would just like to say to those passen­
attention during the screening process "When we reach the higher altitudes gers remaining on board, be of good
at our ticket office. you may begin smelling a sweetish odour cheer. You are embarking on a new
"During take-off and in flight you will in the cabin. This is nothing to be alar­ age in air transport, and although you
experience various forms of acceleration med about. It is simply ozone, a colour­ have chosen to personally inaugurate
loads. This is a perfectly natural pheno­ less sweet-smelling gas caused by the this flight, you are not alone. Every per­
menon and nothing to be unduly con­ reaction of oxygen with ultra violet rays son we pass over between here and Lon­
cerned about. America's astronauts have from the sun. Ozone is perfectly safe to don will feel that they also are part of
been subjected to it for years. But know­ breathe except that it irritates the muc- this new age."
ledge is comfort, so let me just say this: uous lining of the throat, nose and eyes This little scenario appeared in the
Acceleration loads between 3 and 4 g and there are indications that repeated Sierra Club Bulletin.
cause visual disturbances and at 5 g loss exposure can cause extensive damage
of consciousness occurs. A t cruising alti­ to the lungs. Passengers with chronic Radiation hazards
tude turbulent flight conditions could respiratory ailments and allergies asso­ It may be added to this that the radia­
cause linear accelerations of 10 to 12 g ciated with the breathing process may tion levels inside the cabins of SSTs at
which may cause fractures in unre­ wish to debark through the front loading cruising altitudes are of the order of 100
strained persons. It is highly unlikely ramp at this time. times what they are at sea level. The
that such high g-forces will be encoun­ "By doubling the present flight alti­ usual limit on dose allowed to the public
tered, but let's keep those seat belts tude of older jets there is a reduction is 500 millirems per year and a maxi­
fastened, just in case. Passengers who of ambient air pressure from one-fifth to mum of 2 millirems per hour. I n the
15
absence of a possible solar flare which realistic in consideration of congestion
might produce up to 20 rems, the actual during peak load times. In testing an SST the pilot is
level of cosmic radiation in the cabin Emergency landing is further gravely aware that the prototype may
will usually be just under this 2 millirem limited by the number of airports in ex­ cost 100 million pounds and
limit. US government regulations are istence which can accept SSTs since
such that passengers and crews who had they require very long runways and spec­
is likely to avoid making stress
been in an SST receiving a dose of 15 or ially strengthened surfaces to stand their tests.
more rems would be advised not to run immense weight and landing impact.
the risk entailed by additional dosage There is also the problem of inade­ be considerable. According to a recent
for a year. This, of course, means that, quate testing of supersonic transports. A
report in the Guardian, the Concorde is
among others who would have to refrain pilot testing a normal plane of reason­
likely to be "more than twice as noisy as
from participating in supersonic flight able price can try out not only prescribed
today's aircraft in terms of lateral noise
there would also be pilots, whose train­ flight conditions but also possible stress
and, to make matters worse, the lower
ing costs in the area of £25,000. It has situations. He can fly through bad
frequencies of its engines will penetrate
been suggested that in any case all crew storms, dive steeply, stall, land cross-
indoors more easily." Landing at 180
members be classed as radiation workers wind or try an especially hard landing.
mph will also be extremely loud. Accord­
and that air hostesses be over child-bear­ But in testing an SST the pilot is aware
ing to Aerospace Technology, "the Con­
ing age. Dr. S. R. Mohler, Chief of the that the prototype may cost £100,000,000
corde may show a rather startling 124
United States' Federal Aviation Admini­ and that to build a replacement may
PNdB figure during approach, primarily
stration Aeromedical Applications Divi­ require a year or two. He is therefore
because its engine inlets cannot be
sion, indicates that for the crews of likely to make every effort to avoid all
choked." (90 PNdB corresponds to the
SSTs, radiation " . . . may shorten the life such stress tests.
noise beside a motorway on which lor­
span by 5 to 10 per cent and the gross Most people, however, will not be
ries are passing at high speed: 120
signs of ageing may appear earlier than affected by the hazards, or indeed the
PNdB is "almost unbearably loud".)
would otherwise have been anticipated." questionable advantages, of flying SST.
Proposed ceilings on airport noise (Fed­
Other possibilities from radiation ex­ They will be more concerned with the
eral Aviation Administration) are 80
posure, says Dr. Mohler, are damage to harm done to the environment and the
EPNdB except for the very heavy sub­
sperm cells, bone marrow, lung tissues, unwarranted disruption of their lives.
sonic planes which would be allowed
kidney tissues and the lymphatic system, For them the wistful, apologetic look on
108 EPNdB. (EPNdB is only very
as well as leukemia. the face of the Concorde is not enough.
slightly different from PNdB.) To have
Emergency landing Big noise an idea of what 124 PNdB means, the
noise of one Concorde approaching
Because an SST uses about half a ton The problem of noise does not end
would be equivalent to 40 planes of 108
of fuel per minute, it cannot circle near with the banning of the boom. During
EPNdB-rating taking off simultaneously
a crowded airport for hours if necessary, take-off lateral noise from the SST will
or 25,000 of those with the ideal rating
as subsonic planes can, or fly to some
of 80 EPNdB!
other airport 500 to 1,000 miles distant It has been suggested that all If SSTs are forbidden to land at air­
as they can in an emergency such as a
storm or an accident. The Concorde's
SST crew members be classed ports close to cities where this intoler­
fuel rq^erve, for example, is guaranteed as radiation workers and that able noise would be inflicted on the al­
by the manufacturer, for a flight from air hostesses be over ready ear-weary dwellers near airports,
Paris to New York, to be "thirty minutes travellers would have to land so far out
child-bearing age. in the country that they may well prefer
over alternate", a figure noted as un­

16
subsonic transport which could take up four Department of Transportation
them to the more convenient airports. A fleet of SST's, discharging reports showing adverse affects of the
about 150 thousand tons of SST on the environment, which he
Pollution around airports and claimed were being kept secret. He
elsewhere water per day into the upper found another such report by a top
At take-off time the Boeing SST atmosphere may cause a pall of Boeing scientist. This assumes that
would burn more than one ton of fuel ''global gloom" to hang over 500 SSTs will be operating regularly,
per minute. Toxic pollutants will be and also that pollutants will not ac­
the earth.
showered upon the nearby communities cumulate but will be washed out in \ \
in enormously greater concentrations to 2 year periods. On this basis it pre­
even than the now seriously disturbing spread use of supersonic transports will dicts that SSTs will destroy some
amounts. introduce large quantities of water ozone in the upper atmosphere, which
In a letter sent to the chairman of vapour into the stratosphere. The intro­ could decrease the capacity to shield
President Nixon's Supersonic Transport duction of this additional water vapour the earth from ultraviolet rays; will
Review Committee, one of the ap­ can produce two effects which may be increase nitrogen oxides in the strato­
pointed committee members, Under- important: (1) Persistent contrails sphere by 1\ per cent and carbon di­
Secretary of the Interior Russell Train might form to such an extent that there oxide by 1 per cent; and cause a
wrote: " . . . Operation (of the SST) at would be significant increase in cirrus "noticeable decrease" in solar energy
subsonic speeds, including speeds neces­ clouds; (2) There could be a significant reaching the earth because of dust.
sary for take-off and landing, results in increase in the relative humidity of the In spite of this report the Depart­
inefficient fuel combustion with a result­ stratosphere even if there were no sig­ ment of Transportation told Congress
ing heavy discharge of pollutants into nificant increase in the extent of cirrus on May 21st 1970 that there was no
the atmosphere. Both atmospheric pol­ cloudiness. Both effects would alter the scientific support for suggestions that
lution and ground contamination seem radiation balance and thereby possibly SST would pollute the upper atmos­
likely to result." He, in accord with affect the general circulation of atmos­ phere. In addition, Boeing asserted in
most of the expert committeemen, con­ pheric components." What this might a pamphlet to all Congressmen on
cluded that justification for proceeding mean for us—in less technical langu­ May 19th that "there is no known
with the programme is not now appar­ age, has been spelt out by Dr V . J. technical basis or available data to
ent. Schaefer, Director of Atmospheric support the concern that SST fleet
Lost in the shuffle over the sonic Sciences Research Center at Albany, operation will have an adverse affect
boom aspect is the—perhaps even more New York. As reported in This Week, on the weather."
menacing—matter of stratospheric pol­ August 11, 1968, he is concerned lest One might ask, what "technical basis"
lution. In the words of the environ­ a fleet of SSTs, discharging about and what sort of "data" are required
mental and sociological panel of the 150,000 tons of water per day into the before that man-made monster the
President's Committee: "The wide- upper atmosphere cause a pall of "global Supersonic Albatross is justly relegated
gloom" to hang over the Earth. The to the status of an extinct species?
weight of water vapour released is about
The noise of one Concorde
40 per cent greater than the weight of
approaching would be equivalent fuel consumed.
The main considerations likely
to 25 thousand planes with the to be taken into account in the
ideal rating of 80 EPNdB's Secret anti-SST report improbable event of SST being
taking off simultaneously. More recently reporter Henry Reuss shelved are economic ones.
for the Washington Sunday Star dug

17
Green revolution: social boomerang
by Michael AHaby

(16-30 June). He said the report, on ing local situations so as to ensure


Experts from all over the world people in rural development, lacked that all sections of the community bene­
met at the Second World Food courage and was not relevant to the fit from the increased income the new
needs of his country. He was sup­ cereals may produce. A society may be
Congress to discuss the progress ported by others, particularly from stable and secure but exist nevertheless,
of the FAO (Food and Latin America, who said the report at a low economic level which could be
Agriculture Organisation) plan would be ignored by totalitarian reg­ improved. I f outside factors are intro­
to prevent world famine. Is imes. duced, however, the effect must be to
The aim of the Congress was to create imbalances. Unless these are
the so-called Green Revolution allowed for the end result may be a
point the way to decisions and actions
likely to cause more serious which are necessary if hunger and situation worse than that which pre­
problems than those it solves? malnutrition are to be abolished in the vailed at the start.
Third World. In the view of many of There have been riots in India,
the delegates and even more of the which resulted in the death of a num­
A young man almost ran down the
press, the Congress was a non-event. ber of agricultural workers, sparked off
aisle of the large conference hall and by the introduction of blackleg labour
The FAO had taken as its starting
seized the microphone which stood by a landlord unwilling to pay higher
point what has come to be known as
below the platform. He spoke in rapid, wages for the harvesting of an in­
'The Green Revolution". This, in a
passionate Spanish about the corrup­ creased yield of one of the new hy­
nutshell, is the promotion of agricul­
tion in his country, about the foreign ture in developing countries, largely brids.
aid which found its way into the pock­ through the introduction of new hybrid The extent to which these social
ets of an already rich minority, about cereals which are highly responsive to problems are real depends on how far
repressive measures which made it fertilisers and to irrigation. It may seem the Green Revolution has spread. The
difficult to improve the lot of the poor. obvious to talk of increasing output new hybrids require relatively high in­
His name is Manuel G. Arejola and by increasing input, but the agricul­ puts of fertiliser, they are susceptible to
he comes from the Philippines. Two tural production of much of the world pests and diseases and therefore re­
days later news reached the conference has been held back for years because quire pesticides, and they are very
that friends of his had been arrested. He traditional cereal varieties are long- thirsty. I t is the policy of FAO to urge
knew the risk he took. His aim was stemmed. I f inputs of fertiliser and the governments of the developed
to draw the attention of the world water are increased they fall, or lodge, countries to make these inputs avail­
to the problems of the developing under the weight of the ear. Usually able. I t has not happened. Asked
nations receiving aid as part of FAO's this means they cannot be harvested whether he could name the countries
programme of industrialisation and and are lost. Temperate countries have which were not co-operating with the
intensification of agriculture. Foremost solved this problem by developing fertiliser and pesticide programme,
amongst these critical problems is the short-stemmed varieties, but until re­ FAO's Director-General, M r A . H .
socially explosive question of rural un­ cently no such plants were available Boerma, said this included all the de­
employment. Population growth and which would grow well in the tropics. veloped countries. He was not opti­
the unconsidered introduction of agri­ A programme backed by the Rocke­ mistic, he said, about FAO's ability
cultural machinery are forcing peasants feller Foundation produced them some to achieve its aims in the present
off the land. Uprooted, their stable years ago. This is America's answer climate of world political opinion.
traditional value-systems discredited, to the world food problem. This is a serious admission. The aim
these confused millions migrate to The weakness of the Congress, and of FAO is to feed the population of
cities which are already hopelessly con­ the feeling of hopelessness which it the major part of the world up to
gested. They soon learn there is no work generated, was probably due to the 1985, a mere fifteen years from now.
for them there either. The result is alien­ widespread acceptance by delegates of
Unemployment and under-employment in the ru
ation, despair and mounting social the validity of the "Green Revolution" areas of "developing" countries has produced mas
immigration to the towns. The unskilled peasant
chaos. concept and an unwillingness to face find no jobs there either and sink into degradation
Manuel Arejola was criticising a re­ up to the problems it generates. and despair. Unable to rent a place to live, there a
thousands of people who sleep on pavements, ra
port issued during the FAO's Second For there are problems. The first of way stations and bus terminals, as here in Bomba
The other half of the mat here is used by the boy's
World Food Congress at The Hague these has been the social one of adjust­ elder brother.
18
If it fails, as Mr Boerma suggested it Local traditional agriculture might be
may, the immediate effect will be a If FAO fails, it is the poor improved Dy quite minor modifications
general increase in food prices. It is the who will go hungry, the to the tools and implements used. It
poor who will go hungry, the oppres­ was encouraging to see the literature of
oppressed who will be even more the Intermediate Technology Develop­
sed who will be even more severely
repressed. We may expect to see in­ severely repressed. ment Group Ltd much in evidence at
creasing social unrest, revolution and the Congress.
localised warfare, possibly leading to and economic difficulties, and its suc­ It was, perhaps, in the Commis­
widespread famine. cess could create ecological problems sions that the Congress was to be seen at
What if the Green Revolution should the severity of which we can only guess its worst. The platitudes rolled forth and
"succeed"? Then, other problems are at. a grinding of axes was heard as delegates
likely to appear. The increase in crop­ given the floor to ask questions made
It seems that the outlook for 1985
ping on land in a low state of fertility long speeches instead.
is gloomy indeed, but it is not quite
may accelerate erosion unless the soil The plenary sessions were a little less
pitch-dark. A great deal could be done,
structure is built up slowly and pains­ boring. The one held to discuss popula­
for example, to reduce waste after har­
takingly. Increasing use of fertiliser tion growth was particularly relevant.
and pesticides will aggravate pollution vesting. Major A . Ramsay Tainsh, who
After all, even if we accept that it is pos­
problems. Lord Ritchie-Calder said has spent many years studying this
sible for the planet to continue to sup­
that in a monsoon country like India question, suggested that food waste be
port its present population, and this is
the fertiliser, pesticides and herbicides measured during every pre-investment
debatable, it is clearly necessary to
will be washed into the River Ganges survey. I t might be found that its re­
stabilise it at some level. There are de­
and the Bay of Bengal, where they may duction would reduce total require­
mographers who point out that an ex­
cause pollution of unpredictable pro­ ments. More could also be done to
ponential population increase in any
portions. arrest soil erosion. Professor Pieter
species will lead to its collapse and there
The sober fact is that the Green Buringh, from the Agricultural Uni­ is no reason to suppose homo sapiens has
Revolution is in trouble. It has run versity of Wageningen, in the Nether­ procured the repeal of a well-known bio­
into local political and social pro­ lands, pointed out that twelve acres of logical law. There were no neo-Mal-
blems, it is hindered by wider political cultivable land are lost through erosion thusians at The Hague. The session was
every minute, five to seven acres are presided over by Miss Mercedes Con­
UNICEFlLing
lost to construction, two and a half ception, Chairman of the U N Popula­
are ruined by salinity and alkalinity, tion Commission. Delegates heard an
and a further two and a half are lost eloquent statement from Dr S. Chand-
through general degradation of the soil. rasekhar, Minister of State for Health,
Family Planning and Urban Develop­
ment, Government of India. He pointed
out that India's annual population in­
crease of 13 million is equivalent to a
nation the size of Holland. In spite of all
India's efforts to increase food produc­
tion, the situation continues to deterio­
rate. "Man must realize that he is just
one member, albeit the most important,
of Nature's large and interdependent
fellowship of all living organisms, and
that only by learning to live in humility
and harmony with all else that lives can
he ensure his own survival." Dr Chand-
rasekhar argued that family planning
should be regarded as a rewarding in­
vestment for the development of human
resources. India is one country which
accepts the need for population control
and seeks to introduce it. So far its suc­
cess has been small and Indians I spoke
to were not optimistic.

