Reviews for Conservationist Manifesto


Booklist Reviews 2009 April #1
"How should we act in response to alarming environmental havoc? As with every great endeavor, such as the abolition of slavery, what s needed is a declaration of values and intent. A manifesto. Sanders, a proven voice of reason and clarity, offers exactly such a document in the hope of shaping an effective green movement. But first he has some stories to share, terms to define, and fresh perspectives to establish. Writing lucidly and stirringly from his home base in Indiana, Sanders views preserving wilderness as a Sabbath in space instead of in time. People who practice an "ethic of restraint" are ark builders because their simpler ways of living are "vessels" holding the wisdom we need to survive the "rising flood" of environmental concerns. Sanders writes crisply about what it really means to call a place home; reminds us of our "common wealth," the living world; and decries "endless consumption." Generosity of spirit and love of life underpin Sanders 40-point blueprint for ecological health."

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ForeWord Magazine Reviews 2009 March/April
Much like Thoreau, John Muir, Rachel Carson, Mary Austin, and Marjory Stoneman Douglas before him, Scott Russell Sanders knows dearly the intimate ways in which humans are connected to the land. Like his forbears, he marvels at the beauties of the rivers, lakes, woods, and savors the sights and sounds of the wild creatures that make their homes in these wild places. Like his forbears, Sanders also mourns the loss of wild places and understands that modern culture's consumption and waste of natural resources is ruinous for the earth and all its creatures.In this beautifully poetic set of meditations on conservation, Sanders issues a clarion call for reversing society's present path of ecological devastation and offers reflections on ways that individuals and society might provide better stewardship of the earth now and for future generations to come. Sanders asks, "how might we shift to a more durable and responsible way of life? What models do we have for a culture of conservation? What changes in values and behavior would be required to bring it about?" As he travels from his home in southern Indiana, where he teaches at Indiana University Bloomington, to Mount St. Helen's volcano and Minnesota's Boundary Waters Wilderness, he attempts to answer these questions and to map the practical, ecological, and ethical grounds for a conservation ethic. With the advent of global warming, the poisoning of our lakes and streams by acid rains, and the looming shortages of fresh water, Sanders urges society to think in creative ways about reversing such destruction and embracing means of conserving what resources that still remain. At the center of Sanders' book is his "conservationist manifesto," a document of forty declarations that aims to call culture to the excesses of rampant consumerism and waste and to call individuals to band together to act for the good of their home ground and the future of their planet. The first declaration acknowledges that "the work of conservation is inspired by wonder, gratitude, reason, and love." Sanders connects social justice with conservation in his manifesto: "A concern for justice also requires us to provide for everyone, regardless of income or race, the opportunity for contact with healthy land." In his concluding declaration, Sanders appropriately points to the need for humans to understand and embrace the interconnectedness of human life and natural life. "Conservation arises from the perennial human desire to dwell in harmony with our neighbors---those that creep and fly, those that swim and soar, those that sway on roots, as well as those that walk about on two legs." Sanders' eloquent book is a must-read for anyone committed to taking care of the natural world and passing it along to future generations. (April) ©2009 ForeWord Magazine. All Rights Reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2009 February #1

In these predictable but frequently insightful essays, Sanders (Writing from the Center) muses on how to care for the Earth, local communities and future generations. He condemns the mainstream "American way of life" as an "infantile dream of endless consumption, endless novelty, and endless play" and, calling for a "dream worthy of grownups," explores ways to realize this dream, such as his own decision to stay put in one place and discover that his ambition was not to "make a good career but to make a good life" and remain attentive to nature and the present moment. Sanders offers a 40-point "Conservationist Manifesto," which, in its thoroughness, thoughtfulness and inclusion of environmental justice issues would serve the environmentalist community well. But the most original and intriguing ideas in this book are Sanders's thoughts about words and their meanings, as when he suggests that for a season we make explicit the meaning of "consumers" by replacing it with "devourers," or that wilderness is a Sabbath of space rather than time, and we need both kinds of Sabbath "because Earth could use a respite from our demands." (Apr.)

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