Environmental ethics, volume II

Environmental ethics, volume II

332 aOOKREVIEWS Spitters, C.J.T., 1983. An alternative approach to the analysis of mixed cropping experiments. 1. Estimation of competition effects...

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332

aOOKREVIEWS

Spitters, C.J.T., 1983. An alternative approach to the analysis of mixed cropping experiments. 1. Estimation of competition effects. 2. Marketable yields. Neth. J. Agric. Sci., 31:1-11 and 143-155. Varlet-Grancher, C., Gosse, G., Chartier, M., Sinoquet, H., Bonhomme, R. and Allirand, J.M., 1989. Mise au point: rayonnement solaire absorb~ ou intercept~ par un couvert v~g~tal. Agronomie, 9: 419-439.

ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS

Environmental Ethics, Volume II. Raymond Bradley and Stephen Duguid (Editors), Institute for the Humanities, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, 1989.215 pp., price ISBN 0-86491-080-0. Both philosophical and pragmatic issues concerning H. sapiens' relationship with the ecosphere are explored in this well written and thoughtfully edited volume. The first series of essays are devoted to an examination of ecocentric (deep ecology) and homocentric (shallow ecology) approaches to the understanding of life on Earth. The resulting ethical postures and opinions expressed represent a wide range of positions ranging from philosophers to a former employee of a major oil company. Proponents of status quo "free enterprise" systems (capitalism) are pitted against both Marxists and ecocentrists and the causes of environmental degradation are variously linked to faulty worldviews, epistemologies, greed, and lack of foresight. The second series of essays explore pragmatic solutions and cover a range of issues ranging from the application of Canadian criminal law to environmental destruction to evaluations of a Swedish epidemiological study linking chlorophenols and phenoxy herbicides to cancer. Unlike many collections of essays on environmental ethics, a majority of the authors are well versed in the biological and ecological understandings which underpin contemporary scientific descriptions and, in the cases where such appreciation is seemingly lacking, the authors represent specific community values (legal and commercial ) or a political economic perspective. There are several essays which deserve wide readership both because of clarity in exposition and insightfulness. Alan Drengson's review of the philosophical separation of H. sapiens from the remainder of the ecosphere and his note that no effort will solve problems which are misunderstood set a framework in which the difference between ecocentric and homocentric positions can be appreciated, i.e. while humans are important, they are dependent upon environmental services beyond the species without which they would cease to exist. Thus, emphasis upon benefits to our own kind alone is, in the long term, not a sustainable philosophy either for ourselves or many other species. Homes Rolston's nicely crafted exploration of responsibilities to endangered species as opposed to responsibilities to individual members of species (an animal

BOOKREVIEWS

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rights position) notes that a species line across generations is a more fundamental living system of which individuals are merely parts. Consequently, the correct responsibility, in his opinion, is to maintain a form of life through time. One of the weaknesses in the positions of some contemporary ethicists is that there is no appreciation of duty to a collection, in Rolston's case, a species or, in the J. Stan Rowe essay, the Earth as a living system. In a consideration of crimes against Nature, Rowe notes that people are a lower level organization than the ecosphere of which they are a part. Thus, the ultimate human obligation is to the ecosphere and he calls for legal rights for "supraorganismic" entities. Mary Anne Warren links the concerns with individual creatures (animal rights position) with concerns for the total biosphere and suggests that the two positions are not necessarily incompatible. She suggests a ranking of"fights" among life forms. John Livingston wonders whether the "dreadful" has already happened - - that we are beyond the point of return - and if H. sapiens is mad. He questions the narrow philosophical basis of contemporary ecology (mired in the scientific ethos tied to methodological positivism, evolutionary historicism, and technocratic planning) and notes that the definition of the environmental crisis is definition of a definer and a reflection of that person's opinions. Livingston's analogy between the introduction of exotic species at the expense of native species (e.g. the rabbit in Australia and the starling in North America) and the introduction of Western industrial ideology ("anthropocentric religions," "experientially stultifying science," "philosophical chauvinism," and "instrumental rationality") suggests that ideology can be at least as damaging to the ecosphere as an introduced species which has no local predator. Willem H. Vanderburg, trained as an engineer, views current environmental circumstances in terms of a technical approach to life. In a world where all problems are seen as having a technical solution, it is likely that each technical solution will have consequences requiring further technical solutions. In such a circumstance, negative feedback systems are eliminated and the technical approach can be seen, according to Vanderburg, creating positive feedback loops resulting in instability. "Knowers" are separated from "doers" and regulation and action are not shared responsibilities. In two final essays, Edwin Levy and Ted Schrecker demonstrate that values ultimately determine environmental policy and, according to Schrecker, when environmental policy decisions are made in secret as they often are in Canada, the values upon which decisions are reached are not shared with the public. Consequently, democratic participation is negated. For those new to environmental ethics, this collection presents a surprisingly detailed introduction and breadth of coverage and, for those who have followed the arguments for some time, there are refreshing insights and points of departure.

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BOOK REVIEWS J.A. M O L E S

Neosynthesis Research Centre Box 9978 Berkeley, CA 94709 U.S.A.

CROP PROTECTION

Simulation and Systems Management in Crop Protection. R. Rabbinge, S.A. Ward and H.H. van Laar (Editors), Pudoc, Wageningen, The Netherlands, 1989, 434 pp., price Dfl. 125.00/US $71.00, ISBN 90-220-0899-1. This book is written as a series (Simulation Monographs 32) on computer simulation in agriculture and its supporting sciences. The advanced international course "Simulation and Systems Management in Crop Production", which was organized by the Foundation of Post Graduate Courses of the Agricultural University of Wageningen and held in Wageningen in 1983 and 1986, motivated the publication of this book. With such a background and the current situation in The Netherlands where agro-computerization has been promoted by the official policy, the editors state the basic philosophy of this book in the preface titled "Crop protection: technology or science?" which may be summarized as: In the modern high input farming practised in many parts of the Western world, disease or pest outbreaks are no longer disasters which must be accepted, but are now manageable and manipulable phenomena. More and more techniques with well-understood effects have been developed and are beginning to dominate the less well-understood methods of biological control. Crop protection is incorporated into a cropping system to manipulate the pathosystem of a crop, which may include host and parasite populations, and vectors and their mutual interactions in a way that prevents economic loss. The accent in crop protection research is also changing from the "scientific" to the "technological". Both types of research are not considered to be qualitatively different, but are considered as points on a convenient spectrum that is defined in terms of the objectives and expectations of the practitioners. Modern crop protection is a complicated affair in which risk, cost-effectiveness and environment must be considered. Approaches by systems analysis, modelling and simulation, which have been used successfully for many years in the field of engineering, can be used as intellectual tools to bring order to this bewildering complexity. This book is well organized by the six chapters which introduce the reader step by step to a deeper and more integrated understanding of the dynamic scope of crop protection management problems in theory and practice by using these intellectual tools. Pertinent exercises are presented in abundance with kind answers at the end of the book. Chapter 1, "Theory of Modelling