We may expect to see increasing


social unrest, revolution, and
localised warfare, possibly
leading to widespread famine.
20
Miss Conception placed the Green
Revolution in its proper perspective. A t Twelve acres of cultivable land
best it can only buy time, she said, and are lost through erosion every
there may be an employment-population minute, five to seven are lost to
crisis in the seventies to take the place of construction, two and a half by
the food-population crisis of the sixties.
The session proceeded quietly, mem­
salinity and alkalinity.
bers of the panel making moderate
appeals for a solution to what they saw difficult in that place and at that time to
as man's most pressing problem. Several suggest a second look at the direction in
questions were asked from the floor, and which the Third World is being encour­
answered. Then Professor J. de Castro, aged to move and that the developed
author of The Geography of Hunger, ex­ countries might profit from a recon­
ploded into a microphone. There is too sideration of the bases of their own
much talk of the population explosion, civilisation.
he said. Riches and technology are ex­ Perhaps if the Congress had been
ploding, under their symbol, the atom more controversial, if those who care Harvested rice being spread out evenly in the sun to
dry. Rice provides as much as one third of human
bomb. The population explosion is an deeply about the future of mankind had energy throughout the world.
UNICEFjLing
exaggeration and not so dangerous as spoken out, more would have been
nuclear weapons. If there are hungry achieved. As it was the panels were gramme. There was Mr I . Mann, from
people it is because of the H bomb, polite, moderate and ignored. Kenya, who said his country had been
which costs America 200 million dollars Outside the meetings there was an­ developing a sound system of mixed hus­
a year. No one has shown that hunger other mood. I t was particularly evident bandry combined with a local industry
is caused by over-population. African at the New Earth Village, a converted producing pyrethrum, a safe insecticide
populations are lower than those of Eur­ army camp on the other side of the city, which does not cause pollution. The pro­
ope. Malthus believed that population where several hundred young people gramme had been destroyed by aggres­
growth was a constant, but it is governed from all over the world had gathered at sive salesmanship from the agrochemical
by many factors. Had he been right the the invitation of Mr. Boerma. They industry. There was the Indian who pro­
world would have 123 thousand million came as citizens, delegates in their own posed a moratorium on the use of re­
people today, instead of 3^ thousand right, with full status. I n the Village, and sources by developed countries, and the
million. Therefore Malthus was unscien­ among some of the delegates who said Dutch Professor E. de Vries who drew
tific. We must feed mankind, not crush little in the meetings, the view was that attention to ways in which food produc­
it by genocide. the problems of the world are too pro­ tion can be improved by soil conserva­
This violent outburst was cheered found to be solved by technological tion without harming the environment.
warmly and Prof de Castro left shortly tricks. The young people accepted the None of these suggestions is "econo­
afterwards. FAO had reached the centre need for a far more radical approach. mic" : that is to say, they offer no profit
of the problem and it seems there is no Disillusioned with the Congress, they to European or American industry, nor
answer. Although many believe there held their own meetings and invited do they contribute to increasing the
can be no long-term solution to any of speakers, including Lord Ritchie-Calder "standard of living" judged by the
the environmental problems facing us and Mr. Boerma, to meet them. The accumulation of goods and services, nor
unless populations are stabilised, this future of the world will soon be in the do they provide jobs to the unemployed.
view is unfortunately not accepted by a hands of these young men and women. There was, too, a Sudanese business­
large number of developing countries. In their village there was hope, an eager­ man who told me he had seen a fellow
The following morning was given over ness to discuss all the issues and a will­ countryman drinking from a river. His
to environmental conservation. The ingness to hear all points of view. camel was beside him, drinking from the
most forthright speaker was Dr Makoto The world food problem is still with same water. Around the camel's neck
Numata, Professor of Botany and Eco­ us. The Congress may have failed, but hung a transistor radio. The man was
logy at Chiba University, Japan. He this does not invalidate the work which listening to The Voice of America.
warned of the mutagenic effects of cer­ FAO is doing. I t cannot be held respon­ "What will happen to this man?" my
tain common pollutants and foresaw the sible for the views of individual dele­ friend asked. What indeed? Truly, it
annihilation of man if the degradation of gates and it is fortunate to be led by a may be the transistor radio that an­
the environment continues. Even this Director-General who has the remark­ nounces the crack of doom.
session, dealing with a vital and, one able ability of inspiring respect and con­
would have though, uncontroversial, fidence among delegates, journalists and
issue, was inconclusive and the general young people alike. The Green Revolution can, at
atmosphere suggested a disturbing de­ I am left with a few vivid memories.
gree of complacency. The best hope for
best, only buy time. There may
There was a student from Nepal, des­
developing countries was that they perately trying to collect information be an employment-population
should learn from the experience of the which he could use to warn his govern­ crisis in the 70's, replacing the
developed countries and try not to re­ ment of the ecological hazards which food population crisis of the 60's.
peat their mistakes. I t would have been might arise from its development pro-
21
Should Britain be a Federation

a plan for the decentralization of government in Britain


by David Evans
Spokesman for the Liberal Party on Local Government

the position of Scotland, Wales and In the immediate post-war years the
It has taken modern man quite a Northern Ireland. running of hospitals, electricity and
time to recover from the The Maud Commission has already gas supplies was transferred from local
recommended major changes in local authorities to nationalised boards. None
ingenuous delusion that Biggest government and their proposals, accep­ of these were elected. A l l were ap­
is Best. Our daily experience, ted in principle by Mr. Wilson, are now pointed by the government. A l l operate
however, confirms that once an under review by the Conservative Cab­ in private away from public scrutiny and
optimum size is surpassed the inet. under only the most general controls of
It would be a brave man who would Parliament. In recent years the process
efficiency, in whose name forecast with any certainty how British has been taken much further. We have
centralization took place, is democracy will order its affairs in the seen the setting up of Regional Road
reduced and the individual future. But one thing is certain. There Construction Units, Regional Sports
citizen is completely alienated must be no further centralization of Councils, Regional Passenger Transport
government and no further invasion of Authorities and the compulsory amal­
from the processes which community initiative, effort and re­ gamation of police forces under ad-hoc
govern his life. David Evans sponsibility. I f there is, then the way will committees. None of these bodies are
presents the Liberal Party's be wide open for ritual dictatorship from elected. Most of their members are ap­
plan for a dynamic regionalism. Whitehall over every aspect of our daily pointed nominees operating in a vacuum
lives. and free from any effective democratic
The past twenty five years have al­ control.
Within the lifetime of the new Conserva­ ready seen a steady and increasing A widening range of local activities
tive administration Parliament will be transfer of power and decision-making previously within the purview of local
called upon to consider far-reaching from local communities to the central councils are now subject to the detailed
changes in the structure of British government. And this rapidly acceler­ scrutiny of civil servants in government
government. ating decline in the ability of the average departments. No pedestrian crossing can
The Crowther Commission is cur­ person to affect the decisions of his al­ be sited, or set of traffic lights erected,
rently examining the Constitution inc­ legedly democratic government is one of without the sanction of the Ministry
luding the working of Parliament and the greatest threats we face today. of Transport. Any scheme for the regu-
22
of opinion and a close check on local
Further centralization of officials. The size and extent of the pro­ People wishing to reach their
government will open the way posed new "unitary authorities" will "local" council office may find
ensure that the officials will be para­ themselves involved in round
for virtual dictatorship from mount. And as they will be working in
Whitehall over every aspect of close co-operation with their opposite
journeys of fifty miles or more.
our daily lives. numbers in the central government the
opportunity for control by the adminis­ in the administration of its police.
trators will be vastly increased. In Education, the Swiss central Gov­
lation and control of traffic has to be Already a majority of people are ernment has no right to interfere with a
submitted to the same central authority. cynical and distrustful of government, canton as long as the canton provides a
No council house can be built before its and there is real evidence of a growing system of free, compulsory education
design and cost has been investigated by gap between the government and the without denominational bias. A l l the
the Ministry of Housing. No plan for governed. I f the new proposals are put Swiss universities are cantonal institu­
town redevelopment can be implemen­ into effect then the gap will quickly be­ tions although they are co-ordinated by
ted unless it has received the blessing come unbridgeable, and democracy, as the central government.
of the appropriate Minister advised by we have come to know it, be supplanted. It is the cantons which bear the brunt
officials lacking any real knowledge of The arguments put forward to support of governmental expenditure and they
local conditions. the new proposals have been heard be­ therefore have a major tax-raising func­
Nevertheless in spite of the welter fore at other times in other places. tion. They have almost total freedom to
of regulations, it has been possible until Local government today is inefficient raise revenue. Consequently only about
now for dedicated local councillors to we are told, because there is a large one tenth of their income is in grants
represent the wishes of their constitu­ number of small units. Create bigger from central government compared with
ents and to undertake certain projects units, say the pundits, and efficiency 40 per cent in this country.
designed to benefit the communities that will be ensured. There are a very large number of
they are elected to serve. This is now But are larger units necessarily more communes within each canton—few with
threatened by a new series of proposals effective? Industrial experience indi­ populations in excess of 10,000. These
the dangers of which are not yet fully cates that larger units experience more are responsible for primary and second­
appreciated. labour unrest. Huge government depart­ ary education, "national assistance",
ments frequently become ossified and minor highways, water supply and sew­
The Maud Commission resources are wasted or misapplied. In age, law and order and town and country
At present the interests of the ordin­ the police force statistical records sug­ planning. Every commune largely deter­
ary person are represented and safe­ gest that the rate of crime detection mines for itself which services it provides
guarded by some 1200 local councils. declines as the size of the individual independently, which require co-oper­
Their precise powers and responsibilities constabulary increases. And what of ation with other communes, and which
vary but they all provide an avenue, humanity? I t is significant that along­ should be left to the canton.
reasonably close to home, through which side the proposals for changing the local The most remarkable feature of all is
the man in the street can press a griev­ government structure we find provision the degree of direct democracy which
ance or promote an idea. But the pro­ for an ombudsman in every new prevails. Every resolution of importance
posals of the Maud Commission, on "unitary authority" to deal with public requires ratification by the people in
which the Conservatives have till now complaints and grievances. They are what we would call a parish or town
carefully refrained from committing therefore anticipated in large numbers. meeting. In the larger towns a referen­
themselves, would sweep away all these And no wonder. dum must be held. There are also facilit­
local councils. I n their place, to provide ies for groups of electors to put forward
"local" government for the whole of The Swiss system proposals for consideration. Efficiency?
England, will be put a mere fifty-eight Those in this country who are busily Switzerland is ahead even of Sweden in
"unitary authorities". These will cover propagating the inevitability of large gross national product per head. Perhaps
enormous areas. People wishing to reach units in local administration would do regional and community pride plays a
their "local" council office may find well to examine the system which oper­ greater part in the economic well-being
themselves involved in round journeys of ates in Switzerland. There can hardly be of a country than we would allow.
fifty miles or more. And each "unitary" another country where government is so
authority will comprise only 75 elected genuinely local and local feeling is so Liberal concern
councillors. This will mean in the major­ steadfast. It was with the example of Switzer­
ity of areas that one councillor will be Switzerland is divided into 25 cantons land amongst others before it that the
expected to represent anything up to —the equivalent of the present English Liberal Party in 1967 set up a committee
15,000 electors. What chance will there county. Much of the authority vested in to consider "the creation of a democratic
be for any but the most vociferous to the British Home Office, Board of Trade, system of regional government for
make their voice heard in either protest Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Britain". We were concerned at the in­
or suggestion? Housing and the Department of Employ­ creasing tendency to treat people as a
At present it is possible for a wide ment and Productivity is vested in the mass. A t their failure to comprehend
range of men and women from all classes canton. Under delegated powers a can­ that effective national effort results from
to offer themselves for election to local ton has more say in the running of the individual action. I f individuals have
councils, ensuring a wide cross section Swiss army than an English county has their incentives removed and initiatives
23
discouraged, then the legislation that the many ratepayers and residents asso­
Parliament produces will be so much A majority of people are cynical ciations that already exist.
hot air. and distrustful of government.
Once, we know, people could get Reallocation of responsibility
There is real evidence of a i n considering any new governmental
things done within their community.
Local councils were responsible for im­ growing gap between the structure, there are three important
portant services and enjoyed considerable government and the governed. principles. First, as many functions and
freedom of action. Now the area free of responsibilities as possible should be
central government sanctions has nar­ taken away from the central government.
sponsibility and participation to the
rowed so much that men and women of Second, all the "personal" services
people of England we advocated a pro­
calibre have opted out. The electorate, like health, welfare and housing should
vincial framework. The nation would be
quick to sense the situation have become remain under the control of the district
divided into these areas to which geog­
disinterested in the electoral process. councils. Third, wherever possible the
raphy and the pattern of industrial and
Witness the voting percentages in this district councils should act in respect
social development had given separate,
year's local government elections! A of the major services as agents for
recognisable identities. We defined them
similar malady affects Parliament. Once the province and administer the service
as Northumbria, Lancashire, York,
the great forum of our land, where major within their own area.
Mercia, Trent, Severnside, Thames
issues were debated and decided, it has The Westminster Parliament would
Valley, Anglia, Westcountry, Solent,
been progressively denuded of power. consequently retain responsibility only
Greater London and the Weald.
While the real decisions are made by a for agricultural and fishery policy,
Each province would have an elected
few men and women in the Cabinet, customs and excise, defence, economic
assembly of paid representatives, its
M.P.'s seem increasingly to be acting and social planning, education policy,
own administrative personnel and reven­
out a play with a script bearing little national taxation, foreign affairs, home
ues adequate to administer the welfare
relation to real life. office affairs, nationalised industries
and progress of its inhabitants in all
areas of activity not specifically reserved and power supply. A Minister for the
Peaceful revolution Provinces would co-ordinate and hand
In 1968 the Liberals published a re­ to Westminster.
Varying in population from 1.6 to down central government policy. Where
port, Power to the Provinces. It called
7.9 millions they would be large enough necessary, he would see that agreed
for a complete reversal of the process by
to handle most major services and under­ standards were being maintained. The
which major decisions are taken by the
take overall provincial planning and provincial governments would, with the
central government. It called for a vast
strategy. central Ministry of Economic Planning,
transfer of power away from Whitehall
Concurrent with this provincial struc­ prepare a strategic national plan.
and back to the people. It called for a
ture there should be a rationalisation of It would not, of course, be possible
peaceful revolution in Britain.
existing local authorities. The aim for each province to go its own way and
We proposed that Britain should
should be to create one major tier of enjoy total economic independence. But
adopt a federal structure comparable to
local government based on community once abroad growth rate had been agreed
the systems already operating effectively
of interest and formed, where necessary, for a province it could determine its
in many other parts of the world includ­
by the amalgamation of existing local own priorities and exercise considerable
ing Australia, Canada and Germany.
There is no other way in which clearly councils. To combat the danger of exces­ autonomy and control over detailed eco­
defined areas of a country can retain sive size and consequent remoteness no nomic development. Provinces could be
their individuality and purpose and the local council (outside of the major cities given responsibility for town and country
people there exercise a high measure of like Manchester and Birmingham, which planning, transport co-ordination, docks,
control over their own affairs. would remain as single, cohesive units inland waterways, power and water dis­
of local government), should cover a tribution, education ,hospitals, the police,
Scotland and Wales, each with their
own language, history and culture are population in excess of 300,000. In rural fire and ambulance services and the con­
clearly separate nations. It is remark­ areas this figure might go down to struction and maintenance of all roads
able that the English have for so long 60,000. The intention would be to create except those forming part of the national
resisted their claim to have separate new local authorities strong enough to motorway grid.
Parliaments exercising control over their accept back a great deal of the respons­ Such reforms would be meaningless
own separate affairs. ibility which has been filched from them unless the present system of revenue
Total separation would be ridiculous, over the years. raising and distribution were changed.
but in a world where mass pop culture To foster local "grass roots" parti­ As the Inland Revenue already conducts
threatens to engulf us all, there is an cipation neighbourhood councils should its affairs on a regional basis this would
unanswerable argument for the granting be set up wherever a clearly established not be difficult.
of self-government to Scotland and community group proved the need for Provincial governments could retain
Wales, within a Federal Britain. Why one. The district councils would respond the PA Y E income tax collected in their
should these two countries be denied to public opinion in this respect. The areas.
something which the Northern Irish, de­ neighbourhood councils would be watch­ A provincial payroll tax could be
spite all their unique problems, have had dogs, offering a channel for protest and levied on all companies based upon pay­
for fifty years? suggestion and providing everyone with ments made under Schedule E.
a medium for gathering support and A provincial sales tax could be col­
Power to the provinces affecting decisions. In many respects lected in a similar manner to the present
To restore a feeling of purpose, re- they would be an official extension of purchase tax.
24
Provincial governments would also
have the right to levy additional taxes
and to make a charge for services (i.e.
toll roads).
The district councils' main source of
finance would continue to be rates, but
these would be levied on land values
and not buildings.

Radical proposals
These proposals would restore a large
measure of power to the people and
greatly improve the efficiency of Par­
liament. Freed of the responsibility for
so much domestic administration, M.P.'s
would find more time to investigate
deeply (through expert committees of
parliament) some of our major social
and economic problems. It would be
possible to reduce the membership of the
House of Commons by a third, and in­
crease the public stature of those that
remained.
Therewould bean immediate strength­
ening of regional pride. Freed from
Whitehall restrictions, the provinces
could get on with their own development
in their own way. There would be com­
petition between them providing a stimu­
lus to action. Considerable reductions
in central government taxation would
be possible. With more money raised
and spent in the provinces, closer to the
people, it would be spent more wisely.
Because it would be possible once
again to exercise a decisive influence
upon the planning and development of
their area the interest of the electorate
would be quickened. More people would
be ready to give their time and effort
to serve on the district councils where I live in a man-warren
there would once again be a positive job Where tunnels of sound
to do. Lead all around.
The proposals put forward by the
Liberals are radical. People are not going Car doors
to find them easy to accept because they Slam,
call for a reversal of much current think­ And like pistol shots
ing. But I am confident that the salvation Reverberate down brick-lined canyons.
of this country is to be found in some­ Starters
thing closely akin to them.
Statement Your eyes from their sockets,
Your thoughts from their dreams.
And all the while idling,
Engine cauldrons bubbling.

I live in a man-warren
Where tunnels of sound
Explode all around.

