Only One Earth: The Care and Maintenance of a Small Planet

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An unofficial report commissioned by the Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, prepared with the assistance of a 152-member committee of corresponding consultants in 58 countries.

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About the author (1972)

British-born Barbara Ward was educated at the Sorbonne and Oxford, where she took first-class honors in philosophy, politics, and economics. In 1939 she joined the staff of the Economist, becoming foreign editor the following year. For four years, beginning in 1946, she served as a governor of the British Broadcasting Company. In the years that followed she was Carnegie Fellow and Visiting Scholar at Harvard, Albert Schweitzer Professor at Columbia, and a member of the Pontifical Commission of Justice and Peace. An outstanding authority on world political, social, and economic issues, Barbara Ward has written many books for the general reader. In her Five Ideas That Change the World (1959) the ideas are nationalism, industrialism, colonialism, communism, and internationalism. In another work, India and the West (1961), she defined the urgency of India's desperate economic requirements and outlined a specific program for their accomplishment. Of it Edward Weeks wrote in the Atlantic: "Ward's new book . . . is in many respects the most important she has ever written. The qualities which she brings to her writing---her gift for historical analysis, her explanation of difficult economic problems, and her reasonable faith in the initiative of the free world---were never more needed." The Rich Nations and the Poor Nations (1962), which President Lyndon Johnson remarked "excites and inspires me" and Adlai Stevenson found "exceedingly important," was described in the New York Times Book Review by Eric F. Goldman as "wondrously lucid, richly informed and trenchantly argued, tough-minded but never failing to assume that intelligence and will can move human society forward.

Rene Dubos was a famous microbiologist, as well as a writer, educator, and environmentalist. Born and educated in France, Dubos came to the United States in 1924 to join the research staff of Rutgers University. In 1927 he was invited to join the staff of Rockefeller University, where he spent practically his entire career. At Rockefeller University, Dubos pioneered research in antibiotics for commercial use during the 1940s. In 1939 he discovered tyrothricin, the first commercially produced antibiotic. As he grew older, his interests shifted from microbiology to humanistic and social-environmental issues. He devoted much of his writing to environmental problems and their impact on human beings. Dubos served as president of several professional organizations in the sciences, wrote 20 books, and was awarded more than a score of prizes by the scientific community. As an emeritus professor at Rockefeller University he continued to write until his death.

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