W. Simon (Avon)
by John Gabree
of sludge and fecal matter closed Long Island's southern beaches a couple
of summers ago, it came home to most of us how far the deterioration
of the coastal environment had progressed. Even though the state tried
to blame a passing ship (or confluence of ships) and Long Island's villages
tried to blame each other, it was clear almost from the beginning that
the true source of the problem was the use by nearly everyone in New
York and New Jersey of the coastal waters as a giant toilet.
the sludge retreated after a few weeks, Ann Simon demonstrates in her
survey of coastal ecology that it will certainly return and, if something
is not done soon, close the beaches permanently. This an outcome no
one wants, yet very little is being done to prevent it. According to
Simon, local and piecemeal efforts are being directed at what is a global
and systemic problem. "The Thin Edge," subtitled "Coast
and Man in Crisis," offers the kind of overview that has been needed.
Stepping back from this fish kill or that clam-bed closing, she explains
both the magnitude of the danger and the measures that need to be taken
to overcome it. She argues that the delicate balance of the sea's ecology
may soon be tipped irreversibly toward its destruction.
is no dewey-eyed liberal. Her passionate essay is one of the most effective
efforts of its kind since Rachel Carson's "The Silent Spring."
She is not talking here about saving snail darters or diving ducks or
lobsters. The endangered species she is worried about is us. (1979)
book are available through Amazon:
Thin Edge by Anne W. Simon
Silent Spring by Rachel Carson