Christine Francis

25
Praise indeed Sir, reading Prof Lindsay Robb's article. Granted
May I welcome the timely introduction of things are moving slowly, possibly too slowly
Sir, but such things as the emergence of Health
your monthly magazine and say how I appre­
I have read the first issue of The Ecologist Centres, the concept of the community phy­
ciate its content and style of presentation,
with pleasure and intellectual profit. The sician and his function, the proposed factory
lively but fundamental rather than merely
journal should be a success if you can main­ doctor service and the establishment of a
topical.
tain the standard. Popularization is becoming single ministry for health and social services
I should, however, like to make one point.
respectable, possibly because scholarship at suggest to me that there is a faint glimmer of
The dire state of our environment is indis­
large is now aware that popularization is not hope that medicine is becoming aware of the
putable and remedies are urgently required,
easy, but a responsible discipline in itself. Environment.
but it seems to me that the major problem is
May I wish you and your journal the suc­ the nature of man himself both as an indivi­ A further small point with regard to your
cess you deserve for your courage as well dual and as a social being. Individual habits book reviews is necessary. Though every­
as for the good contents of your first number. of thought, social customs and political or­ thing can't be covered in one issue I am sur­
Needless to say, I have posted my first ganizations all now seem in many ways obso­ prised that no mention was made of Dr
year's subscription to the right quarter. lete and yet they continually demonstrate Mellanby's "Pests and Pesticides"—surely one
Yours sincerely, their inertia. Without a radical change in of the most balanced books on the subject;
Frank Fraser Darling. these areas we cannot succeed in solving our but then, he was your first correspondent!
Shefford-Woodlands House, Newbury, environmental problems, although presum­ Yours sincerely,
Berkshire. ably we have the technological means to do
so. The physical aspects of our environment F. G. Ward, MB, ChB.
cannot therefore be dissociated from the I l l Gravel Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire.
Ecological allies sociological ones.
Sir, In view of this, might I make a plea that
Congratulations on your new and badly contributors to your journal include such Eco-action at Faversham
needed venture. The Ecologist fills a huge gap people as Sociologists, Political Scientists, Sir,
in our periodical literature; so many people, Psychologists, Planners, Economists and so Congratulations on producing a long over­
even ostensibly well-educated people, are on. Some of these have already come in for due platform for those concerned with our
hopelessly out of touch with the real facts criticism from your contributors and I feel environment. The only criticism I can offer
of our situation today, and the terrible dan­ they ought to be able to air their difficulties. of your journal is that the views expressed
gers such ignorance is helping to create. As an example of what I mean I would in­ coincide so closely with my own that I can
All good wishes for the success you deserve. stance the editorial where there is a refer­ find no grounds for raising arguments. A l l
Yours sincerely, ence under the sub-heading "Social Disorder" power to your elbow in bringing home to the
to the relationship between our present en­ public the possible disaster which may be
John Papworth. vironment and social disintegration. One just around the corner.
Editor, Resurgence, 24 Abercorn Place, would like to have seen this intriguing point I am particularly interested in Lawrence
London, N.W.8. enlarged upon in a full article by a specialist D. Hill's article on the disposal of PVC, as
in the Social Sciences. the pulverising equipment he mentions may
9
Readers suggestions I realise that there are other journals be the answer to a problem being faced in
Sir, specializing in the various fields I mention Faversham at the moment. A public tip has
I assume The Ecologist is a new publica­ but an integrated approach is needed. Your been established in a gravel pit only yards
tion, as it is the first time I have seen an journal, which on the cover proclaims a con­ from houses and a school. Failure to main­
issue. cern With "Man and Environment" and "The tain proper covering has resulted in a nuis­
It is certainly welcome to see in print such Quality of Life" seems to be the one to make ance being caused to the extent that local
rational and sensible thinking in this modern the attempt. residents have formed a "Tip Action Com­
age which, not surprisingly, depresses and mittee", of which I am a member. The cry
Yours sincerely,
confuses the young, and produces despair in from the public now is for an incinerator,
E. N. Shapeero.
both young and old. but I have not been happy with the sug­
3 York Street, East Markham, Newark, gestion from the start, and Mr Hills' article
Whilst I welcome your magazine, it is Notts.
apparent to me, and probably to you also, makes me even less so. The Compost Plant
that your greatest problem will be to provide he mentions is a much more interesting pro­
Editor's note: We are, of course, very grate­ position, and I would be very grateful for
material of a wide interest which will not re­ ful for suggestions from readers and hope
iterate too often the same facts. There is ob- further information in the hope that we may
many more will be forthcoming. find such a plant able to meet our needs. We
biously great room for a diversity of topics,
perhaps some sort of news sheet which would need to cater for a population of up
exposes local or national erroneous decisions. Hippocrates unblinkered to, say, 20,000.
Thank you. Sir, A complication is that at present trade
I , too, must add my congratulations to tipping of waste fruit is allowed on the pub­
Yours sincerely, lic tip, and I believe this to be a possible
those of Pan Australian Unit Trust on the
J. W. Hammond. back cover of your first issue. source of insect infestation, needing special
23 Brentham Way, Ealing, W.5. One comment I would like to make after measures to deal with it. Mr Hills' com-

26
ments on this aspect would also be much side its boundary. Within this area are the How the Station is to be supplied with
appreciated. great headlands of Penlee and Rame and the Oil we are not certain. As far as we have been
Yours sincerely, fishing villages of Cawsand and Kingsand. able to "dig out" this is to be either by a
These villages are to be designated Con­ 40,000 ton tanker discharging in the River
C. W. Haycock.
servation Areas shortly. Also within this area, once a week, or discharging in Cawsand Bay,
18 Everard Way, Faversham, Kent.
and again a mile from the Site is Mount Edg- with a pipeline across our area of "outstand­
cumbe House and Park, which have recently ing natural beauty". 99.9 per cent efficiency
Menace of the milk bottles
been bought jointly by the Cornwall County in discharging, such as at Milford Haven
Sir,
Council and Plymouth Corporation, for their would still mean 2,000 tons of oil floating
I was very interested to see the article in
citizens, forever. A mile to the North of the around annually.
your July issue on the future of Milk Pack­
Power Station Site is the National Trust Our M.P. when he was approached was
aging. This Company supplies Pure-Pak car­
Property of Antony House, again with its cynical about it all, he said he might get us
tons and machines to a number of the leading
grounds. an enquiry, but once the C.E.G.B. had
Dairy Companies in this country and we be­
We are not sure exactly which way the "pointed a finger" we were wasting our time.
lieve that this pack meets all the stipulations
pylon outlets from this Station will go, but I would hate to think he was right, although
made by the author of your article.
they have to go North to join the Grid 15 the sole official notification of any intentions
It consists of board made from pure wood
miles away, and across the Gateway to Corn­ was a group of notices displayed at points
pulp sandwiched between two layers of poly­
wall. on the wayside in the immediate vicinity
thene. There is thus no question of toxic
The Power Station itself will take over of the Power Station Site, as if people here
fumes on disposal and with the mechanical were the only ones involved. It had its amus­
Insworke Point on the River, and the
strength of the board supporting the poly­ ing side; tentative recruitment investigations
C.E.G.B are acquiring 154 acres for Turbine
thene there has never been any question of were made in the neighbourhood before the
House, Boiler House. Tank Farm, etc. The
board being punctured by birds or of any notices were even down. The notices appeared
multiple flue chimney will be 650 feet high:
other hazard of milk distribution. and disappeared exactly to the day that they
but this is not much good as the centre of
On the question of size, a square carton were obliged to be shown. They, of course,
the area of "outstanding natural beauty" is
uses space in storage, distribution and the indicated certain protest rights that are open.
a wooded ridge 400 feet high, a mile away.
domestic refrigerator much more efficiently We are asked to protest officially but given
This Station is to consume 2 million tons of
than a round bottle and the pint and one half oil annually and so will be billowing out all barest information.
carton now coming into use will fit into the around the bowl, raining down sulphuric As long as decisions of this magnitude are
space of a pint bottle. acid. left to Statutory Boards to manoeuvre
In the long run it is my personal view
The Station is to be cooled from the River, through, then willy nilly we will all suffer
that the litre will be the main unit as the cost
and will use and return 30 million gallons of by default.
of a bigger package is proportionally less than
water an hour, raising the temperature 10°F. For us the fight still goes on.
a small pack. Our figures indicate a saving
The Estuary has a narrow funnel entrance
of approximately 30 per cent between packing Yours sincerely,
and the heated water won't escape. We don't
in pints and packing in litres. O. J. Prat tent.
know the effect on Marine and Shore life, the
On the question of colour, the board is a
C.E.G.B. certainly don't either and I am Tudor Cottage, Lower Anderton, Cremyll,
natural filter for ultra-violet light so that we afraid don't care. Plymouth.
feel here too we meet your specification for
an ideal container.
Obviously I am biased, but the fact that
North America, Scandinavia, Australia use
this pack to an overwhelming extent and that
its use in the United Kingdom is expanding CUPB
Strictly.
rapidly shows that it can be used without the
problems enumerated for the alternative
packs in your article. cure notfo
Yours sincerely,
R. W. Mosse.
Managing Director, Liquid Packaging Ltd.,
Stevenage, Herts.
cure 'the birds!

The Fight for the Tamar River Harmlessly repels marauding animals
Sir, and birds from treated crops. Fully
Reading an English paper in Madrid, on
holiday in April, there was a brief announce­ cleared under the Ministry's veterinary
ment to the effect that the Ministry of Tech­
nology had rejected the Central Electricity products and pesticides safety precau­
Generating Board's request to build an
Atomic Power Station at Insworke Point on tions schemes. Prevents damage with­
the Tamar in Cornwall, and that the C.E.G.B.
would shortly apply for authority to con­ out danger to wild life, plants and pets.
struct an oil-fired station.
The C.E.G.B. intend to build their oil-
fired station on this creek of the Tamar if they
can get away with it. Their reasons are solely ANIMAL & BIRD
technical and their interests in this site affect
solely the economic interests of the Board.
As well as the River and the famous haunt
REPELLENTS
of Avocets where the Station is to go, this
part of South East Cornwall is untouched full details from the manufacturers
and very beautiful. It includes a designated
area of "outstanding natural beauty" where SPHERE LABORATORIES (LONDON) LTD.
planning permission is difficult to get. The
Power Station unbelievably, is to be built a Turben House, 36 Botolph Lane, E.C.3. Tel: 01 -626 649
mile from the centre of this area, but just out*
27
ceived royal assent as the Farm And was irrelevant because the Act did not
Down to Earth Chemicals Act 1967. I t "provides that suggest that any substance should be
banned, merely marked clearly so that
Ministers may make regulations requir­
ing the active ingredient to be named on the buyer could choose or reject it when
the container and the label to bear a dis­ the name on the label could not be
tinguishing mark indicating the extent understood without special training.
of any hazard to human or other forms D.D.T. is the only well known organo-
of life and words of explanation or warn­ chlorine compound, but chlordane, end-
ing". The important phrase is "may rin and dieldrin are far more toxic, and
by Lawrence D. Hills make" for it does not say that he must, the public are entitled to an easy warning
but he can if he wishes. system.
Mrs Butler's bill In 1969, five years after the A.G.M. Then it was stated that any mark
that began the story, the Ministry of would have to be agreed with the Council
The important difference between the
Agriculture, Fisheries and Food issued For Europe, who had the subject under
weedkiller used by Dr Crippen the mur­
consideration and could not be hurried.
derer and the paraquat that killed Bri­ five foolscap sheets, duplicated on both
Those who go on continental holidays
tain's first unsuccessful lung transplant sides, entitled "Proposals for Regula­
should ask themselves how often they
case—a boy who drank it by mistake— tions Under The Farm And Garden
bring back pesticides rather than scent
is in the labelling. Crippen's arsenical Chemicals Act 1967". These regulations
or cigarettes, and consider how likely it
weedkiller had a skull and crossbones on insist in great detail that chemicals must
is that Frenchmen will flock to Britain
it to warn even illiterates, and the nico­ be labelled with names in accordance
to buy D.D.T. now that their Parliament
tine used by gardeners in the past was with those agreed by the British Stan­
has banned it after over 3,000 samples of
also in fluted glass bottles to prevent dards Institution, that these names must
fruit have been analysed and found to
mistakes in dark potting sheds. Today not be obscured by other matter on the
contain toxic traces (Daily Telegraph
we have only brief warnings in small labels, and how much there is of each
20th July 1970).
print and names, incomprehensible ex­ ingredient by weight in the container
This first example of the use of
cept to skilled chemists, on the poisons must be shown. There is a five page list
Europe to delay action and prevent press
for sale in every gardening shop. of substances beginning with Aldrin and discussion, because this could involve
Mrs Butler's Bill began with a resolu­ ending with Ziram, and including every­ criticizing the Common Market, has been
tion passed at the A.G.M. of the Henry thing from pyrethrum and quassia entirely effective in suppressing the Act
Doubleday Research Association, who to manganese dimethyldithiocarbamate for the past three years. Nearly four
circularized all the Allotment Societies and orthohydroxyphenyl - mercuryben- months now remain of European Con­
and bodies such as the Soil Association zene, with nothing to show what is safe servation Year, but though millions of
and the Royal Society for the Protection for which or whom. They ignore the well paid words have been spilt, Britain
of Birds and gathered 55,000 supporters. whole purpose of the act which was has done nothing to compare with pesti­
Then they secured the interest of Mrs concerned with marks indicating "haz­ cide bans of other countries. Yet we have
Joyce Butler (Labour, Wood Green) who ard to human or other forms of life". this sensible and practical measure that
introduced a Bill under the Ten Minute The regulations would make it illegal is already Law, which would cost little
Rule on June 2nd 1964. It was sponsored to sell a bucket of tar without " T A R " yet be highly effective.
by two Labour M.P.s, two Conservative in white letters on the bucket, and so We now have a new Minister of Agri­
and one Liberal, making it entirely non-
long as the word "tetrachloroisophtha- culture, who may make an entirely dif­
political.
lonitrile" can be got on to a label, there ferent set of proposals, that would give
Its object was to make it possible for
is no need to say what it poisons. I t is the public the right to choose "something
the public who may not know D.D.T.
pointless to insist that the weight in green for aphides" without risking the
from M.C.C. to choose garden chemicals
grammes contained in the packet should birds they feed in winter by gambling on
that are entirely without risk to children,
be printed on the label, unless it must a name almost as long as a Parliament­
pets and wild life, by making it illegal
say how much will kill a man. ary recess or a set of letters that would
to sell these substances without distinc­
When this mountain of effort pro­ beat the Brain of Britain. I f only suffici­
tive marks. One suggestion was for red
duced not even a mouse—merely a little ent readers of The Ecologist cared
rings round the bottles or packets of
chewed up waste paper—Henry Double- enough about pollution to write to their
those that can kill or produce serious ill­
day Research Association Members and M.P.s and the Minister of Agriculture
ness in adults or children, such as the
others wrote to their M.P.s and the Min­ (c/o the House of Commons, Westmin­
organo-phosphorus compounds like
istry of Agriculture and demanded an ster, S.W.I.) demanding red rings for
malathion or metaldehyde slug baits;
explanation of why the Civil Service had danger, yellow for long-term risks and
yellow round the cumulative poisons,
reduced a Law that had satisfied Parlia­ green for safety, we could chalk up our
especially the organo-chlorine com­
ment, the House of Lords and Her first achievement. For pollution is far
pounds and others especially dangerous
Majesty as a practical and valuable pro­ too important to be left to experts who
to wild life, and green for entirely safe
tection for the public, to nonsense. They sit on fences. Only YOU can stop it.
substances such as derris and pyrethrum.
The first of the two recent Labour received basically the same reply. If only one in fifty of you would
Governments fell before it could become Firstly there was a totally irrelevant spend an hour each and some stamps for
law, but Mrs Butler fought on until her defence of chemicals and the existing over a thousand letters, we could achieve
bill passed both Commons and Lords safety regulations, useful only in showing something—we could shake the Civil
with all party support and finally re­ the bias of the officials concerned. This Service and enforce Mrs Butler's Bill.

28
It should be official policy that no one for the poor and the black without taking
has the inherent right to produce more care of your own excess procreation at
than two children and we should pay the same time, you are looking for trou­
Gargoyle a bonus in the form of increased social ble and you will find it.
by security payments for those who produce Recent studies (e.g., Science '65: 367,
Wayne Davis less. We should have a marketable 1969) have shown that people desire the
{
Professor of Zoology licence for babies. Each girl, upon mat­ same number of children regardless of
University of Kentucky
urity would receive certificates allowing family income and that Negroes want no
her to produce two children. She could more children per family than whites.
have the children or sell her certificates Why then, do the poor have larger
The fifth freedom to someone who wanted more than two. families? Indifference and lack of ade­
Not only would this control population quate contraception are probably fac­
At last some important people are be­ but it would solve the poverty problem tors. But the natural response of rational
ginning to speak up about the serious as well. Excessive numbers of children beings to our economic system of finan­
population problem in the United States. now assure the perpetuation of the pov­ cial rewards and punishment is also an
Although Presidents Kennedy, Johnson erty cycle. With the certificates for the important factor.
and Nixon have all expressed alarm rich to buy, they would have more child­ Few subjects create more emotional
about world population, I know of no ren and become poorer while the poor response among a middle income white
high public official who has brought it would have fewer and become rich. audience than the subject of uncontrol­
home to the American people, where the We should revise all our laws which led reproduction among unmarried
most urgent population crisis has deve­ favour the production of children. The women whose already large litters of
loped. cost of child raising is now more of a children are being supported by public
Now a prominent member of the last burden on society than upon those who welfare. But I have no hard feelings
Administration has taken a public stand produce them. We should eliminate tax against them for producing children,
at home. Roman Catholic Robert S. deductions for children; the federal gov­ with the amount of payment being a
McNamara, one of the most influential ernment has no business subsidizing pro­ function of the number produced. In
and respected men in the Kennedy and creation. The cost of producing a third Kentucky a woman may get about $50
Johnson cabinets, was the first name on child should involve an annual excess a month for one child, whereas with 10
an advertisement in Time saying, "What­ child tax, in addition to the free market she would get about $300. Thus they
ever your cause, it's a lost cause unless cost of a certificate. School taxes should seem to be cheaper by the dozen.
we control population." be levied in such a way that those who Surely society must want her to pro­
Morris Udall, from a family of six and produce children pay the major cost duce children. Why complain when she
father of six, has written in the Reader's of educating them. does? The fault here lies not with the
Digest of concern about the overpopu­ We should phase out the A i d to De­ welfare mothers but with the society
lation of our nation. I f Bobby Kennedy pendent Children programme. With our which developed and tolerates such a
were alive, perhaps he would write; or new programme anyone desiring to have system.
maybe he would father another child. I f a child not only must present a certifi­ Aid to Dependent Children payments
all his descendants are as productive as cate but must post bond for insurance vary widely among states and in no case
he, the 11th generation will produce to provide for the welfare of the child are they sufficient to provide a very high
exactly 100 billion people, 27 times the should tragedy befall the parents. standard of living for the family. How­
number on earth today. Now for the poor and the welfare ever, to a person who has nothing they
Udall's article is sound except for one people. Before starting on them, I want look attractive and they encourage the
point. He clings to the outmoded notion to clear the air of some misconceptions. production of children. I have seen social
that everyone should be allowed to pro­ When I speak on population problems workers quoted in disbelief of the possi­
duce an unlimited number of children. there are always those present who ex­ bility that a woman would intentionally
This concept must change. People are pect me to be a champion for those who have another child in order to collect
the most serious form of pollution the want to kick the unwed mother with the additional ADC payments. However, I
world has ever known: no one has the large brood, or the prolific blacks, or know from personal experience during
right to add another litter to the Earth both. I favour justice and equality of my days in the snake-pit bars of Minne­
today. We must establish a new basic opportunity and will neither advocate apolis that such behaviour was common­
freedom—freedom from those who are nor support any programme which place. Perhaps it was influenced by the
destroying the Earth and its ability to would pick on certain groups or classes fact that at that time Minnesota had the
support life by excessive production of of people. highest ADC payments per child in the
their own offspring. Although the poor and the black have nation.
I'd now like to release my programme larger families than the average Ameri­ For the middle income couples, on the
for population control. I introduce it as can, cutting the birth rates among these other hand, each child is an additional
a starting point towards a rational ap­ groups would not solve the population financial liability. Therefore, they rarely
proach to an extremely serious problem problem. By far the greatest portion of produce the large families so commonly
which is still being ignored by our the population explosion in the United found among welfare clients. But be­
political non-leaders. Suggestions and States is in the middle income group with cause of their affluence and a tax system
amendments are welcome. My pro­ their predominantly 3-5 child families. which subsidizes their production of
gramme is not original; it has been put That's you, Whitey, and don't forget children, the vast middle class has been
together from the literature. it. If you plan a population programme reproducing at a rate sufficient to have
29
caused the major part of our population middle income class. But if he has half States is the most serious in the world.
problem. a dozen children the outlook is bleak; we In facing this problem we have a choice.
For the poor people and those on wel­ might as well write him off as "cannot We can limit the number of births by
fare I suggest a positive approach to be saved" so as to concentrate our re­ humans means: contraception, abortion,
population control. First, we should pay sources on better prospects. And if he sterilization, social and economic re­
them not to have children, just as we pay has 11 children we could educate him wards and penalties. Or we can do no­
farmers not to raise corn, not to raise through the PhD, get him a job as an thing and allow the nation to sink ever
hogs, and as we should pay the U.S. associate professor of Zoology at the deeper into chaos as the population
Army Corps of Engineers not to build University of Kentucky, and his family comes into balance due to increased
would still be below the President's offi­ death rates subsidized by wars, riots,
dams and the Soil Conservation Service
cial poverty line. murder, suicide, heroin overdose, and
not to denude and channelize our
As I have pointed out in a previous the battered baby syndrome, plus a birth
streams. Surely if we contract to pay
writing {Ecologist, July 1970), the rate depressed by drug addiction, prison
women $300 a month to produce 10 un­
population problem in the United confinement and mental derangement.
wanted children, we should pay another
woman at least this much not to have
any. Remember that we do not solve any
problems by raising her children. Surplus
populations of unwanted children absorb
resources, create crime in the streets, and
reproduce themselves at near the bio­
The Ecologist
logically maximum rate.
Next we should pay substantial federal
bonuses for sterilization. Vasectomy is a
Environmental
very simple operation which does not
affect the sexual behaviour or desires of
a man. Since it costs society about
News Digest
$18,000 just to raise and educate one
The Ecologist has much pleasure in announcing the publication of a
welfare child, let alone try to keep him
fortnightly environmental news digest. I t will review the fortnight's
out of trouble, we could well afford vast
news as it appears in the English-speaking Press under the following
sums for this programme even without
headings:
touching the sacred war chest.
Sterilization is not so easily performed Conservationist Pressure & Litigation Ecological Legislation
on the female. It can best be done at the Pollution Control & Re-cycling technology Agriculture & Forestry
time of childbirth when the oviducts are Population Growth & Control Natural Resources
most accessible to the surgeon. There­ Depletion of Mineral Resources Power availability
fore a federal population control pro­ Man-induced climatic changes Health trends
gramme should be established in the Oceans: Resources, Pollution & Control Wildlife
maternity wards of every hospital. It Rivers: Resources, Pollution & Control Social structures
should involve a massive subsidy for Air: Pollution & Control Urban environment
sterilization or a smaller annual subsidy
for successful use of contraceptives. It This publication will have 30 pages and will be available by subscription
has also been suggested that a certificate only at £35 per annum. Subscribers will have at their disposal a com­
of sterilization be required for a woman prehensive environmental news service. Date of publication: 1 January,
to get a new baby accepted for ADC 1971. I f you are interested in this service and would like further in­
payments. formation, please complete the form below and send it to The
Let me make it clear that fertility con­ Managing Editor, The Ecologist, 73 Kew Green, Richmond, Surrey.
trol is absolutely necessary for the wel­
fare of the poor as well as for the rest
of society. The idea of raising expecta­
tions for the disadvantaged minorities is
a cruel joke foisted upon them by the Name: ..
Establishment. Whitey's system of pay­
ments according to the number of chil­ Address:
dren produced assures that there can be
no possible escape from poverty except
through crime. Poverty programmes
within this system are a farce.
If we control reproduction then there
is hope for the poor. A n uneducated man
with a wife and two children can be Telephone:
trained to repair automobiles or electri­
cal appliances and he can climb into the
30
Feedback

