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Pawlick, Thomas.

Vancouver, Douglas & McIntyre, c1984. 206pp. paper, $12.95, ISBN 0-88894-442-4. CIP

Grades 10 and up
Reviewed by John D. Crawford

Volume 13 Number 2
1985 March

The singer of one Oscar-winning tune rejoiced in the fact that raindrops kept falling on his head. Mr. Pawlick suggests that such a situation could be a cause for alarm.

A Killing Rain is written in a racy, yet attractive style, which helps to emphasize the urgency of the problem. It describes the many ways in which acid rain damages the environment, including several often unconsidered or felt to be unimportant. The book concentrates on the situation in North America, the area for which the best data is available. However, it is easy for the reader to extrapolate so as to perceive the problem on a global scale. The overall message is a simple one: start making changes in the energy system of the world now.

It is difficult to believe that any intelligent person, with an objective view, would not accept either the premise, or to a great extent the solution, offered in this book. Any criticism would only be a question of timing or the balancing of priorities. For many people, a period of recession demands that efforts to stimulate the economy must be given priority over environmental concerns. Recently, the United States government carried out studies to assist in the location of a dump site for that most dangerous of all industrial hazards, nuclear waste. Residents in several of the locations under consideration were in favour of having the dump site in their area as it would create employment.

An important feature of this book is the inclusion of individual anecdotes. Many of the problems facing the world are seen at a level which does not relate easily to individuals. It is difficult for the lay person to understand the effects of such a problem as acid rain without reference to individual cases. The author of A Killing Rain succeeds in making the problem relevant to the reader.

This is a valuable contribution to environmental literature. The problems of acid rain provide the focus for the book, yet the solutions put forward by Mr. Pawlick seem to have more general application. The emphasis upon decentralization and the importance attached to the attitudes and actions of individuals presents a philosophy that seems to owe something to Schumacher. In rejecting the patching up of a bureaucratic system, which allowed the problem of acid rain to develop, the author echoes a general dissatisfaction that governments have failed to carry out their responsibilities adequately.

Highly recommended for libraries at the secondary school level and above.

John D. Crawford, Frank Hobbs E.S., Victoria, B.C.
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