(Reprinted with permission from Kliatt Starred Reviews, written by Katherine E. Gillen.)

When violence erupted in Seattle in November 1999. many news watchers wondered about its cause, wondered what was it about a group many Americans had never even heard of that could cause such protest. The World Trade Organization is an active participant in the ongoing shrinking of our planet. What seems only a potentially beneficial erasure of national borders to increase economic stability is a thin cover over a myriad of complex issues. These issues are not just economic; they truly involve everything from clear cutting of forests in British Colombia to the spread of AIDS to the loss of species diversity due to mammoth agribusiness. Plant and animal species travel where they are not native; populations explode and are decimated, and millions of dollars are made by a few. Ecological repercussions of all this have not been considered as they should be, and even the treaties and laws that are in place are not enforced properly. Nongovernmental organizations have sprung up to fill the void where governments have looked away.

Hilary French is vice president of the Worldwatch Institute, which produces the annual State of the World reports. In her book Vanishing Borders: Protecting the Planet in the Age of Globalization, she has created a significant wake-up call to a world too busy to stop and think what all this trade really means. It is fact-filled, easy to read, and quietly alarming. It’s also potent enough to make everyone wish that airlines would stop issuing frequent flyer miles.

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