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Review of "Ecological Medicine"

By Kenny Ausubel (Editor)
Sierra Club Books, 2004
Review by Courtney Young on Oct 29th 2004
Ecological Medicine

The topics in this book are drawn largely from the annual Bioneers Conference. Kenny Ausubel, is the founder of the Bioneers, and author of the highly acclaimed book When Healing Becomes a Crime.  Here he has compiled very diverse, and in depth analysis' of ecological dilemmas facing us today.  Ecological medicine is based on the understanding that the health of the environment, and our health are inseparable.  With each new dialogue in the book we are introduced to a refreshingly different point of view; and although the situations discussed are serious, most of the speakers remain optimistic and hopeful that we can resolve these issues.

Ausubel separates this book into six sections containing dialogues titled, "Generations at Risk: Children's Health and the Environment", "Reversing the Cancer Epidemic", "Healing Nature and Modern Medicine", " Why I went to Jail to Protect my Daughter from Toxic Polluters", and many more equally interesting dialogues.  One subject of particular interest is the notion of the precautionary principle.

Carolyn Raffensperger has helped define and lead the ecological medicine movement.  She co-edited the book, Protecting Public Health and the Environment: Implementing the Precautionary Principle.  This principle is quite important to environmentalists and those interested in public health.  One of its main points is that people have a duty to take anticipatory action to prevent harm; secondly, the burden of proof for a new technology, process, activity, or chemical lies with the proponents not with the public.  In other words the polluter is responsible for taking care of any damage caused.  This enables society to hold someone accountable, and therefore forces industry to think more carefully about their proposed activities.  This is just one of the many intelligent approaches to resolving current environmental problems, and preventing future ones.

The speakers at the Bioneers Conference seek to mend the split that has occurred between conventional medicine and nature.  The speakers also recognize and see ways to make use of natures amazing ability to repair itself.  The information in this book is easy to understand, logical, and well thought out.  It leaves one with the sense that we can help repair the damage done to the planet and in turn improve human health.  This book is of relevance to everyone who shares concern for health and nature; it's not just for hippies.


© 2004 Courtney Young


Courtney Young lives on Long Island and is interested in pursuing a career in complementary medicine. 

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