Environment: The Trouble with Watt

The lines are drawn for an epic ecological battle

Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.

—Samuel Johnson

Searching for sources, environmentalists customarily quote writers like Henry David Thoreau or John Muir. But these days the heads of organizations like the Audubon and Wilderness societies are resorting more and more to Dr. Johnson.

Why? The answer is that though environmentalists are not about to be hanged, the conservation programs they know and love seem in grave danger of being done in...

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