As someone who grew up on the shores of Lake Erie, although quite polluted, and often smelly & with dead fish on the shore, & although many clAs someone who grew up on the shores of Lake Erie, although quite polluted, and often smelly & with dead fish on the shore, & although many classmates were afraid to go into the water, I always loved the lake. It has a kind of intoxicating attraction for me, full of wonder and mystery. I have some of my best childhood memories on the shores of Lake Erie.
This book is great because it set the record straight. I had heard by rumor that the Great Lakes had dropped feet in lake level, on their way to slowly emptying, & I got scared. I assumed that Great Lakes water policy had been shaped by industry & short-term economic gain. It's so refreshing to realize that I was wrong. There is great policy out there protecting the lakes, and politicians that are fighting really hard to make sure that each drop of Great Lakes water stays within that lake.
No diversions from the Great Lakes Basin is the rule, with minimal exceptions. No exports from the lake are allowed in containers larger than 5.7 gallons (altho this doesn't stop bottled water from being exported). All consumptive uses w/in the Great Lakes Basin are closely monitored. All Great Lakes states are required to have water conservation plans. All of this as of 2008 when all of the Great Lakes states, along w/ Pres. Bush had finished signing the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Basin Water Resources Compact....more
Wonderful analysis comparing people's perceptions on the link between people's health & their environment through time. Early medicine out West heWonderful analysis comparing people's perceptions on the link between people's health & their environment through time. Early medicine out West heavily linked disease w/ a person's surroundings, including temperature, elevation, precipitation, winds, & moisture. People were very in tune w/ their bodies & used their health as a proxy for the health of their environment, and vice versa. As Germ Theory arose, doctors depended much more on bacteria & pathogens, and labelled the older methods as scientific. Now, as we are being commonly & chronically poisoned by our environment, via the foods we eat, the contaminants in our air, pollutants in our water, whatever, we realize once again that our health is intricately connected to our relationship w/ the environment around us.
What I did not like was that the chapters tended to repeat concepts throughout, and points were restated too frequently. The book definitely could have been organized better to keep similar topics in the same location. Also, although the focus on California & specifically the Central Valley was useful, and definitely well done, a broader summary of the U.S. as a whole would have been nice.
My favorite quote was at the very end: "I am not advocating a return to medical topography or the miasma theory, yet it is worth questioning why so much of contemporary biomedicine is divorced from any study of the large environment and why individual solutions to disease such as improving one's diet are quickly institutionalized while other, more difficult social and environmental questions are not even discussed. "Ultimately we cannot escape the environments in which we live, but it should be possible to foster a science & regulatory structure that strives to make visible the density of that connection." p. 214. ...more
Excellent analysis. Compelling and easy to read. It's fascinating the parallels that link w/ the meat industry today, BPA, pharmaceuticals in our wateExcellent analysis. Compelling and easy to read. It's fascinating the parallels that link w/ the meat industry today, BPA, pharmaceuticals in our water supply, and a desire for an easy way out w/ pre-term babies, instead of facing the real issues.
The framework was set up over 1/2 a century ago, w/ the formation of the FDA and the early cases & attempts to regulate industry. The FDA was weak then, and it either wasn't willing or wasn't able to stand up to industry. Now that the precursors are well into place, and industry has been able to get its way for so long, as well as perfect its methods for resisting regulation, it makes the job really hard on regulators now to change the paradigm into one of precaution....more
I finally read it. It was much better than I thought it would be, not dry at all, very well written and fascinating. It's also much more relevant to tI finally read it. It was much better than I thought it would be, not dry at all, very well written and fascinating. It's also much more relevant to today than I thought it would be. Our soils, waters, wildlife, and people are still being polluted by environmental contaminants, although today the bigger issue is contaminants of emerging concern, like endocrine disruptors (of which one is DDT), and pharmaceuticals in our water supplies. I was also surprised at how much then and now our efforts are being fought against at every single step by industry, lobbyists, and a government unwilling to stand up for what's right and make the necessary changes. Her book did a lot to change that in the sixties & seventies, starting the environmental movement....more
This was a great presentation on how people can be manipulated by maps. It is a cautionary book to inform the reader of sources of misinformation &This was a great presentation on how people can be manipulated by maps. It is a cautionary book to inform the reader of sources of misinformation & error so the reader can then take the map with a grain of salt and not as "truth". The book dealt with issues of power. Issues covered included map manipulations used in advertising, development, national security, the military, and politics. For me, the most interesting parts related to national-level maps such as the USGS topographic maps, and how the US and all countries choose how they want to represent their country deliberately even to its own citizens by what they choose to include and more importantly leave out of its own maps. It almost becomes a social or environmental justice issue, that these maps hide the countries problems, like poverty, crime, racial/social injustices, environmental degradation. We can alter our image of the country with what we choose to present as the U.S. ...more
This book followed American history under the premise that everything that happened in the history of our country was intricately linked to our enviroThis book followed American history under the premise that everything that happened in the history of our country was intricately linked to our environment and happened because of the natural resources that we've been able to extract & utilize, especially in regards to energy. Unlike other countries with less natural wealth, the U.S. is very lucky to have the Great Plains as our breadbasket, our original forests as our early source of fuel, our rivers to dam for hydroelectric, and the vast reserves of natural gas & coal that lie under the ground. We have been able to exploit these, which enabled the U.S. to become the world power it is today. This didn't happen just because of politics, or military strength, it happened because of the natural resources and energy that we've been able to use.
Now, as we're running out of our own energy and we have to look elsewhere around the globe, the U.S. military is assuming a role of energy security around the globe to protect the assets (oil) that we so desperately need to keep our country going. Fascinating read that put American history into a very new light....more
An in-depth review of how maps have been used in the past to analyze disease incidence, spread, & causation, and to promote a better understandingAn in-depth review of how maps have been used in the past to analyze disease incidence, spread, & causation, and to promote a better understanding of disease ecology. It was organized chronologically, which worked really well, because it was clear how the field evolved over time, and how each consequent piece of work built on that of its predecessors. The dozens of maps were brilliant to analyze & examine, and it was really interesting to see the field evolving from its beginnings centuries ago to modern GIS tools.
It is through our choice as humans to globalize the world that so many of our current medical problems and the need for current medical mapping have arisen....more