Farewell guillemot and goodbye was overruled, however, by a higher Smog cuts sunlight
razorbill official who said that the danger, which Smog over Houston at times blotted
Oil pollution and other unknown included the threat of an epidemic, was out 31 per cent of sunlight necessary
causes threaten two species of British so great that it could only be dealt for plant growth according to a report
seabirds with extinction. More than with by the national authorities. by researcher Darryl Randerson pre­
100,000 guillemots and razorbills died The result is that the Genovese may sented at a recent air pollution con­
in the Irish Sea this year and about continue to swim in water so dirty that ference. The overall loss of solar energy
50,000 breeding guillemots and 14,000 they are advised to get inoculated for averaged at least 23 per cent. Rander­
razorbills disappeared from cliff edges tetanus and typhoid before plunging in. son blamed the loss on ozone, created
in the area. The Times by hydrocarbon pollutants undergoing
This loss follows a decline of 24 per Oil on the rising sun a photochemical reaction in sunlight.
cent in both species between 1967 and At least 20 per cent of the world's oil The Houston Post
1969 according to the Royal Society fleet are refusing to use the "load-on-
for the Protection of Birds. top" anti-pollution system and continue Bonds against pollution
Morning Star to discharge 600,000 tons of oil—the The First National Bank of Miami has
equivalent of five Torrey Canyons—into issued anti-pollution savings bonds as
Greetings PCBs the sea during tank cleaning. concern over the environment grows.
One of the previously unknown causes Half of this amount, according to The bonds can be bought for as little
of last year's bird deaths around the Mr John Kirby, vice-president of the as $25 each to allow as many people
British Isles has been traced to a group UK Chamber of Shipping, is jettis­ as possible into the fight against pollu­
of persistent poisons, known as PCBs oned by Japanese ships; but the Jap­ tion. They carry an interest rate of 5f
(polychlorinated biphenyls), which pro­ anese government show no signs of per cent and can be redeemed at face
duce biological effects similar to DDT. passing legislation to enforce the anti­ value in two years. Engineering
According to a study carried out at pollution requirements, which they re­
Monks Wood Experimental Station, cently accepted in principle at an inter­ Black or white ecology?
PCBs also contribute to repeated breed­ national convention on oil pollution. At the first national Congress on Opti­
ing failures among already depleted Financial Times mum Population and Environment held
species. recently in Chicago representatives of
Controlling PCBs is going to be dif­ Pollution makes climate change the black caucus stated that present
ficult, since they have a vast number of According to a government-sponsored concern about the environment and
industrial uses and are let into the en­ study of the weather around St Louis population growth favoured white in­
vironment in countless different ways. and Chicago, the climate of North terests.
But even if effective controls are America is being altered by air pollu­ "The elimination of dangerous species
brought in PCBs already exist in the tion and is becoming steadily warmer such as rats, roaches and other vermin
environment in significant quantities and wetter. is of more immediate concern to the
and will persist for many years doing Clouds seeded by common pollutants black people than the preservation of
harm. such as lead from car exhausts and brook trout, buffalo and bald eagles",
Dr Kenneth Mellanby, director of sulphur dioxide from power plants pro­ they said.
Monks Wood and editor of Environ­ duce the extra rain, while energy pro­ The blacks demanded that the con­
mental Pollution said that " I f a pollut­ duction, which doubles every 17 years gress be reorganized to reflect non-
ant is shown to have an adverse bio­ or so, accounts for the warmer weather, white views and to protect basic free­
logical effect then it should be stopped. especially in urban areas. doms. They said that measures to sta­
And we should always base our assess­ Dr Walter Roberts, president of the bilize population should not be allowed
ment on the most sensitive indicators." National Atmospheric Center Corpora­ to become part of any national or local
The Guardian tion, said that the study "will be the legislation policy. Milwaukee Journal
first major effort to identify particular
Dirty sea dangers sources of pollution that are significant Who pays the bill?
Extraordinary pollution of the beaches in terms of health and adverse atmos­ Robert P. Mayor, out-going Director of
around Genoa forced a city magistrate pheric effects." the Budget said at a meeting of invest­
to seal them off and ban bathing. He St Louis Globe Democrat ment bankers in Santa Barbara, Calif-
31
ornia that the cost of cleaning up after Jet pollution From plastic to dust
pollution over the next five years would Commercial aviation contributes mass­ A team of scientists from Birmingham's
be $110 billion. The breakdown of this ively to air pollution. The amount of university of Aston has produced a
sum gave $70 billion for water, $12 pollutants pumped into the air each dye which could make plastic crumble
billion for air, and $27 billion for solid year at Heathrow airport runs at 10,000 into dust when it is exposed to sun­
wastes. tons of carbon monoxide, 4,000 tons of light.
Mayor said that "as the nation grows, hydrocarbons, 300 to 400 tons of nitro­ Professor Gerald Scott, from the uni­
pollution problems grow right along gen oxides and 100 tons of fine solid versity's department of chemistry said,
with it—perhaps even at a faster rate", particles. These amounts are emitted " I t works rather like the action of sun­
and warned that although the govern­ only by aircraft landing and taking off. light on chemical dyes in curtains—
ment was determined to do its bit, it they fade first and then they gradually
An ordinary jet between landing and
could not afford to pay the whole bill. crumble".
take-off gives out as much filth as a
Los Angeles Times The dye which is sensitive to the
rush-hour traffic jam stretching from
ultra-violet rays in sunlight is impreg­
Marble Arch to Oxford Circus.
Cigarettes = cancer = death nated into plastics. After three months
The Listener
One in every eight deaths in the Glas­ exposure to bright sunlight the dye
gow area is caused by lung cancer. Dr starts to break down the plastics. Con­
The price of pumps
C. R. Gillis, director of the Cancer tainers made of the new material would
With the growing concern over pollu­
Registration Bureau for Western Scot­ change colour when about to disinte­
tion in Russia being expressed in the grate, giving the shopkeeper or house­
land said that whereas air pollution
speeches of its political leaders, a Soviet wife plenty of warning. They would
multiplied the risk of lung cancer by a
conservationist, S. Trofimov, has spoken not disintegrate when stored indoors
factor of two, smoking multiplied the
out against the adverse effect of away from sunlight.
risk by a factor of 50. Dr Gillis said,
"There is no doubt at all that cigarette the great Kuznetsk coal mines on the With 250,000 tons of plastic being
smoking is an extremely important environment. dumped in Britain alone this year, the
direct causal factor in lung cancer, and Trofimov also complained that offic­ dye could help solve one of the world's
accounts for lung cancer deaths in ials in the area are so ignorant of land most pressing and difficult pollution
about 85 per cent of cases." values that they think the price of one problems. Daily Mail
The annual report of the Scottish hectare (2.47 acres) "is no higher than
Western Regional Cancer Committee two pairs of fashionable ladies shoes". Mass mercury poisoning
said that it was scandalous that tobacco New York Times Doctors in the US fear there may be
—"a dangerous drug of addiction"— thousands of unknown cases of mer­
should be a mainstay of the economy. Ad-ding to the horror cury poisoning after contaminated fish
The Guardian During the next ten years American and waters have been found in 14
advertising will become restricted and states.
Smell pollution regulated by government controls " i n The mercury search began in April
Venice had a day of xrisis recently a way that would have seemed unbe­ this year and is still incomplete. Some
when thousands of dead fish and rott­ lievable only a few years ago" accord­ states have issued fishing bans but
ing seaweed blocked its waterways and ing to Victor Bloede, speaking at a others, especially in the south, have not
sent up a foul smell to heaven. meeting of the Dentsu agency in Tokyo. done so. Although the Food and Drug
Biologists said that a violent storm, He said that control over advertising Administration has declared that any­
which uprooted the seaweed, and a thing more than 0.5 parts per million
would be influenced by "the so-called
heatwave which killed it and made it in fish is "dangerous contamination",
consumerism movement and the in­
rot, were responsible. The decaying pro­ no one knows if any level at all is
creasing awareness of environmental
cess changed the oxygen in the water really safe.
and psychological problems that tech­
into hydrogen sulphide gas, killing the Mild and severe cases of mercury
nology has created".
fish and blackening any silver objects poisoning are being incorrectly diagnos­
Although Bloede admitted the hor­ ed as encephalitis, senility or mysterious
which the gas touched when it escaped
rors of physical pollution were bad brain damage. Officials of the National
from the water. The smell, identical
enough, he believed the "psychological Communicable Disease Center say that
to rotten eggs or stink bombs, was bad.
ravages" created by the modern en­ about 10 per cent of any mercury a
Chicago Daily News
vironment could be even worse. person takes in goes to the brain. The
Esso gets sulphur out Campaign results may only show up after years,
Esso's research centre at Abingdon, when enough brain cells have gradually
Norway's electric car been destroyed. The Washington Post
Berkshire has come up with a new
process for reducing the sulphur con­ Taking heed of air pollution problems
tent of emissions from boilers burning the Norwegian government is investing Non-potable drinking water
heavy fuel oils. The centre has received £80,000 over a 3 year period in the Charles C. Johnson Jr, administrator of
a £100,000 contract from the US gov­ production of a practical electric auto­ the US Environmental Health Service
ernment's National A i r Pollution Con­ mobile, which is the work of El-Bil warned that industrial wastes from
trol Administration to develop the pro­ A / A , of Forde Norway. I f tests go 12,000 toxic chemicals are getting into
cess to the stage when it can prove its right full-scale production may start in the nation's drinking water systems and
commercial viability. Financial Times 1972. Newsweek threatening to make them unusable.

