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John Meier
Speaking for the Earth
John Meier, author
THE OFFICIAL BOOK OF THE FIRST EARTH DAY written by U.S. Candidate, Howard Hughes aide, and world-renowned environmentalist John Meier. It was written in 1970 for the first Earth Day when Meier was at the forefront of the environmental movement, including having resided on President Richard Nixon’s Task Force on Resources and Environment and receiving international acclaim from Countries for his work on the environment. Earth Day is April 22 and is now celebrated by over 193 countries and 1 billion people worldwide. Meier has re-released the book for the Anniversaries of Earth Day as he finds it of the utmost importance for the environmental movement today to look back and see what has and hasn’t been done with environmental issues that Meier brought up in 1970, including many issues that are just now getting the recognition they deserve such as the warming of the earth, which the book deals with well before the word global warming was coined, safety in mines which recently has been headline news, dealing with wastes that could be recycled, even suggesting the use of electric cars which only now has finally begun to be implemented. Many of the hottest news topics today are around the environment, and having a look back over 50 years shows how many of the “new” environmental solutions that governments have been proposing aren’t actually new and that many of the problems had been brought up many years ago with still little to nothing having been done about them.
A testament to how far we have and haven’t come, Meier's Speaking for the Earth first was written as the official book for the first Earth Day, in 1970, as a call for action decrying the ways that humanity had “disfigured” the land and “scorched” the Earth, and declaring the years to follow as the “environmental decade.” Now, over a half century later, Meier has re-printed the original text as a reminder of how much work remains to be done—and how prescient he was. Speaking for the Earth speaks from the dawn of the movement, with no commentary on later events outside of a brief introduction, but it's clear throughout that Meier’s arguments, predictions, and exhortations were correct—and still urgent. Adept at navigating government circles, Meier crafted the book to break through the language of bureaucracy while still acknowledging the practical realities of industry and regulation.

With direct, inviting prose and much persuasive power, Meier breaks down key issues regarding conservation as he saw them in 1970. He begins with the dangers of chemical weapons and insecticides, despite the claims of military and industrial spokesmen who insisted that neither posed a threat to the public. Smog is another focus, and while that has improved in the U.S. since original publication, air pollution remains a global health risk. (From his 50-years-back vantage point, he predicts electric cars as a potential solution.) Industrial waste, building on lands that should be protected, and the dangers of coal and radiation are also highlighted in potent, clarifying language.

Especially resonant is his argument that, without a public groundswell, the mechanics of American federalism ensure that these life-or-death matters will be in the hands of the states, which—then and now—are especially vulnerable to influential lobbyists who argue that conservation will come at a price that's too high for local industry. Meier's book remains a powerful (and tragically timeless) call to action for citizen conservations to make their voices heard. Meier emphasizes that this is more important now than ever.

Takeaway: Urgent call for conservation and a citizen’s movement, from the first Earth Day.

Comparable Titles: Francois Jarrige and Thomas Le Roux’s The Contamination of the Earth, Benjamin Kline’s First Along the River.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A-