Ecology in the Twentieth Century:nA Historynby Anna BramwellnNew Haven: Yale University Press;n292 pp., $16.95nThis Incomperable Lande: A Booknof American Nature WritingnEdited by Thomas J. LyonnBoston: Houghton Mifflin;n495 pp., $29.95nSlow learners that we humans are,nonly recently have great numbers ofnus become aware of the tremendous,nseemingly insurmountable ecologicalncrises facing us. Some environmentalistsndate the earliest stirrings of thisnnow-widespread awareness of the naturalnworld and of our increasingly disastrousneffects upon it to 1962, whennRachel Carson’s Silent Spring drewninternational attention to the dangersnof pesticide spraying, especially of thenfearfully toxic DDT, on garden plotsnand fields throughout the world.nOthers date it to April 22, 1970, whennthe first Earth Day celebrations werenheld in the United States, WesternnEurope, and Japan. (In this countrynmore than twenty million people observednthe event.) By any reckoning,nwords like ecology, greenhouse effect,nand environment are relative newcomersnto the common tongue, as anynlexicographer will attest.nScientific specialists had such wordsnmuch earlier. The term ecology wasncoined by a German biologist, ErnstnHaeckel, in his monograph GenerellenGregory McNamee is senior editor atnthe University of Arizona Press, andnthe author of The Return of RichardnNixon, published recently bynHarbinger House.n32/CHRONICLESnOPINIONSnThe Preservation of the Worldnby Gregory McNameen”Accuse not nature, she hath done her part; Do thou but thine!”n— John MiltonnMorphologic (1866). From those arcanenorigins, the word spread intonthe scientific literature, and Haeckel’snOkologie became a naturalized citizennof the English language within a fewnyears of its birth. Like his Europeanncontemporaries, the now all-but-forgottennHaeckel sought to discover generalnlaws about the individual human’snphysical relationship with the naturalnworld, about the place of humankindnin a cosmos governed by unalterablenforces, just as Kari Marx and beforenhim Friedrich Hegel grappled to distillnthe universal laws of history.nThere is, of course, nothing newnunder the sun. A mere seven yearsnbefore Haeckel, in England, CharlesnDarwin set forth his own laws of naturenin a book that altered history. ThenOrigin of Species. Indeed, Darwinnmight be used to explain the history ofnecology. Just as species diverge in newnenvironments to form new species-^nthus reindeer in the Eurasian Arctic,nnncaribou in the American — so the scientificnecology of the European Enlightenmentnhas split into many “ecologies.”nIn modern Europe environmentalismnhas become a powerful politicalnforce, thanks in large measure tonthe parliamentary successes of thenGreen parties of Germany, England,nand Scandinavia. For most Greens,nHenry David Thoreau is an unknownnquantity; their guiding icon looks suspiciouslynmore like Kari Marx thannChief Seattle, with a> good slug of thenBritish biologist Sir James Lovelock,nauthor of the “Gaia hypothesis,” forngood measure. The Green program innmany European nations is a confusednmix of laissez-faire economics, antinuclearnagitprop, and a nostalgic hippienethic that makes it a natural magnetn, for aging New Leftists^who have innfact made many gains in cleaning upnthe Thames and the Danube, in makingnthe air over Rome and Athensnmore breathable than it has been innyears.nAnna Bramwell charts the origins ofnthe Greens in her inaptly titled Ecologynin the Twentieth Century. Bramwell’sngreatest success — an accidental one —nin her turgid study is to demonstratenhow wildly different modern Europeannenvironmentalism is from its Americanncounterpart. But by playing the factsnfast and loose the English historian hasndelivered an astonishingly bad book;nwhere it is possible to get those factsnwrong, she does. An example is hernannoying insistence that somewhere innthe world lies a country called “NorthnAmerica”; another is her use of thenacademic term “political ecology” forn”ecological politics.”nFor all that. Ecology in the TwentiethnCentury has its uses. Noting that “thenfusion of resource-scarcity economicsnwith holistic biology . . . gave forcen