32
Addressing the American Water across the whole of Scandinavia. The output in the US every eight to ten
Works Association, Johnson said that beacons used 1000 years ago by the years is becoming a serious problem.
water pollution had "greatly increased" Vikings as warning signals against in­ Carl Bagge, Federal Power Commis­
over the past 25 years, partly due to the vasion are intended to warn of the sioner, said that the strain on the en­
500 new chemicals being developed each threat to the environment. vironment of increasing power produc­
year. "We know very little about these Chicago Tribune tion calls for a major study on the
chemicals", he said. "For the most part effects of energy use.
we don't know what they will do to our DDT did for Cannery Row "We may have to face up to ration­
health, including genetic effects." A biologist has blamed the death of ing (electricity) as a matter of national
He added that the demand for water California's sardine industry based at policy", said Bagge.
is rising so rapidly that by 1980 "major Monterey, the setting for Steinbeck's But energy authorities say that en­
sections of the country" will be forced novel "Cannery Row", on DDT. vironmentalists are trying to disrupt the
to drink reclaimed waste water, thereby In 1945 the 16 plants on Cannery picture of the country's energy situa­
complicating the problem still further. Row packed 469.3 million pounds. This tion. "Today's outcries about the en­
St at on Island Advance same year DDT was first applied on a vironment will be nothing compared to
large scale to crops in California's the cries of angry citizens who find
Better off in gaol Central Valley which drain into the that power failures have plunged them
The State of Philadelphia has decided Pacific Ocean. The next year the catch into prolonged blackouts", said Glenn
not to build a prison in southwest Phil­ dropped to 284 million pounds and in T. Seaborg, chairman of the Atomic
adelphia because air pollution and foul 1947 to 54 million pounds. Energy Commission.
smells from the Schuylkill River would By 1967 the catch had dropped so Air conditioners are responsible for
make it unfit for prisoners to live there. low that a moratorium was declared on the problems of peak-demand in sum­
The residents of that part of Philadel­ sardine fishing. Walter Thomson, bio­ mer, which has forced utilities to build
phia are happy that they are not getting logist, said that overfishing had played more generating capacity than is needed
the prison; but Mrs Marie Jones had its part in the disappearance of the during the rest of the year. Ultimately
a good point when she asked, " I f the sardines but that DDT had provided utilities will have to actively encourage
pollution is too bad for the prisoners the final coup de grace. power conservation. But will Americans
what about the people who live here?" Chicago Daily News be prepared to turn off their air-con­
New York National Enquirer
ditioners to save the environment?
Light haze kills too
Poor caviar The Evening Bulletin
A study of New York's mortality rate
Russia's sturgeon, the source of 95 per
shows that death rates from heart and Freedom to breed?
cent of the world's caviar, are dying
respiratory disease rise as much from
in rivers and the Caspian Sea, victims At the First National Congress on
small changes in ordinary everyday
of pollution. Between 1961 and 1967 Optimum Population and Environment
pollution as they do from massive
the sturgeon catch from the Caspian Prof. Garrett Hardin took the hard
smogs.
and the Volga dropped from 114,500 line on the population issue.
Dr Thomas Hodgson, who has con­
tons to 66,000 tons. Novelist Mikhail "We won't make much progress un­
ducted the research, said that "a unit
Sholokhov, in a warning about pollution, less some very big catastrophe takes
change in the level of air pollution in­
said that in one part of the Volga a place, simply because that's the way
duces as great an increase in mortality
count was taken of 842,000 dead stur­ people are," went the gloomy predic­
at low levels of pollution as at higher
geon contaminated by factory residues. tion of Hardin, father of four.
levels". This means that an almost im­
He estimated that this loss alone cost Hardin also wrote in the recently
perceptible increase in haze for in­
the Soviet Union four million pounds. published Environmental Handbook,
stance, produces 13 more deaths each
Milwaukee Journal day in New York City, he says. "The only way we can preserve and
Warning light Long Island Press nurture other and more precious free­
Doing their bit for European Conserva­ doms is by relinquishing the freedom
tion Year the Swedes are having an Ear-service only to breed and that very soon".
"Earth Week" this month. The cam­ Ohio Water Pollution Control Board Chicago Daily News
paign for a cleaner environment, run­ has authorized the building of a nuclear
ning alongside similar efforts in other power plant on Lake Erie, which may Poverty before pollution
Scandinavian countries, will be headed have serious effects on fish life in that Efforts to link the growing consumer
by over a million students, who will be part of the lake. movement with the battle against pollu­
given the week off from work. Barton Holl, a member of the board, tion met with a poor response from
Unlike the US Earth Day last April, said " I think the welfare of mankind African and Asian nations at a meeting
Sweden's campaign is being organized is just as important as ecology," and of the International Organization of
by the State. There will be exhibitions, capped that with " I ' m glad to listen Consumers Unions in Baden, Austria.
demonstrations, teach-ins and pollution to the ecologists, but I'm not influenced "We are not concerned with pollu­
tests, which "will cause every Swede to by what they say." tion but with existence", said Dr
sit up with a jolt", according to the The Cleveland Press Shankran Kristnamurthy, director of
organizers. the Consumers Council in India. "The
Earth Week will end on September Power rationing wealthy countries worry about car
6 with the lighting of 1,500 beacons The need to double the electric power fumes. We worry about starvation."
33
Sayed Adam al-Jafri from Malaysia
said "Some of us would rather see
smoke coming out of a factory and Ecologue
men employed than no factory at all".
The New York Times
On devouring a small roasted battery-reared milk-fed chicken
Alaska pipeline could close Unhinging now your little wishbone from its anchorage
Conservationists and Indians are rais­ I have a twinge at last of breaching someone's personality.
ing legal obstacles which may cause the Even as I decarnate this unresisting box—
Alaska pipeline project to be shelved, Pink and ochre—of your unconvincing flesh
and attention to be turned to alterna­ It comes upon me with a shock that you were real:
tive methods of getting oil and gas out A small puffed bird, beadily peeking out beyond
of the deposits there. Its machine of animality, the speck of pineal brain
A group of Indian tribes in the area Busy with the wants of birdhood and a fowl's entelechy.
obtained a court order temporarily for­
bidding Federal officials from granting Were you really something with a running spark
a permit for the pipeline, since they Igniting quick sensations to the brain, and actually
said it would infringe on their land More than vegetable and mineral? . . . Oh, how few
and could effect the movement of the Sensations did they give you in your cardboard life—
caribou herds which they need for Poor little rich bird in your milk-fed battery!
food. No ovine memories of a mother to untag
A conservation group, called "The Those early clockwork days in which you dared jerkily
Wilderness Society", obtained a similar Among the amoeba of your peers: not once hungry,
court order from a different court also Not once cold or wet—you little fluffy bag
forbidding construction of the pipeline Of fattening test-tube chemicals!
before a route of the service road is
And now that I unpick these soft insipid shreds
laid out.
I have to force myself to think that God infused in you
By the middle of next year the eight
The thing that made you bird, despite your mealy prison
oil companies which have joined to­
Underneath your ceiling without sky. You were
gether to build the pipeline will have
A person after all.
submitted their complete and detailed
plans for the building of the line. The Infinite be praised
But even if government permission That self in form of poultry and of chickenhood
is then given, actual construction could Could still impose itself on so much plump sterility.
not begin for two years. So there is Like a bird you must have cocked that hatchet of your head
time for hope. The Guardian (Hallucinated) at a worm, listened, scratched and peered
Into the eseptic useless chaff upon your chromium board;
Evolution in our time You must have rustled through your feathers with your nib
A new strain of hedgehog, which takes Of opaque yellow bill, and with a crooked heel
evasive action against cars by running Vibrated non-existent mites around your pinhole ears.
to the nearest verge instead of curling
up into a ball, has been noted in There is no proof of this, alas! Your present tasteless
Lancashire. Birdless form is more millenia away from me
Than monoliths of pterodactyls in Siberia.
The change in the roadcrossing
I'd rather you had been a plastic vegetable
habits of these northern hogs is taking
Mocking the greeny-eyed with waxy subterfuge.
place rapidly because " i t is only the
'run-for-it' hedgehogs that are left to Yes, vast deceit—the cheating of a life—
breed 'run-for-it' hedgehogs", accord­ We need no consciousness to say what we miss:
ing to the Lancashire Naturalist Trust. Your neck and feet and eyes, your untried remex quill,
Mr L . D. Hills, director of the Henry Your legs that never ran and had no space to jump,
Doubleday Research Association, has a Your mash-fed beak that never pecked on hard,
theory about why the hogs have Even the proboscis of your little cushion-hidden sex,
changed tactics. Hedgehogs always run Were themselves the consciousness of loss,
from fire and smoke, and he suggests Something stunted, missed.
that increased fumes from car exhausts Therefore, with your half-formed wishbone in my hand
lying close to the road surface pollute I flense these elements from you, your last,
the hogs so that they associate cars And see you only as a thwarted dish—
with smoke. Your wishbone in my fingers . . . yes, unconvincingly—
But perhaps they just got tired of And wish.
sitting around in balls waiting to be PAUL ROCHE
run over. Who knows? Reprinted by permission of the Editors of RESURGENCE
The Guardian
34
Factory farms v. Factory farms Arnold Spicer and his team of 50 scien­ Wycombe is that A3/5 could be a big
It is the age of the knitted steak. Protein tists who have brought A3/5 this far. earner of foreign exchange. This sug­
foods are now being synthesized in The white powder can be added to gests that it will be sold to other indus­
several countries. One by one they are soups, gravies and other foods to in­ trial countries. In the short term it will
appearing on the market. Already we crease the protein content, or it can be be valuable to have on hand stocks of a
have milk which has never been near a made into sausages. Difficulties have high protein food which can be trans­
cow. Meat is next. arisen with the beef and chicken ver­ ported easily to disaster areas as relief,
The basic processes have been known sions, but no doubt these will be over­ and supplies or on the spot production
for many years. The first stage involves come. facilities may well be of great assistance
the reduction of a raw material to pure Food technology has come a long way to developing countries as a bridge while
protein. This may be done either by ex­ since margarine became the first man- their problems of population and food
tracting the protein from a vegetable made food. Any natural flavour can now production are brought under control.
rich in protein, such as soya, or by grow­ be simulated and if we are to believe In the middle term it cannot help those
ing a protein-rich yeast on a nutrient. the claims of the advertisers in the tech­ countries which depend on their exports
The nutrient may be of conventional, nical journals, the flavourings can taste of primary produce i f industrial
vegetable origin, or more bizarre. BP more like the real thing than the real countries, their customers, become
has two factories planned, one in Scot­ thing does. There is a wide range of major primary producers themselves. I n
land, at Grangemouth, and one in laboratory products to control changes the long term, a plentiful source of pro­
France, which will produce protein from in foods during processing and for mak­ tein will not, in itself, solve the popula­
yeasts grown on petroleum. The range ing subtle changes to improve colour, tion problem. It may exacerbate it.
of products and processes not previously flavour or keeping quality. America now The biochemists tell us that the new
associated with food production has has something like 1,300 different food foods contain all the essential amino
brought new sidelines to old industries. additives in general use. acids and that the overall protein con­
Cellulose material, such as grass or even The advantages of simulating food tent is higher than that of meat. There
wood, may also be used after chemical are obvious. The protein content of the appears to have been less consideration
treatment to break down the cellulose new product is higher than that of of vitamin or trace element content.
into its component sugars. The yeast is "natural" meat and the cost is lower. There is much that we do not know
grown in stainless steel tanks by a pro­ The factories can be sited anywhere and about nutrition and the substances of
cess of continuous fermentation, and are subject to none of the disadvan­ nutritional significance, many of which
harvested. It is then reduced to a free- tages of farming. They can be closed occur in minute quantities and some of
flowing white powder. down at night, on Sundays, during the which have not yet been identified. I f
When extruded through a mesh at a holidays, which makes them easier and knitted steaks were to become a major
high temperature the powder acquired a more attractive to operate. Most im­ part of a national diet the effect is un­
fibrous texture. Now fibres can be spun, portant, however, they can produce pro­ knowable. Once again man would be
and this is where Courtaulds join the tein in greater quantities, with less waste, using himself as an experimental animal
league. They, too, are now in the food than animals can, by streamlining a on a vast scale. I t might be 20 years
business. Once woven the protein can natural biological process. or even longer before the results of the
be textured to simulate meat. It is then There is much talk of the effect of the experiment were known and by this
coloured and flavoured. The result is a new foods on the world food problem. time conventional farming of livestock
knitted steak. Professor Spicer has been quoted as say­ might have suffered such a setback that
The latest firm to announce a new ing of A3/5: " I do not exaggerate when it would take a long time to recover.
synthetic protein is Rank, Hovis, Mc- I say this could change the lives of mil­ The first section of the community to
Dougall. They have always been in the lions of people, save their lives." But feel the effect of synthetic proteins will
food business and they are scornful of will it? The factories are very expen­ be the farmers. British Soya, one of the
the new boys. A t their research centre sive to build and it is unlikely that de­ producers of a simulated meat, sell their
at High Wycombe they have spent 4 | veloping countries will be able to oper­ product at one shilling a pound. When
years and £1^ million developing A3/5. ate their own in the immediate future, this is launched on to the market in large
The National Research and Develop­ although eventually it should be possible quantities the housewife will be pre­
ment Corporation is to invest a further to export the necessary technology. The sented with a choice between beef at,
£500,000 in the work of Professor real reason for the excitement at High shall we say, eight shillings a pound, and
35
simulated beef at, perhaps, three shil­ the world food problem and world participation in European Conservation
lings. A t first she will resist the new pro­ health, the knitted steak league may Year and, hopefully, guide future policy
duct, but for how long can she sustain present us with the spectacle of the fac­ in this and other fields.
this resistance in the face of her family's tory farms closing down the factory The report recommends that the old
demand for meat every day? She will farms. tipping method with its advantages in
buy simulated meat, the family will like Michael Allaby economy and land reclamation should
it, the television commercials will tell not be replaced by incineration, pulver­
all of them how much more protein it ization and composting despite recent
contains and British Soya will have technological advances in these methods,
made another group of converts. The which can, however, be used comple-
livestock farmer, with his animals in mentarily. Standards, the report urges,
intensive units, with high costs and a should be stricter, and enforced by all
narrow profit margin, will go under. For acceptable methods. Most importantly,
years farming has been moving further tips should be covered with soil or suit­
and further towards industry, so that we able material every day and to the pre­
talk now of 'factory farms". When the scribed depth of nine inches, even
farmer meets competition from the real though this may increase cost. Deep pits
factory farms, which are genuinely in­ should be used exclusively for controlled
dustrial, he will be lucky to survive. tipping of untreated refuse unless there
This will happen. The new products The subject of refuse is nobody's fav­ is a natural protection from wind or the
will be sold in the supermarkets. Indus­ ourite but it can be a positive threat to site is large enough to accommodate
try does not invest millions of pounds the countryside if its disposal is not well concentric wire fences to trap blowing
in a new venture without anticipating managed. During the next fifteen to litter.
large profits and large home sales. Nor twenty years the total volume of refuse The problem is not want of holes in
is the motive pure altruism in the face from domestic and industrial sources the ground for tipping. Many of them,
of world food shortages. The new pro­ will double, according to most estimates. like the disused brick quarries in Bed­
ducts will be sold at home. In the United Kingdom three hundred fordshire, would never be reclaimed
There is one hope for the farmers. It and eighty thousand tons of domestic without it, but these sites are often at
may be that just as instant coffee created rubbish are generated every week. Four­ what has been considered unacceptable
a large market for itself without ever teen hundred local authorities tip most distances from towns with refuse dis­
being accepted as "real" by that section of it into holes in the ground and cover posal problems. Ideas of acceptable dis­
of the community which cares most it over with some degree of adequacy. tances as well as feasible transport
about the quality of its food—the gour­ Industrial waste assumes about the methods will have to be revised, the
mets if you like—so simulated meats same volume. Specialist waste disposal group submits.lt is also pointed out that
may increase overall meat consumption contractors and the industries themselves pulverized refuse takes about half to
by expanding the existing market, but tip most of it into holes in the ground two thirds of the space of crude refuse.
may leave untouched a smaller "qual­ as well. About eighty million pounds a Pulverizers reduce refuse to pieces three
ity" market of people who insist on year are spent by local authorities for inches or less in size, relatively fly free
"real" meat. This group may contain a refuse collection and disposal, and in­ and unattractive to rats: it may or may
few of us all the time and many of us dustry may spend as much or more. not then be treated with a mechanized
part of the time. We may buy simulated By 1980 domestic rubbish is expected fermentation process to provide quali­
meat on weekdays and "real" meat on ties that improve some kinds of soil.
to increase to four hundred and fifty
Sundays. Inadequate supplies of cover material
thousand tons per week, but will also be
could be overcome by well established
Even so, this offers little comfort to a third more bulky in character due to
pulverizing and composting techniques
today's intensive animal farmer. The an increased proportion of paper, glass,
on some refuse material and using it in
plastic and other packaging and the dis­
conjunction with industrial and agri­
appearance of ashes and cinders in most
cultural wastes.
parts of the country.
These projects are quite impossible of
Tipping places near towns and cities realization, says the report, unless it is
are already at a premium and competi­ recognized that refuse disposal can no
tion is increasingly keen. To study this longer be regarded as a local problem
critical situation The Countryside in for the fourteen hundred individual local
1970 organization has set up an ad hoc authorities acting on their own. A nat­
group chaired by F. L . D. Flintoff for­ ional advisory committee is recommen­
mer head of the refuse disposal branch ded which would promote joint schemes
of the Greater London Council Public with local authorities, national indus­
demand will be for high quality, natur­ Health Engineering Department. A re­ tries, contractors, agricultural interests
ally reared meat, not for the product of port has been produced for discussion and transport means. The committee
the barley beef lot. I f we want factory at The Countryside in 1970's third con­ would establish standards for the pro­
meat we will go to the factory. ference in October of this year under its tection of the countryside during re­
It is dangerous to prophesy, but it president, H R H the Duke of Edinburgh. clamation and produce land of good
does seem that whatever the effect on The conference will consummate British contours, and capable of cultivation.
36
Preferable to the idea of complete ing and is, of course, deadly if drunk, that British citizens are resistant to
national control would be a flexible net­ but essentially it is a poison that adds up chlordane although Americans are not,
work of various local solutions by in­ in the body, producing symptoms that but it should be realized that all state­
dividual authorities, groups or consortia are put down to something else. Care­ ments on pesticide safety refer only to
of local authorities for such projects as lessness or accident can make it a quick this country—foreigners like M r Hilton
the building of large incinerators. Lar­ killer, and there is a recorded case in the and the 6,000 Japanese killed by organo­
ger groups of refuse producers could US of a gardener who spilt a 25 per phosphorous compounds in the five
co-operate in major land reclamation cent solution on his skin and died before years up to 1963, do not count.
schemes which, because of importance medical help could arrive. Dr. Arnold There is no justification whatever for
or distance, rank for national subsidy. Lehman of the US Food and Drug any amateur gardener killing the earth­
An alarmingly passive attitude is Administration described chlordane as worms that are his friends, and then
taken by the group on the matter of non­ "one of the most toxic of all insecti­ buying a spiked roller to aerate his lawn,
biodegradable plastics which it recog­ cides—anyone handling it could be doing laboriously and badly what the
nizes as a kind of Frankenstein monster poisoned." worms do perfectly without payment.
fast becoming a threat to its proud in­ Chlordane is on sale in most garden However remote the risk of spilling
ventors by inundating the environment. shops with nothing to show that it is as the concentrated liquid over his hands,
The report points out that incineration dangerous as the arsenic used by Dr knocking it off the shelf to smash and
of certain much-used plastics produces a Crippen, if you drink it. The directions splash his socks, or of penetrating the
quantity of toxic gases which cannot be warn "Not to be used on food crops. bare skins of his children romping on
permitted to increase, but offers no re­ Keep off skin. Keep away from fish and the lawn, he has no need to take it.
commendation for the prevention of the pets. Wash off spillings of concentrate. The only place where worms should
galloping trend to worsen the problem Wash after use. Store in a safe place be destroyed is on golf or bowling greens
by the introduction of plastic milk away from children. Wash and dispose because their casts can divert the bowls,
bottles, etc., before a solution, if any, of container safely". There is nothing on and here a derris or mowrah meal worm
can be found to the question of their this or any other bottle to warn of death killer is just as effective, rather cheaper,
satisfactory disposal. in the potting shed. and entirely safe for birds and men.
It was our impression, too, that in­ The Advisory Committee on Pesti­ Lawrence D. Hills
sufficient attention was given to the long cides and other Toxic Chemicals was
term advantages of such techniques as quoted by the Minister of Agriculture on
recycling, especially of organic wastes December 17th 1969 as stating that "al­
for agricultural purposes as an alterna­ though a number of persistent chemicals
tive to artificial fertilisers. are present in the environment, there is
Jean Liedloff no evidence that this has any adverse
effects on man". The Committee refuses
to condemn chlordane, insisting that
when used against worms, cockroaches
and ants it "appears to present no ob­
vious risks to other wild life". But it
took three years to kill M r Fred Hilton,
Seminar on Water Pollution by
and the cumulative effects of partly
Oil, Aviemore, May 1970
poisoned worms adding up in the birds
At Aviemore in May, the first Inter­
on every lawn from a pesticide that per­
national Seminar on Oil Pollution was
sists for twelve years in the soil, can
held under the auspices of the Institute
never be obvious.
for Water Pollution Control, The In­
On May 18th 1970, a Ministry spokes­
Not counting foreigners stitute of Petroleum and the World
man, answering a query on chlordane,
On February 17th 1970, The Times re­ produced the following example of Health Organisation. About 400 dele­
ported the death of M r Fred Hilton, "Spokesmanship"—the art of reassuring gates attended, representing water in­
aged 69, of Philadelphia, after using without actually lying. "We have no terests, oil industry, fire services, C.B.I.,
chlordane in his garden for three years. knowledge of any deaths occurring in various wild life organisations, marine
Dr I . Selig Epstein, who signed the this country resulting from the use of interests and many others. The first half
death certificate, stated that the pesticide chlordane in agriculture, horticulture, of the week was devoted to discussing
(one of the organo-chlorine compounds home gardening etc. Similarly, the the growing problem of oil pollution of
of which D.D.T. is best-known and least Poisons Reference Service have no inland waters and the latter half to a
deadly) had accumulated in the patient's knowledge of such deaths." The italics discussion of coastal and estuarine pollu­
bone marrow over the period and led to are not the Ministry's—they are merely tion.
the destruction of his red blood cells. a token of respect for the memory of H . Jagger introduced the problem
This is not an isolated case, for every M r Fred Hilton, who suffered from the from the oil companies' aspect explain­
year there are cases of chlordane poison­ effects of this particular persistent chem­ ing how the use of oil has grown con­
ing in the United States where it is a ical in his environment. siderably over the past 20 years and that
popular worm-killer. It penetrates the No MP has yet had the courage to in the United Kingdom the oil consump­
skin easily, can be absorbed by breath­ ask the Minister what evidence there is tion is doubling each decade. This ex-
37
plains the resulting growth in oil pollu­ ecologists. Whether to sink oil at sea or curred in Liverpool Bay during April
tion although the volumes involved were leave it? Clarence M . Tarzell, Director 1969.
such a minute proportion of the oil used of The National Marine Water Quality Little was said as to how communi­
that it showed great care was already Laboratory of the U.S. was convinced cation between these authorities could
being taken by the industry. that oil became toxic when dispersed in be improved, each side holding to the
In putting the river authorities' case water because marine organisms tended attitude that " I am doing my part, if
Ronald Toms presented the results of a to concentrate this oil. The lower forms anything extra is needed it's up to some­
survey of occurrences of oil pollution of organism were eaten by higher forms body else to provide the effort". This
showing that during a recent period of and at each stage the concentration in­ attitude of only doing precisely what
12 months, 483 cases of oil pollution creased. He provided some striking your "terms of reference" say youwilldo
were reported by river authorities in micro-photographs to illustrate this is one that is so often hammered home by
England and Wales. The main source of point. the legalistic outlook which frequently
the oil pollution was not from the oil Dale Straughan in describing the controls the activities of the various
industry but the many commercial and Santa Barbara Oil Spill tended to sup­ bodies concerned. This way of think­
other users of oil. Accidents due to over­ port the argument against using deter­ ing produces managers who consider
filling of storage tanks, faulty pipework gents, as her evidence suggested that al­ their job is to ensure that the body they
etc., often lead to large volumes of oil though large volumes of oil have been manage does not get into trouble, rather
escaping and as a result much of river deposited on the coast in the neighbour­ than see that their work is properly done
authorities' time was now devoted to try­ hood of Santa Barbara for a number of and that any obstacles are overcome. I f
ing to prevent oil reaching water under­ years there is no evidence that any major only the various people concerned, the
takers' intakes. A great deal of this oil changes in the fauna could be attributed officer responsible for oil emergencies,
pollution could be prevented if the firms to the oil pollution. However, J. Crudas the fire officer, the Ministry man and the
using and storing oil were under a legal of the Royal Society for the Protection ecologist, realized that they are trying to
responsibility to ensure that it did not of Birds stressed the danger that exists protect the same world and in fact each
escape when a foreseeable accident oc­ to the diving birds when oil is left float­ trying to solve the same small problem,
curred. The safeguards are relatively ing on water. Large numbers of such this restrictive way of thinking could be
simple and not expensive but at present birds were killed in the Torrey Canyon overcome and when oil pollution of the
if an accident occurs the owner of the Spill and there was real danger of certain sea occurred everybody could work to­
oil is not responsible when the oil pol­ species of these birds being exterminated gether. The most obvious essential that
lutes water resources. when oil contaminated their feeding was missing during the discussion was
Other river authorities' representa­ grounds. leadership and it is difficult to see how
tives reported similar problems and the There has been a noticeable develop­ this hurdle could be overcome because
rapid increase in oil pollution of the in­ ment over recent years in the production the public service employs public ser­
land waters that was now taking place. of relatively non-toxic detergents for use vants and amongst servants, leadership
D. Buchanan of the Clyde River Puri­ in oil spills. Unfortunately these tend to is often regarded with suspicion.
fication Board described a number of the be more expensive but they are being To sum up, a most enterprising and
more serious incidents that his Board used by various authorities. The deter­ revealing seminar that can only do good
were faced with. One big problem in re­ gent used at the time of the Torrey in overcoming the problems of oil pollu­
moving oil was the cost and where to Canyon was extremely toxic and the tion. The only person noticeably absent
dispose of it. Contractors who now have large stocks remaining in the possession was the little boy with his bucket and
a big market in disposing of waste oil of the Ministry have been distributed spade. A pity because the pleasure
were peculiarly silent on this point. In amongst coastal authorities. One dele­ seeker seems to be as badly hit by oil as
inland waters it is not acceptable to use gate suggested that these toxic supplies anybody.
emulsifiers to remove the oil but it is ought to be replaced by the newer non R. G. Toms
much better to try to take off the oil at toxic materials.
a boom. In the estuary the use of emul­ The marine section finished with a
sifiers may be acceptable during an em­ real battle as to who should do what, HIGH BLOOD
ergency but account must be taken of
any toxic effect these emulsifiers might
when oil was seen. J. Wardley Smith ex­ PRESSURE
plained that his Ministry had arranged CAPILLARY FRAGILITY
have on aquatic life. demonstrations and instructions for HARDENING A R T E R I E S
The section dealing with fresh water authorities responsible for oil removal VARICOSE VEINS <#
pollution was almost unanimous in CHILBLAINS
along various parts of the coast. How­
0 Rutin in its pure form gives sure and
stressing the urgency of dealing with the ever, the fire service, which was well re­ gentle relief
growing problem of oil pollution. There presented throughout the seminar and RUTIVITE T A B L E T S
was virtually no disagreement on the or R U T I N - ' T 1

