Stewart Brand’s for you; and that nu-
clear energy is histori-
argues. Crops modi-
fied to grow without
Environmental cally associated with being tilled prevent
d e p ro l i f e r a t i o n e f - carbon in the soil
Heresies forts — not nuclear from being released
weapons programs. in the atmosphere. So
By Aaron M. Cohen Brand makes nuclear called Bt crops (engi-
energy the leading neered with a gene
A maverick environmental- component of his from the Bacillus thur-
green energy plan and ingiensis bacterium)
ist advocates saving the presents a strong case reduce pesticide use.
that it is economical Other technologies re-
planet via nuclear power, and safe. (The argu- duce the amount of
mass urbanization, geneti- m e n t s h e p re s e n t s water or fertilizer
against greater invest- needed to grow crops.
cally engineered food, and ment in wind and so- Still others may help
lar technology are far Whole Earth Discipline: An reduce methane emit-
geoengineering. less persuasive, how- Ecopragmatist Manifesto by ted from the animals
Stewart Brand. Viking. 2009.
ever). He also endorses that consume them
316 pages. $25.95.
Futurist and ecologist Stewart the proposition, (including humans).
Brand believes that the Green move- quickly gaining accep- The main hindrance
ment must move swiftly and deci- tance, that booming megacities are comes from the private sector in the
sively to embrace technological solu- facilitating an increasingly beneficial form of corporate licensing practices
tions to climate change — several of arrangement between humans and and intellectual property law, which
which many leading environmental- the environment. “Urban density al- can prevent farmers in the develop-
ists have spent their careers cam- lows half of humanity to live on 2.8 ing world from taking full advantage
paigning against — including nuclear percent of the land,” he writes. “Soon of agricultural aid. Taking his cue
energy, genetic modification, mass that will be 80 percent of humanity from the open-source software move-
urbanization, and geoengineering. on 3 percent of the land. Consider ment that he’s been a strong advo-
Brand, founder of The Whole Earth just the infrastructure efficiencies.” cate for over the years, Brand pushes
Catalog, and co-founder of The Long Brand goes on to declare urban for what he calls “open-source bio-
Now Foundation and The WELL, slums, home to more than half of city tech,” which he believes is very
has never had any trepidation about dwellers, to be the new sustainable much a possibility. If environmental
seeking out controversial solutions communities. Intentionally or not, scientists develop non-patent-pro-
or endorsing emerging technologies. “squatter cities are Green,” he says. tected seeds with ecology and inter-
As he sees it, climate change is the For example, urban farming and national aid in mind, they may be
single largest threat looming over rooftop agricul