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4 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars stuff and nonsense, 8 Jun 2012
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This review is from: The Story of Stuff: How Our Obsession with Stuff is Trashing the Planet, Our Communities, and Our Health - and a Vision for Change: How Our Problem ... and Our Health - and What to Do About It (Paperback)
Don't expect any science or engineering in this green manual. The book by Leonard is a diatribe against modern technology, which fails miserably in its flawed and mistaken arguments. She thinks that some materials are toxic and useless, like PVC and aluminium, but yet these materials are helping to make better products which reduce energy consumption. Where would aircraft be without aluminium air frames? And PVC makes lighter and corrosion-resistant doors and windows, as well as water pipes and guttering for houses all across the planet. Both materials are widely recycled, so destroying one arm of Ms Leonard's polemic. To bolster her argument, she makes numerous outrageous claims, such as the statement that "Plastics are ..universally recognised...as a problem..". Not true: they are widely used and praised for the contributions they make to better, lighter and more corrosion-resistant products. She then continues her diatribe against PVC in particular. It is especially toxic apparently, because it contains chlorine. Although chlorine is a highly toxic gas, it is harmless in PVC since it is chemically combined with other elements. Such childish arguments continue throughout this book, and one wonders if the author ever studied science beyond nursery school. At some points, her text verges on hysteria, such as the claims that phthalate plasticizers are poisoning us all, a claim which has yet to be confirmed by any public health authority anywhere, despite years of campaigning by green activists. Such people would have us return to nature, but with no hope whatsoever of progress. It is a black and dooom-laden philosophy which most people reject for its pessimism. If you really want to help solve the problems of the world, then study a materials science or technology text for a better route to wisdom.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 5 Apr 2013 01:13:29 BDT
amantedofado says:
It's good to see someone applying scientific and rational arguments to this issue, but I think you have missed the point of her arguments by about one million miles. The damage being done to rivers and oceans by plastics (shopping bags etc.) is enormous, world-wide, and almost impossible to solve. The destruction of the natural environment is undeniable, and its consequences are extremely damaging. The elevation of consumerism to a quasi-religious need or a psychological drive has taken over all developed countries and is now overtaking China, India, the Gulf states, and elsewhere. Planned and perceived obselescence combined with over-advertising really does put a strain on resources. Environmental pollution is causing climate change and killing people through avoidable illnesses. Why would any sane person, even if they can point to minor flaws in her specifics, want to give one star to a book that actually draws attention to threats that will harm humanity unless addressed. Criticism is fair, but wilful ignorance like yours worries me greatly. Dr. Denis MacEoin

Posted on 14 Mar 2014 16:37:05 GMT
Blind Brian says:
The issue with aluminium is that the process of its production is very polluting (i.e. it is toxic). It is also a material used a great deal in the construction of air frames; aircraft are powered by petroleum, and we have no alternative fuel which is not harmful to the environment. Similarly pvc is not biodegradable, which is why it is so valuable to manufacturers. For this reason it hangs around, and causes problems well beyond its useful life, so that clearing up the mess it creates will impose problems on future generations. Chlorine IS toxic, and is toxic when being used in the manufacture of pvc. It is released into the atmosphere in volume, and this is harmful to life.

The issue that anyone ought to recognise with the 'new products' of science (or more accurately, technology) is that modern manufacturers opt for their use before the consequences of their use can be realised. This in itself is an unscientific practice, and past societies learnt a great deal about the properties of materials before putting them to widespread use; at the same time they were incapable of producing stuff to the vast extent that modern industries are. The consequences are there to be seen by everyone in the world including, I suspect, even Dr. P.R.Lewis.

Posted on 25 Jun 2014 12:47:35 BDT
Last edited by the author on 25 Jun 2014 12:48:10 BDT
R Schier says:
Your total disregard for the declining status of the planet renders your monikers of "Dr." and "Truth Hound" as laughable oxymorons. Your head is so buried in details, you cannot see beyond the forest, and as a result, you miss the entire point.

Posted on 25 Jun 2014 12:55:18 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 25 Jun 2014 12:55:48 BDT]

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jun 2014 13:35:36 BDT
It is perhaps typical of critics who have no technical qualifications at all to shout insults from sheer ignorance. It speaks volumes about your own character: have you ever heard of replies which plead reasonable argument? Shouting insults impresses the mob but no-one else.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Jul 2014 12:50:51 BDT
[Deleted by Amazon on 16 Jul 2014 13:04:55 BDT]
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