cause of the problem and it was obvious


only too anxious to help when an emer­
gency occurred, said that they had not One month's supply 10/6
of either
that it could be tackled by much better been consulted in this matter. If they Larger, more e c o n o m i c a l , s i z e s a l s o available J
education of people using oil and by the could only be told what to do, they had f r o m all g o o d
introduction of improved legislation. the manpower and the equipment, and HEALTH STORES
As supplied by
The section on coastal pollution was they would do it. There was also dis­ RUTIN PRODUCTS LTD.
far more controversial with three sided agreement over the methods used be­ Station A p p r o a c h
arguments developing between the over­ tween the various authorities involved W o k i n g h a m , Berks. RG11 2 A P

seeing officials, the oil industry and the when the Hamilton Trader Oil Spill oc­ Literature gladly o n request

38
Comments

Must cars take over our cities? GLC. It does not seem to have occurred dominated and congested by large metal
Roads for the Future; the new inter- to them that, by transforming London containers. He needs to breathe fresh
urban plan for England sets out the ex- into a cobweb of motorways, it might clean air and not air poisoned with car­
Labour Government's road building cease to fulfil this essential function. bon monoxide, lead, or asbestos par­
programme for the next 15 to 20 years. Perhaps Mr Desmond Plummer has ticles. He needs a measure of quiet and
It assumes that by the late 1980s there simply never asked himself what peace, not ceaseless exposure to the
will be a 70 per cent increase in traffic, constitutes a suitable environment. He noise and chaos of countless motor-cars
and by doubling the inter-urban trunk might for instance consider that stable driven by ever more neurotic drivers.
system it aims at enabling an estimated citizens can be reared in vast mono­ If the GLC planners were prepared
20 million motorists to "travel freely, tonous urban conglomerations or metro­ to examine a city as a system, as does
safely, and without frustration or con­ politan areas or whatever our cities are
J. Forrester in his Urban Dynamics, they
gestion". To achieve this lofty ideal, four being turned into. I f he does, it is time
would realize that there must be an
thousand million pounds will have to be that he was disillusioned.
spent, something like half of which, it A vast amount of sociological litera­
appears, on urban transport. ture is available to show how such en­
Needless to say, the white paper pays vironments favour the development of
lip service to conservation ideals. Thus every type of socially undesirable behav­
it states that "Full account will be taken iour. He has before him the example of
of environmental and amenity questions, Los Angeles, of which 60 per cent of the
including the conservation of historic surface is made up of roads as against
areas". However, the emptiness of this 25 per cent in the average European city.
assurance becomes evident when we read L A is a city built to measure for the
in the next sentence: "New roads do im­ automobile age, where it is said that,
prove the environment although, inevi­ were a pedestrian to venture onto the
tably, amenity is reduced in some areas street he would be arrested as a vagrant.
for some people". There are drive-in shops, drive-in cine­ optimum value for each one of its con­
This document is a perfect illustra­ mas, drive-in banks, yet it is universally stituent parts. This means, among other
tion of "tunnel" thinking. No one has regarded as a veritable hell on earth. things, that there must be an optimum
bothered to work out how this prolifera­ Why this should be so is not difficult number of cars, and hence of motorways.
tion of roads, dual carriageways and* to understand: the car is not an intrinsic What this figure is can only be cal­
motor ways will affect all other aspects part of man, as a shell is of a tortoise. A culated by taking into account all those
of our lives. A l l that has been taken into man is a motorist for only a small frac­ aspects of human life that can be affec­
account is the apparently indispensable tion of his time—unless he is a taxi- ted in some way by a change in the value
requirement that more and more motor­ driver. He has other activities and other of this variable. It is typical of the
ists should "travel freely, safely, and preoccupations. He is, for instance, methodology made use of by today's de­
without frustration and congestion". So father, husband, lover, open-air enjoyer, cision-makers that in deciding to build
long as this can be achieved, it appears, footballer, bowls-player, amateur gar­ Westway, etc., only one such aspect was
to hell with everything else. dener, dog-walker, child-entertainer, to apparently taken into account: how to
Any change brought about to a city name a few of his roles. H2 also needs favour rapid communications.
should be prompted by a desire to im­ to be a citizen of a small cohesive com­ Of course we all want to be able to get
prove it. What, in fact, constitutes an im­ munity; and the environment that is to central London quickly, but this pre­
provement to a city? We can only answer ideal for the fulfilment of these human supposes that there be a good reason for
this once we have decided what a city is functions happens not to coincide with going there. I should have thought that
for. Most people would agree that the that which enables him to fulfil, in opti­ the planners' chief concern would be to
object of a city is to provide a satisfac­ mum conditions his far less essential make London as attractive and as inter­
tory environment for its citizens. function as a motorist. esting a place as possible; to make it, in
This point seems to have totally For the former purposes, a citizen fact still worth going to. I f they have
escaped M r Desmond Plummer and the needs the company of people, not a life their way it will not be like this for long.
39
Of Ants and Men large slave population, but also uses people turn out to see a cream-coloured
Human societies appear unique because slaves as soldiers to conduct his wars. courser in Norfolk, disturbing the bird
of the elaborate and specialized forms This parasitical ant is as vulnerable as itself, causing some damage to crops
they have evolved to adapt themselves was his human counterpart, for, as the (to be fair, only a little), tramping on
to the many and varied environments to result of many millenia of disuse, the private land without permission, bird-
which they have been submitted. muscles of his proud mandibles have watching has started to become a harm­
atrophied, rendering them useless save as ful occupation."
However, a glance at the adaptive ca­
symbols of past glories, with which this
pacity of ant societies reveals that this
pathetic figure, as helpless as he is awe­
uniqueness is illusory. The nomadic and
some, can still hope to intimidate his
pillaging hordes of the Eurasian Steppe,
gullible victims.
such as the Huns and the Mongols, find
Clearly we have to seek elsewhere—if
their counterpart in the soldier or driver
we must—the material that might justify
ants organized in hordes of 100,000 to
the illusion of human uniqueness.
150,000 strong, which march out in per­
fect formation from their temporary biv­ Too Many
ouacs leaving a trail of total destruction
Any activity which is harmless, even A biting comment...
in their wake.
beneficial when indulged in by few The London anti-fluoridation campaign
Pastoral societies such as the Masai people becomes disastrous when the pre­
and the Navaho have their counterparts has asked all MPs to help combat White­
rogative of too many. The motorcar is
in those of the yellow lawn ants who in hall's attempt to subject the nation to
an obvious example. When there were
underground galleries milk their herds "compulsory mass medication".
only a few around, it must have seemed
of large aphid flies for the rich honey The campaign has so far been reason­
a godsend. Today in Britain we have
dew that they secrete. ably successful as less than 2 million out
nearly 12 million. In 30 years' time we
of nearly 50 million people in England
The agricultural societies out of which are told to expect three times as many.
and Wales receive fluoridated water.
our modern world has evolved have their The conditions it gives rise to are already
intolerable. They will then be night­ This success is apparently deplored
counterparts in those of the famous
marish to pedestrians who will be over­ by most doctors and dentists. Sir George
grain-harvesting ants of the genus Mes-
come by the noise and the fumes, and Godber, Chief Medical Officer, Depart­
sor, which meticulously collect millet or
also quite useless to motorists caught ment of Health, in his last annual report
wheat. They lay it out in the sun to dry,
up in endless traffic jams. referred to all opposition as "Misguided,
the outer husk being split by the soldiers,
quasi-scientific, and allegedly ethical".
which then store it in well-drained
chambers; or the even more scientific If this is the position of science in this
ants, Atta, which cultivate (Rhozite) country, then I suggest that the term
mushrooms that would normally grow to needs to be radically redefined. There
a gigantic size but which, by repeated are meant to be 17 million people with
cropping and replanting in carefully no teeth at all in Britain, almost one per­
fertilized plantations, are never allowed son out of three. This deplorable situ­
to grow beyond the requisite height. ation could be attributed to a number
of genetic and environmental factors.
The hunting and food-gathering
What it cannot be attributed to, however,
societies of the Australian Aborigines or
According to Your Environment the is a lack of fluoride in our drinking water.
the Bushmen have their counterpart in
average speed of a horse and buggy in We have created a pathological situa­
the carnivorous Stigmatomma Pallipes,
Manhattan in 1917 was 11 miles per tion, and rather than take the necessary
who track down underground game
hour, whereas today after man has measures to restore a healthy one—
which they kill with the aid of their
reached the moon, that of a car is barely which would probably involve a radical
powerful sting.
7 miles per hour. modification in our diet—we prefer to
Militarist societies such as the Assy­
There is indeed no defence against make use of a gimmick that may, to a
rians and the Spartans find their counter­
sheer numbers. Or, to be more precise, a certain extent, render this pathological
part in the blood-red slave-making
point must always be reached when a situation more tolerable. To do this,
ant, Formica sanguinea, whose assaults
further increment will bring about dimi­ however, will only perpetuate it.
on neighbouring nests for the purpose
of seizing larvae to be brought up as nishing and eventually negative returns.
slaves, involve veritable sieges with the No activity, however praiseworthy, is ex­
despatch of reconnaissance parties, fol­ empt from this inexorable law. Take
lowed by a perfect blockade of all pos­ bird-watching: Mr Peter Conder, Dir­
sible exits and a fierce direct onslaught ector of the Royal Society for the Pro­
via the most vulnerable approaches. tection of Birds, writes, in a recent num­
The decadent societies of the Ottoman ber of the Society's Journal Birds:
Sultanate and the Abbasid Caliphate "There is an excitement in seeing new
have their counterpart in those of the bird species . . . There is no harm in
slavemaker, Strogyalanthus Huberi, who wanting to widen our experience in this
is not only economically sustained by a way. But we can go too far. When 600
40
such an expansion was needed. But laws of nature. He therefore pays little-
Poetry and knowledge
science has, unfortunately, not only regard to his own intuitions, feelings and
The Royal Society has not admitted a
created a wonderful corpus of new impulses as a man in society. He appears
poet as a Fellow since Byron. From the
knowledge, but it has shaped the scienti­ unaware that the neglected side of his
18th century onwards our culture be­
fic intellectual who is so fused with this character influences his interpretation of
came so dominated by science that the
knowledge that he cannot perceive its the facts discovered by his instruments-
arts were slowly degraded to the status
limitations or the needs of a new age for of research. The poet, on the other hand,,
of entertainment, in the sense, at least,
new fields of understanding. Apt, for the accepts a discipline of the imagination
that they were no longer regarded as
most part, at sneering at everything that and a very severe discipline. Not only
adding to our knowledge of reality. I
is not strictly rational, the scientific in­ does he accept the discipline of the
recall being told of a colleague and ad­
tellectual little realises that he represents material with which he works, but he
mirer of Sir George Stapledon who, on
a reaction himself. accepts the discipline involved in enter­
reading that Sir George wrote poetry,
Artists (using this word generically to ing imaginatively into personality. In
was so painfully disillusioned that he
represent an outlook on life) have a this way he learns to interpret the
lost his respect for him. From that time
tendency to be passionate about beauty springs of action within the contempor­
he no longer trusted his judgment and
—which is also quality. Why is quality ary arena in terms of the knowledge at
regarded him as possessed of a frivolous
missing from our industrial products the individual's disposal in relation to
streak unworthy of a dedicated scientist.
and our food? Because the artist is never his character. This is knowledge: its dis­
A scientist of this sort never diverts his consulted. The artist exists in every pro­
attention from the strict and narrow path regard is imperilling our existence: for
fession : he is not just a painter or poet. we do not see what we do not look for.
of experimental investigation. Science is Doubtless there are some professors who
the inheritor of our Puritan tradition and What determines what we look for? I t
have the temperament of artists, but the
the pilgrim of science progresses along is not so much that we don't know what
scientific culture (which is, in effect, a
a path that bears a strange resemblance is missing from our planning of society,
theory of truth) oppresses it and the
to Bunyan's. Intolerant towards any as that we wantonly shut one of our
academic is embarrassed by his own
faith but his own, with a dogma about eyes, justifying our one-eyed attitude in
artistic impulses. In a society which
conclusive proof based on inductive rea­ terms of the need for conclusive proof
judges values in terms of costs of pro­
soning that corresponds to religious of the necessity of beauty or quality. It
duction, the artist must be severely ex­
salvation, the scientific intellectual re­ cluded from official bodies. His observa­ is as if we were to reckon the quality of
presents a new individual who is shaping tions and comments are diversionist and composers by the number of symphonies
our society in his own image. The unkind to sincere men dedicated to great they produced annually and the amount
imagination of this type is compressed social tasks. I n scientific circles it is now they spent on their ink and manuscript
by his scientific training and the assump­ tacitly agreed that poetry as an instru­ paper. That is certainly the way we
tions which he picks up from his ment of knowledge belongs to the pre- evaluate most of our agricultural pro­
teachers, often without being able to scientific age of magic and its place has ducts and we firmly deny that there is
state what they are. been taken by the disciplined imagina­ -any other evaluation possible—since
The proliferation of intellectuals of tion of the scientist. The ancient claim of beauty is in the eye of the beholder, etc.*
this kind represents science in decay: poets to add to our knowledge of the etc.
great creative scientists were never like nature of things is no longer taken ser­ And suppose beauty is in the eye of
this. Great cultural movements have iously. But if I mistake not, the whirligig the beholder. Power is in the eye of the
tended to decay as they expanded and of time is about to bring its revenge and microscope. Do we therefore say that
science is no exception. Contrary to the poet may return with a savage bang, one miscroscope is not better than an­
appearances, the great age of creative as we are more and more sickened by other for its particular work? Do we
science may be declining into an age of our own sordid affluence. cides on a massive scale. This man, as
technocracy. Within itself science is ex­ The poet recognises that knowledge is accuse microscopes of being "subjec­
periencing a tension between divergent limited by the nature of man himself— tive"? The artist is the judge of quality
and convergent trends. The intellectuals which implies that the more fully man but we reckon his judgment as less than
are breaking down its fundamental develops his personality, the more he a machine's.
creative unity into more and more separ­ knows and the better he can act. A I have amused myself trying to write
ate sciences, while the imaginative are society organised by scientists and aca­ some verses embodying this concept of
reaching out for links with the arts and demics tends to become sterile because the role of the poet in society.
religion in an attempt to understand the such men are not temperamentally The verses that follow are a mono­
great stream of life as a unity. This is accustomed to active planning and to logue in which an imaginary official of
the convergent movement. creative social visions. The Buchanans a Ministry of Agriculture—it could be
Stapledon once suggested that the are rare. A modern society should be any official of this kind in Western Eur­
Agricultural Research Council should integral, not overweighted by one type ope—is ruminating with his staff around
propose a grant for research into the re­ of intelligence. The Natural Environ­ him in a relaxed and intimate moment
lationship between poetry and agri­ ment Council is overweight with intel­ before a press conference in which the
culture—the whimsy of a delightful lect. Ministry have, let us say, to explain their
eccentric who was a scientist in spite of The intellectual believes he can disci­ decision to subsidise the use of pesti-
his fits of unruly fancy. In fact, his freer pline his intellect to become an imper­ is so often the case, comes from a farm­
imagination was trying to add new sonal instrument for observing facts ing background and is, in part, a tradi­
dimensions to biology at the time when which add up to conclusive proof of tional countryman. Possibly he was not
41
in line to inherit any of the family pro­ tory forces. As he never develops self- except that most of his colleagues and
perty, so he has chosen a university knowledge by training his feelings the people in society among whom he
career and followed the familiar path through art and philosophy, he remains mixes are rather feebler versions of him­
through academic distinction to a strictly scientific and administrative in self. Some of them lack his country
government appointment. Skilfully his interests. This results in a split self. background so are wholly unaware of
adapting himself to the needs of every His separated individualities are bridged the tension which his monologues, and
situation through which he passes, his by his ambitions. His views and deci­ unexpected moments of candour,
inner being is conditioned by contradic­ sions would seem cynical in the extreme relieve.

