by Noam Chomsky and Laray Polk
Seven Stories Press
“There are two problems for our species’ survival—nuclear war and environmental catastrophe," says Noam Chomsky in this new book on the two existential threats of our time and their points of intersection since World War II.
While a nuclear strike would require action, environmental catastrophe is partially defined by willful inaction in response to human-induced climate change. Denial of the facts is only half the equation. Other contributing factors include extreme techniques for the extraction of remaining carbon deposits, the elimination of agricultural land for bio-fuel, the construction of dams, and the destruction of forests that are crucial for carbon sequestration.
On the subject of current nuclear tensions, Chomsky revisits the long-established option of a nuclear-weapon-free zone (NWFZ) in the Middle East, a proposal set in motion through a joint Egyptian-Iranian General Assembly resolution in 1974.
Intended as a warning, Nuclear War and Environmental Catastrophe is also a reminder that talking about the unspeakable can still be done with humor, wit and indomitable spirit.
Noam Chomsky was born in Philadelphia in 1928. He studied at the University of Pennsylvania where he received his PhD in linguistics in 1955. He joined the staff at MIT and was appointed Institute Professor in 1976, gaining international renown for his contributions to the understanding of language acquisition. He became famous as a radical intellectual with the publication of his book, Manufacturing Consent, in 1988. Chomsky has written and lectured widely on linguistics, philosophy, intellectual history, contemporary issues, international affairs and US foreign policy. His views have profoundly influenced both scientific and political thought around the world.
Laray Polk was born in Durant, Oklahoma and now lives in Dallas, Texas. She is a multimedia artist and writer. Her articles and investigative reports have appeared in the Dallas Morning News, D Magazine, and In These Times. As a 2009 grant recipient from The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute, she produced stories on the political entanglements and compromised science behind the establishment of a radioactive waste disposal site in Texas, situated in close proximity to the Ogallala Aquifer.