Scabby Apples
Uncle Harry munched a scabby apple, Food can be kept for the day of the resurrection
(He stores them in his office drawer) then winked: To greet the saints with a savour of baked beans.
"Tastes better," he said, "than those unblemished orbs But where, by then, will the tins have all been stacked?
Townspeople buy—naive perfectionists." Mountains of tins festooned with putrified labels,
Uncle Harry likes his monologues, Mighty plateaux moulded from kitchen waste,
Archly exposing to his city staff Shoals of tins floating in the seas,
The archaic countryman who underlies the senior bureaucrat. Pesticide cans of indestructible poisons
Killing the fish and drifting back to the rivers,
"Remember Fred—afterwards Lord Fred?— Sardines and ravioli, Russian salad,
(Salesman and politician in subtle blend) Paws and Kattomeat—with that, thank God,
We owe to him the cosmetic treatment of food, Let future Ministries cope, we can't prevent
Rouge on the meat, peroxide in the flour, Civilisation being engulfed by litter.
The butter dyed a cornfield's golden yellow— For, as the bishops say, we must take risks
The chemistry of a coquette's dressing table To feed the spawning millions overseas.
Used to create images of palatability. (Nice of the Church to bless our work for humanity,
Thanks to Fred's foresight, we are now assured Though starving souls don't even nibble our produce.
The worse food is, the better it appears. Can bishops expect to master economics,
Know factory farms develop to keep us viable?)
"Embalmed Egyptians have a long shelf life But rise to your feet and applaud when ecclesiastics
And gay exterior wrappings. The work, admit, Talk about ethics—look thoughtful and solemn:
Of antique technocrats. Roman emperors Publicly abjure your real motives
When they debased the coinage with an alloy And so disarm the sentimentalists
Used technology. To make the second rate Whose dangerous passions threaten our industry's future."
Look like the best—that's technology's job.
When all are equal how could we feed the people He threw the core of his apple into a basket
Unless we had that art? Fred was shrewd, Among the discarded memos and circulars,
Aware all classes must seem to eat the same. Then opened the drawer of his desk and picked out another.
So Fred sent for the chemists. 'Find out,' he said, "Quality, taste and health are the weaknesses
'How to maintain the show of quality Of factory farming methods. But why assume
Without the nutrients that engender it, Chemicals can't add to quality And why
So margarine, let's say, resembles butter.' Does no one say dieldrin's good for you?
You doubt if this is honest? So did I . Don't be defensive, go on the attack.
But everything new technology does is progress There isn't any proof to contradict you.
And that annuls existing moral codes. I'll make sure there isn't by the choice
Now there's a tip to help you to the top." Of scientists to sit on our committees:
Sticking to chemists and keeping ecologists out.
As Uncle Harry mused on his scabby apple, Taste, after all, is purely a personal matter.
A canny schoolboy gleam in chummy, ironic eyes, I like this apple: I judge it by my palate:
We waited to be briefed. A conference But not the housewife. She has been conditioned
Was pending, when government ambiguities To make her choice by eye. And so—
Would have to be defended. But Harry lingered, These apples aren't a selling proposition.
The man's two faces, so it seemed to us, We could, of course, test for nutritional factors,
Needed to converse, as in a dream. Checking for vitamins and amino acids,
But then there'd be an uproar from the cabinet.
"The vital bloom soon fades from the plucked fruit Food must be cheap: that's our traditional policy.
And fresh food stales before the cities' millions So be on the watch for questions on health and quality.
See it on their plates—trace elements, Treat them, like I do, as jocular, smoking room jokes.
Rare vitamins, perhaps, disintegrate, Be alert, above all, for lean and cranky women—
The appetising magic stolen away. Balfours, Carsons, Harrisons and their like—
But science can't yet prove it—our research You can tell them with practice before they open their mouths.
Wisely diverted from enigmas of quality. Call them, politely of course, hysterics and bigots,
Once harvested, life starts to decompose Though praising on every occasion their great integrity.
In the eternal cycle from seed to soil. You'll have the professions solidly behind you,
And so we've mummified the nation's larder, Except for the odd rebel who perhaps
Embalmed it, so to speak, with chemical skills Has read outside his field. But he's discounted.
Extending consumer's choice through every season, Nature, my friends, is how science describes i t :
The failures of nature redeemed by the genius of man. The laws of science are not to be questioned—
Until it happens, unexpectedly,
"Shops today are like the pyramids, Some genius shows they're wrong. But as for us,
Food sealed in little coffins known as tins, We safely may assume conclusive proof
(A glittering mosaic of invisible contents) Of anything unorthodox discredited."
Or dressed in virgin cellophane like bridesmaids
Or stuffed in cartons used as miniature hoardings— Uncle Harry rose and smiled at his apple.
Win a car by naming a crisp cornflake. "That's all today and thank you, gentlemen.
Thus progress leads us to the Supermarket— I know you'll see that Fred's great work's not hindered
The everlasting Eden of the High Street And multitudes don't starve for a chimera."
With produce independent of the seasons
Displayed to every eye in glamorous tombs Robert Waller
Of dyes and flavours and preservatives.
Reprinted from the Journal of the Soil Association.
42
has seen. . . . In absolute contrast to ancient he cannot possibly adapt, and the biosphere is
being rendered so instable by man's activities
Key book Every month a key book or paganism and Asia's religions (except, per­
as to bring about the disappearance of many
books in the field will be described and analysed haps, Zoroastrianism), (it) not only establish­
ed a dualism of man and nature but also in­ of his fellow species and even to threaten
in this column.
sisted that it is God's will that man exploits his own survival. Our dependence on the
nature for his proper ends." This view is engineering process is leading us up a cul-de-
Towards hope sac; many accept this, but believe that right
today held by Christians and non-Christians
THE SUBVERSIVE SCIENCE: Essays to­ alike, and "despite Copernicus, all the cosmos at the very last moment technology will magic
ward an Ecology of Man by Paul Shepard rotates around our little globe. Despite Dar­ a door and key out of thin air. The ecologists
and Daniel McKinley (Eds.). Houghton win, we are not, in our hearts, part of the represented in the Subversive Science would
Mifflin Company, Boston, 1969. U.K. price natural process. We are superior to nature probably prefer to liken the process to walk­
58s. . . . The fact that most people do not think of ing the plank and using rocket propulsion to
these attitudes as Christian is irrelevant. No speed the journey. No doubt some engineers
"Is ecology a phase of science of limited might agree with them, but undeterred would
interest and utility? Or, if taken seriously as new set of basic values has been accepted in
our society to displace those of Christianity. argue that it is only a matter of time before
an instrument for the long-run welfare of the sea is fashioned into a perfectly accept­
mankind, would it endanger the assumptions Hence we shall continue to have a worsening
ecologic crisis until we reject the Christian able environment for man.
and practices accepted by modern societies, The more we allow our environment to
whatever their doctrinal commitments?" To axiom that nature has no reason for existence
save to serve man." deteriorate, the more dependent must we be­
these questions from Paul Sears, the editors come on technical systems. Fond as we may
Paul Shepard and Daniel McKinley answer Our belief in the saving grace of technology,
and the purely materialistic cast we have be of looking down on primitive man and
No to the first, Yes to the second—hence the describing his life as one of "wresting a
title: the Subversive Science. given to progress, are both expressed in the
frenetic zeal with which we pursue more and precarious living from the soil," we must
To those accustomed to the modest, mea­ never forget how much more vulnerable we
sured development of young disciplines, (the better goods and services. And as we sur­
round ourselves with improved versions of are rendering ourselves. 200,000 people left
word ecology first appeared in the English stranded by a power failure in the London
language in 1873, and the truly holistic science every possible mechanical aid and comfort,
we feel betrayed when undiminished poverty, Underground this July may not be the Awful
of ecosystems ecology is very recent, the word Warning the doom merchants are looking for,
ecosystem being coined in 1935), such ques­ delinquency, crime, drug-addiction, and all
the other indications of social misery are but it does illustrate how silly we would be
tions may seem a little premature. Ecology to rely on a handful of mass-produced com­
has come a long way from being a mere brought to our attention. Sometimes we man­
age to comfort ourselves by concentrating our ponents for our food, air and water.
branch of biology (the study of the relation­
observations on the large numbers of decent This should help explain why ecosystems
ships between organisms and their environ­
honest citizens who express social dislocation ecologists (those ecologists who try to under­
ment) to being the basis of a philosophy with
in more acceptable ways like ulcers, cardio­ stand wholes rather than parts, who see the
the potential for changing world values.
vascular disease, a penchant for pep pills or world as a set of interrelated systems—and
That such values need to be changed we hence the limitations of studying it in terms
are left in no doubt. The very fact that we tranquillisers and the regular employment of
a psychiatrist. Nevertheless phrases like "sick of isolated units sanctified by the laboratory),
speak of Man and Nature (rather than man "challenge the public or private right to
and the rest of nature), and of man and the society" no longer sound strange or inapplic­
able; and the ludicrous pity of it all is that we pollute the environment, to systematically de­
animals (rather than man and the other stroy predatory animals, to spread chemical
animals), is sufficient indication that we have remain obsessively convinced that a cure will
be found in a more equitable distribution of pesticides indiscriminately, to meddle chemi­
succumbed to hubris. "Nature is usually syn­
artefacts, and in a yet more vigorous bending cally with food and water, to appropriate
onymous with either natural resources or
of the world about us to the immediate de­ without hindrance space and surface for tech­
scenery," writes Shepard, and only men are
mands of technological man. We prescribe, in nical and military ends; (why) they oppose
thought capable of "escape from predict­
the words of Shepard, "Culture, Security and the uninhibited growth of human populations,
ability, determinism, environmental control,
Escape," and this so nearly reflects our needs some forms of 'aid' to 'underdeveloped'
instincts and other mechanisms which 'impri­
that we are easily taken in. Instead of an peoples, the needless addition of radioactivity
son' other life." Shepard puts his finger on
organic culture grown from a dialogue be­ to the landscape, the extinction of species of
three important presumptions: "that nature
tween man and land, we accept art museums plants and animals, the domestication of all
is a power structure shaped after political
and annual folk-song competitions; rather wild places, large-scale manipulation of the
hierarchies; that man has a monopoly of im­
than the security of the small human group as atmosphere or the sea, and most other purely
mortal souls; and omnipotence will come
through technology." the functional unit of society, we ask for an engineering solutions to the problems of and
all-embracing welfare service and cheaper in­ intrusions into the organic world." (Paul
Such concepts form an intellectual back-
surance rates; as for escape—television and Shepard.)
cloth to those ill-defined but all-pervasive
the motor car have taken the place of the For a fuller understanding of these and
ones of Growth, Productivity and Progress.
wilderness, of leisure integrated with natural other issues which preoccupy ecologists, there
They are not new, as Lynn White demon­
encounter. is no better guide than the Subversive Science,
strates in a splendid essay on The Historical
Thus we apply engineering solutions to the nearest thing we have so far to a primer
Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis. "Especially in
fundamental biological problems. Man is of ecological thought. It is impossible to give
its Western form," he writes, "Christianity is
changing his environment at a speed at which an adequate impression of the many excellent
the most anthropocentric religion the world
43
essay which Shepard and McKinley have energy." Among the unlooked for conse­ the words of Charles Elton, 'an all sterilizing
brought together, but a brief look at three quences of this selection have been a quite force' obliterating all other life forms in his
of the most illuminating should indicate their unprecedented population explosion, "dissipa­ relentless and uncontrolled expansion into
depth and breadth. tion of non-renewable resources, . . . disrup­ their living space."
Frank E. Egler in Pesticides—in Our tion of natural cycles in the landscape, As the only alternative to this needless and
Ecosystem, written in 1964 two years after . . . signs of increasing tension upon the problematic growth, Sears proposes the
Silent Spring was published, examines the individual and the disintegration of value "steady state", one of the basic concepts of
concept of the ecosystem and the role of the systems, which, whatever their limitations, both the physical scientist and the ecologist—
scientific community in helping the rest of have always exerted a stabilizing effect on namely that "systems tend toward conditions
society make its decisions. He writes with re­ human societies." Sears wonders at our "be­ of minimum stress and least unbalance—that
ference to the proliferation of persistent lief in the possibility of and necessity for a is, toward equilibrium." Thus "as a phy­
biocides, and his words are still warm with perpetually expanding economy," at the sical goal we must seek to attain . . . an effi­
anger at the many scientists who received failure of economists to look to the long-term, cient dynamic equilibrium between man and
Rachel Carson's book in a timid silence tinc­ and at the absurd attempts by various planners his environment". To do so both Sears and
tured with unreasoned hostility. He renews to estimate "the maximum number of human
Professor Loren Eiseley's call for "an en­ Macinko agree with Shepard, White, and
beings that could possibly be kept alive on many of the other writers represented in this
lightened campaign not only against apathy earth, such estimates ranging from three to ten
but—what is worse—an apparently organized volume, that our entire system of values must
more times than the present population." Yet
stupidity in areas where that attitude is most be changed. Macinko suggests we begin by
only a very few bold prophets like Orwell,
unbecoming." Egler also reminds us of the first engaging in a conscious and continuous
Huxley, and Sir Charles Darwin the physicist,
plethora of scientists who believe that "once dialogue with each other on where we are
have troubled themselves over the quality of
they have published their research in a pro­ going and where we wish to go, and then "so
life under such conditions. He continues by
fessional journal, all the world will know of arrange (our) institutions as to make possible
contrasting the uninhibited development of
it". Widespread public ignorance of ecology, the latter". Secondly, we can only tackle un­
weapons and other means of human destruc­
the darker side of medicine, the bleak future planned expansion by accepting that "we can­
tion with our almost superstitious refusal to
of nuclear engineering, and so on, has been not long afford to indulge ecologically un­
engage in population control or to entertain
largely perpetuated by scientists reluctant to realistic economics" and that the basic prob­
the notion that "human happiness might well
raise a hornet's nest of alarmism and hysteria. lem we face today is "the survival of the
be possible under a far less wasteful and con­
No one could quarrel with their reluctance, species in a humane environment for the
sumptive economy." Sears concludes that
but a proper understanding of many vital "modern society seems incalculably rich in longest period possible". Thirdly, each
issues will be denied to all but a few, unless means, impoverished in ends." generation should "adopt as its goal the
scientists learn to share their doubts and fears halving of the growth rate experienced by its
Both Sears and George Macinko (in Land predecessor. In order that this end might be
with their fellows. Part of the blame, of Use and Urban Development) reject the
course, must be shared by the Press, who accomplished a vast educational job will be
assumptions that we cannot and should not
seem to have a pathological abhorrence of ifs, required". Fourthly, we must effect a
control our numbers. Macinko begins by ex­
buts and other qualifiers. But there are still "marked reduction of population growth
amining Doxiadis' concept of Ecumenopolis
too many scientists who put their consciences rates" if we are to hope for John Stuart
—the idea of a city spanning the entire habit­
into mothballs and retreat to the no-man's Mill's "stationary state, with endless time to
able portion of the earth. Doxiadis places the
land of academic detachment. contemplate and devise a steady, costless im­
achievement of Ecumenopolis at the earliest
Egler by no means belabours scientists, nor provement in the quality of life". (Harold
by the mid-21st century, at the latest by the
would his doing so be of any value. But he Barnett and Chandler Morse.)
beginning of the 22nd century when he ex­
does point out how alien ecosystems ecology Such are the immediate aims of the eco­
pects the total world population to stabilize
is to western scientific method: the scientist systems ecologist, the subversive scientist. He
at between 12 and 100 billion, with 30 billion
today is "taught to take apart, and study the asks for intelligent action, but cannot see it
considered most probable. The limiting factor
parts. He is taught to factor, to analyse. He occurring in today's ethical vacuum. Hope
will be resource availability, though Doxiadis
has methods to study the relationship of two does not explain why our grandchildren will return with new values, with a considered
factors (cause and effect); and there are should dutifully stop multiplying once they response to Aldo Leopold's question, when
mathematical methods for studying the effects have reached the limits of their resources, he wrote: "We of the industrial age boast
of several interacting factors. Quite simply, nor by what miracle such non-renewable re­ of our control over nature. Plant or animal,
however, the study of ecosystems is the study sources will remain available thereafter. star or atom, wind or river—there is no force
of wholes first, and parts later. The study of Macinko is justifiably scornful of Doxiadis' in earth or sky which we will not shortly
those wholes cannot start, cannot proceed, assumptions that current growth rates express harness to build 'the good life' for ourselves.
by methods traditionally acceptable to chem­ an economic norm, that they are desirable and But what is the good life? Is all this glut of
ists, physicists, and mathematicians, who, in that they cannot and should not be modified. power to be used for only bread-and-butter
turn, are likely to belittle concepts and "Current growth rates," says Macinko, "have ends? Man cannot live by bread, or Fords,
methods which in their own fields might be no precedent in the past, and more important­ alone. Are we too poor in purse or spirit to
'inexact', 'subjective' and not amenable to ly, they are incapable of extension into any apply some of it to keep the land pleasant to
statistical treatment. Even worse these wholes but the most immediate future". Macinko has see, and good to live in?"
are intrinsically changed by factorial analysis. no difficulty in demonstrating the naivety of Robert Allen
They are no longer wholes when so studied. Doxiadis' thesis, for "a population living at
Would you study the parts of an automobile the limit of resource availability is vulner­
in order to comprehend the functioning of the able to all perturbations in the resource Massed Doom
complete car on the highway and in traffic?" system. Any downward fluctuation in avail­
For his part, Paul B. Sears in The Steady able resources would cause untold hardship." THE ENVIRONMENTAL CRISIS, edited
State: Physical Law and Moral Choice asks The most optimistic predictions of available by Harold W. Helfrich Jr. Yale University
that the application of science "be guided, fossil fuels and high-grade minerals are Press. $1.95.
managed, controlled, according to ethical and hardly reassuring, and even though there are
aesthetic principles and in the light of our plenty of minerals in a ton of granite or a Ecologists tend to view the world with alarm.
most profound understanding." To date we cubic mile of sea water, Sears warns us that You might almost say this is their main dis­
have been highly selective in our application "the energy cost of reclamation" will be pro­ tinguishing feature. There is a danger that
of scientific knowledge but by no means have hibitive. Finally, writes Macinko, "and per­ the public will react against their predictions
we been guided by principles as noble as haps most important to a society with any of doom by dismissing them as unduly
Sears would like: for "science has been pretensions to civilization, it is necessary to alarmist. In individual cases they may be
applied in spectacular fashion to the elabora­ add that man is not the only sentient being on right. It may be that the pollution of inland
tion of consumers' goods, the reduction of earth and his ever-increasing numbers pose water will not bring the world to an end, nor
mortality rates, and the tapping of fossil the very real threat that he will become, in DDT topple our civilization. Perhaps the air
44
will remain breathable for a while longer work and for more information which would David Gates considers the possibilities of
and the ice age may be averted. Even the help avoid useless research. modifications of weather, for good or bad,
oceans may survive and if they do not, per­ Having defined the underlying causes, we and Georg Borgstrom writes on "The Har­
haps we will be able to learn to live without might then examine the problem itself. vest of the Seas", showing that at present
them. In each case an ecological prediction Clarence J. Glacken writes on the outdated huge catches of fish contribute nothing to the
may have been overstated by projecting for­ concept of man against nature. He takes a world food problem because they are sold in
wards an established trend. It is not so much broad view of the religious and philosophical the developed countries. It is doubtful
the individual predictions that are alarming history of the concept, from Genesis to Marx, whether fishing on this scale can continue for
as the total effect of so many predictions handling a wealth of material lightly, elegan­ long without exhausting stocks.
coming from so many quarters. I f one ecolo- tly and with force. It is ominous that the There is room for a section on solutions,
gist talks doom, ten ecologists talk Massed Chinese are now revising their traditional but the only article I would place in this
Doom, and it is terrifying. attitude to the environment, probably the category is Joseph L. Sax's "The Search for
Even then, there are a number of Massed stablest and sanest in the history of any civil­ Environmental Quality: The Role of the
Doom books these days, going back to Silent ization. The effect on China itself and the Courts". Professor Sax is a lawyer with an
Spring, the Doom Mother of them all. The world of the adoption of the Marxist idea of ecological outlook and he shows how, with­
advertising industry works on the doctrine of struggle and mastery of nature will be con­ out changing the existing legislation, the help
saying the same thing over and over again siderable. Ian L. McHarg also criticises the of the courts may be enlisted in the protection
until it becomes accepted. The theory has a western monotheistic religions which, in his of the environment.
distinguished history and advertising may view, justify the "bulldozer" mentality which The symposium was conceived and planned
Work. My fear is that it may work best for regards nature as a threat to Jehovah. Wil­ by Professors F. Herbert Bormann and Garth
those things we want to believe and that there liam A. Niering considers the plight of the K. Voigt, whose aims were to bring new
may be a quite different effect for unpleasant coastal wetlands which are threatened with vigour into the debate on the goals of society,
truths. Is it possible that the repetition of development. They are of great value ecolo­ to promote new studies and teaching on the
unpalatable facts generates a resistance, gically and often economically as well. Based interrelatedness of life and to bridge the in­
causes people to build walls to keep them on the potential harvest of shellfish and bait formation gap between those concerned with
out? May the doom books be preaching only worms, one acre in a managed estuary off the quality of life and those who manage the
to the converted and may their effect on them the coast of Maine has been valued at environment. The quality of the contributions
be subject to diminishing returns? With a bit 33,563 dollars, compared with 2,000 dollars is very high and provided the book is read
of work I think I could make my own doom for a good acre in upland Maine. Unman- the Professors will succeed in their aims. No
prediction out of that. aged, the estuarine acre would be worth doubt it will be read by the scientists, en­
The prophet who goes unheard may do one about half as much. The coastal areas are gineers and politicians to whom it is directed.
of three things: he can shut up and go home; subjected to heavy pressures since sixty per­ Yet it deserves a wider readership. At no
he can shout louder and, inevitably, more cent of Americans live in a band 250 miles point is it too technical for the general reader
hysterically; or he can muster his arguments wide along the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf who is not yet aware of the extent of the
with greater care, assemble more and better shorelines. Last in this section I would place trouble we are in. It is serious, thoughtful
facts and examples to back them, and try to LaMont C. Cole's summary of the ecolo­ and, on the whole, unemotional. It does not
speak more convincingly. The latest recruit gical effects of man's activities. He calls it overstate the case.
to the Massed Doom series opts for the third "Playing Russian Roulette with Biogeo- When the prophet is heard, what then?
alternative and the result is powerful, meas­ chemical Cycles" and points out that man has Prophesies may be self-fulfilling or self-can­
ured, and impressive. degraded his environment since the dawn of celling. If enough people are kept sufficiently
The Environmental Crisis is based on a civilization. It is modern industry and grow­ well informed of the dangers which threaten,
series of lectures organized by the Yale ing population which have accelerated an they may be averted. I f the ecologists, the
School of Forestry with funds from the Ford historical process. prophets of doom, can be made to utter self-
Foundation. It contains twelve essays which What is likely to be the result? Paul R. cancelling forecasts, their work will not have
cover more aspects of the problem than it is Ehrlich is well known for his lectures, been in vain. It is our best hope.
usual to find in such books. speeches, preaching and writing on the Michael Allaby
If I have a criticism it is that I would have population problem. Always witty, lively and
changed the order of the essays to provide a provocative, occasionally he can become a
more obvious pattern. Kenneth E. Boulding little shrill and his contribution to this book From Prehistory to Preservation
appears eleventh. I would place him first, not jars just a little. He considers the possibility
because of the quality of his contribution, of famine by 1975 and concludes that al­ THE VANISHING WILD LIFE OF
although it is witty and informed, but because though we may argue about the precise date, BRITAIN by Brian Vesey-FitzGerald. Mac-
he deals with economics and the fallacies in­ famine there will be. In contrast, James G. Gibbon &Kee. 160 pp. 36s.
herent in the concept of the Gross National Horsfall describes, one might almost say
Product. It seems to me that the economic eulogizes about, the green revolution which WILDLIFE PRESERVATION by Philip
assumptions on which our society is based has made it possible for five percent of the Street. MacGibbon & Kee. 150 pp. 30s.
are one of the root causes of the trouble and American population to feed the rest. This
that a satisfactory solution will necessitate a reduction in the agricultural labour force is Brian Vesey-FitzGerald in The Vanishing
radical revision of them. Professor Boulding necessary in developing countries to release Wild Life in Britain has written a well docu­
confirms this view. Second I would place resources and manpower for industrial de­ mented history of our wildlife, which began
Charles R. Ross, who takes the story a stage velopment. He describes some of the mistakes vanishing when Bronze Age man exterminated
further, into politics. Mr Ross is a lawyer that have been made in aid programmes but the mighty auroch, a big horned wild ox that
who has served under Presidents Kennedy places, in my view, too much faith in the survived as late as 1627 in Poland. The
and Johnson on the Federal Power Com­ highly responsive new cereal hybrids. In Romans brought sow thistles, cow parsley,
mission. He recalls instances in which en­ America itself there is the alarming possi­ and ground elder, the last regrettable intro­
vironmental damage has been avoided by bility that food production will not be able duction as a cure for gout, and exported our
accident as a result of federal government to keep up with population growth and that brown bears for gladiatorial shows as mon­
intervention in disputes over power sources. in its efforts to do so it will cause further keys are exported from India for medical
However, the motives were political and Mr environmental deterioration. He concludes research and vaccine production. Their roads
Ross regards the federal government as an that the developing world needs a green re­ and their villas altered our ecology more than
inadvertent advocate of environmental de­ volution but that if our descendants are to be their introduction of the pheasant but when
gradation. The third essay in this section bequeathed a full measure of life, "we should England's 500 years as their colony ended
would be Emilio Q. Daddario's on the al­ remember John Muir's words: 'Everybody (the longest period of colonialism suffered by
location of research funds. Mr Daddario calls needs beauty as well as bread, places to play any nation in history) the wolf, bear, beaver
for more effort on the part of scientists and and pray in which nature may heal and cheer and lynx population began to build up.
technologists to show the relevance of their and give strength to body and soul alike.' " We lost the beaver in the 16th Century,
45
when they were being trapped in Loch Ness, from organo-chlorine compounds when over too many caribou come through the winter
though by then they were rare, and our 5,000 birds were picked up dead on one farm they overgraze the lichen which cannot re­
clearest account of a thriving colony dates alone in the spring of 1960, and 1,300 foxes cover in time. The arrival of the rifle brought
from 1188, on the river Teifi in Wales, while were poisoned in East Anglia in the winter of stocks down to a mere 200,000 but they are
there were none in England, for they are 1959-60. He looks ahead to a not always rising again, because of the change over to
missing from the Domesday Book which gloomy future, with both foxes and hedge­ motor vehicles doing away with the need to
would have included them because of the hogs thriving in suburban life and an in­ shoot caribou for dog feeding. The musk-ox
value of their fur. The wolf vanished in crease of polecats, pine martins, badgers and too was nearly exterminated, but it is making
England with the wild boar in the 16th Cen­ wildcats in Forestry Commission plantations. a come-back as the most suitable stock for
tury, when crossbows became really effi­
It is unforgivable that a book of such Arctic pastures. There is now a "musk-ox
cient, but the last in Scotland was killed by a
quality should be without an index which bank" in Alaska where Professor Teal of
Macqueen in 1743.
reduces its value as a work of reference. Vermont University is ready to send out
The Enclosure Acts, of which about 4,000 Today, books not only cost more for fewer breeding stocks. The future may see an ex­
were passed between 1760 and 1844, brought pages than ever in publishing history, their
us the hedges that gave us our patchwork of pansion not of factory farming, but of game
publishers refuse to spend the few pages of cropping by those who know, understand,
fields. They produced a vast increase in bird
extra type on the indexes we have enjoyed and respect the wild life of the world.
life, and by providing shelter and good bur­
since the 17th Century. Mr Street raises hopes that Steller's giant
rowing spread both the rabbit, which was
Wildlife Preservation has an index which is sea cow may be still surviving, for a Russian
introduced in the reign of Henry I I , and the
extremely useful in a book that surveys the whaler reported six of them off a part of
brown rat, to pest proportions. The black rat
came with the returning Crusaders, bringing species that are in danger, and gives some unexplored Siberian coast. The Australian
the Black Death on its fleas, but the brown graphic accounts of recent exploits of pre­ dibbler, a tiny oppossum that feeds on nectar
one arrived about 1730. The scavenger of servation. "Operation Oryx" is discussed in Was rediscovered in 1967, and another, the
the cities was the kite and in 1540, William detail and the problems and methods of Burramys known only as a fossil was found
Turner who was our first "Peter Scott" des­ game conservation in Africa, including the in 1966, and the Queensland marsupial tiger,
cribed it as "wont to snatch the food out of recent idea that the best meat producers are like the Tasmanian thyacine of marsupial
childrens' hands in our cities and towns". the native grazing animals, are described. wolf may yet survive. "On balance" says Mr
The slow and tiring reloading kept game Very much more detail would be desirable, Street, " I think we must accept that there may
bags low, and in 1845 Squire Osbaldston shot not of the obvious which is familiar on film well be quite a number of animal species,
44 grouse in a single day and boasted of it and TV but of the ecology of the animal sanc­ some of considerable size, still to be dis­
for the rest of his life. When the central fire tuary and the practical solutions that have covered and made known to science". Let us
cartridge arrived it was possible to shoot been found to the many difficulties of re­ hope that the Loch Ness Monsters will be
driven game, and on August 30th 1888, Lord balancing Nature. treated better than our last beavers, for it is
Walsingham shot 1,070 with a well drilled For hundreds of years there was a balance better to have a still living and breeding
loader and skilled beaters. Mr Vesey-Fitz- between the caribou herds, and Indians and mystery than yet one more dodo or passenger
Gerald a one time editor of The Field brings Eskimos and the wolves and their food sup­ pigeon on the conscience of mankind.
his story up to the even greater slaughter plies, with lichen the limiting factor, for if Lawrence D. Hills

What the Canary


told the Miner
We all know how the canary served man honourably in the bad old days of coal mining. Many of us will also
recall that it was a relatively sudden and disastrous decline in breeding success among peregrine falcons that
warned us, back in the 1950's, about the build-up of the chlorinated hydrocarbon pesticides in the food-chain.
A study of wildlife is perhaps the best early warning system we've got about impending pollution dangers. Pro­
fessor Wynne-Edwards made this very point at a recent Royal Society symposium.
Any reader of The Ecologist, therefore, should also read ANIMALS, the international wildlife magazine. (In fact,
the editor of The Ecologist has himself been reading it since 1963.) We are seriously concerned with all aspects of
animal life—from conservation to ecology to animal behaviour; from bird-watching to butterfly-collecting (though
we don't encourage the latter these days).
With an advisory board that includes Sir Julian Huxley, Sir Solly Zuckerman, Professor Niko Tinbergen, Peter
Scott, James Fisher, David Attenborough, and Nicholas Guppy, ANIMALS appeals at every level of interest,
from university student and lecturer to armchair traveller and weekend naturalist.
Covering every kind of animal—mammal, bird, fish, insect—and illustrated with abundant colour photographs,
ANIMALS is family reading in the very best sense. It costs only 3.s 6d. a month from your newsagent, or £2 8s. Od.
a year by convenient postal subscription (overseas subscriptions £2 14s. 0d., except North America $9.00). Send
for your FREE sample copy today.

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I NAME I
ADDRESS

46
your environment magazine
is pleased to announce
an outstanding new feature

THINGS TO COME

What are the problems confronting mankind as we approach the year


2000 ? What are the threats to our survival, and what can we do to
avert them? your environment magazine seeks to bring some of the
world's keenest minds to bear on these crucial questions. It is appro­
priate that we begin this series with an essay by Sir Julian Huxley,
whose prophetic voice foretold our growing predicament long before
it caught the attention of today's media. Future contributors will
include: Peter Scott, C.B.E., D.S.C., Chairman of the World Wildlife
Fund; Professor Jean Dorst of the International Union for the Con­
servation of Nature, author of 'Before Nature Dies'; Desmond King-
Hele, F.R.S., leading authority on earth satellites, author of The End
of the Twentieth Century ?'; Dr. E. B. Worthington, Scientific Director
of the International Biological Programme; and other leaders of
thought and action.
T H E SHAPE O F THINGS T O C O M E begins in the Autumn 1970 issue of your
environment (Volume 1, No. 4), mailed to subscribers on 15 September. Also in this
issue: Ruth Harrison writes on factory farming; there is a special feature on water
resources, one of Britain's most urgent problems; and articles on waste reclamation,
defoliants, and supersonic transport. Regular features include Who'll Kill King Car?,
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47
18-21 September—Annual Conference—"The
five threats to the countryside"—at Nottingham
Coming events University. Charge £5.10.-£8.10. Information Classified Adverts
from the Council for the Protection of Rural
England, 4 Hobart Place, London, S.W.I. BRETON NEWS. A quarterly summary in
I - 9 September—International water conser­
English of the nationalist movement in
vancy exhibition—"World, water and we", at 19 September—Focus—"Conservation of red Brittany issued by the Breton Information
Jonkoping, Sweden. This is part of Swedish deer"—at Torridon, Wester Ross. Information Bureau. 10/- per annum from 9, Br Cnoc Sion,
"Earth week". Information from the Swedish from the National Trust for Scotland, 5 Baile Atha Cliath 9, Ireland.
Embassy, 29 Portland Place, London, W . l . Charlotte Square, Edinburgh, EH2 4DU. TATHATA CENTRE, Newent, GLOS. (Tel:
Newent 772). Zen-type Meditation Centre with
.3-9 September—International Congress of 21 September—Conference—' 'Conservation emphasis on sound ecological living. Send for
Biochemistry at Interlaken, Lucerne, Mon- and you"—at St. Anne's College, Oxford. brochure.
treux. Information from Mr. A. I . P. Henton, Information from Mrs. M . Stevens, Foxcombe
SUPERSONIC TRANSPORT would bring
7 Warwick Gourt, High Holborn, London, End, Boars Hill, Oxford. further environmental deterioration. This is
W.C.I. one pointless technological excess that can be
21 September—Meeting of Society of Foresters stopped. THE ANTI-CONCORDE PRO­
JECT is part of a world movement opposing
5 September—Open day at Gromford Meadow of Gt. Britain at the Forest of Dean, Wye all SST. Organiser: Richard Wiggs, 70 Lytton
nature reserve, Saxmundham, Suffolk. Infor­ Valley. Information from the County Secretary, Avenue, Letchworth, Hertfordshire. Tele­
mation from the Suffolk Trust for Nature C.P.R.E., Community House, College Green, phone: 046-26 2081.
Conservation, Estates Department, County Gloucester.
Hall, Ipswich, Suffolk.
27 September—Photographic Exhibition from 30 September-1 October—Lecture—"Wildlife
I I - 12 September—Conference—' 'Conservation the entries for the wildfowl competition at the conservation and the veterinary profession"—
in the Development of Northern Ireland"— Wildfowl Trust, Slimbridge. Information from at the Zoological Gardens, Regents' Park,
at Queen's University, Belfast. Information the Controller, Wildfowl Trust, Slimbridge, N.W.I. Information from the British Small
from Nature Reserves Committee, Room 341, Gloucestershire. Animal Veterinary Association, 101 Sternhold,
Parliament Buildings, Belfast, BT4 3SS. Avenue, Streatham Hill, London, S.W.2.
29 September—Symposium—"The measure­
16 September-14 October—Photographic Exhi­ ment of air pollutants in chimneys" at 30 September-2 October—National Conference
bition—"Man and Nature"—at City Museum, Leatherhead. Information from The Director, of the Institute of Building at Gleneagles,
Bristol. Information from the Nature Conser­ BCURA, Industrial Laboratories, Leatherhead, Auchterarder, Perthshire. Information from
vancy, 19 Belgrave Square, London, S.W.I. Surrey. this address.

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Name
The battle of the bans, by Lawrence
Signature D. Hills—the need for continued vigi­
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Title or position if appropriate . agricultural pesticides

Address.
Green revolution: genetic backlash—a
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the dangers of the Green Revolution
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L - resources
48
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affluentage and asks basic questions "The Shadow of Progress" is not a
about w h a t w e are doing and where w e film you should enjoy.
are going. But it's one you should see.
It's a comment on the generation
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cleaning up his o w n backyard. writing to Petroleum Films Bureau,
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