Overview

As an antidote to the destructive culture of consumption dominating American life today, Scott Russell Sanders calls for a culture of conservation that allows us to savor and preserve the world, instead of devouring it. How might we shift to a more durable and responsible way of life? What changes in values and behavior will be required? Ranging geographically from southern Indiana to the Boundary Waters Wilderness and culturally from the Bible to billboards, Sanders extends the visions of Henry David Thoreau, ...

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A Conservationist Manifesto

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Overview

As an antidote to the destructive culture of consumption dominating American life today, Scott Russell Sanders calls for a culture of conservation that allows us to savor and preserve the world, instead of devouring it. How might we shift to a more durable and responsible way of life? What changes in values and behavior will be required? Ranging geographically from southern Indiana to the Boundary Waters Wilderness and culturally from the Bible to billboards, Sanders extends the visions of Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, and Rachel Carson to our own day. A Conservationist Manifesto shows the crucial relevance of a conservation ethic at a time of mounting concern about global climate change, depletion of natural resources, extinction of species, and the economic inequities between rich and poor nations. The important message of this powerful book is that conservation is not simply a personal virtue but a public one.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

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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From the Publisher
"A seasoned professor and writer of fiction and non-fiction has given us the benefit of his journey in the worlds of literature, natural history, and religious philosophy. But A Conservationist Manifesto is more than that. Scott Russell Sanders's elegant writing reminds us once again that it is above all, through style that power defers to reason." —Wes Jackson, President, The Land Institute

"A Conservationist Manifesto is a rich book and like a rich wine or rich dessert, it is meant to be savored. Sanders sees beyond the mass destruction of consumerism and prophetically calls us to the redemptive work of conserving creation and connecting deeply with our neighbors and the places in which we live." —Englewood Review of Books

"This is a beautiful, right-minded, and reinforcing book for all who would be conservationists.... Scott Sanders gives us one of the most graceful tellings of our plight, with many examples of people protecting or restoring what counts.... We've never been more keenly in need of his loving manual for conserving what he calls 'the basic grammar of life.'" —Orion Magazine

ForeWord

"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.... [His] eloquent book is a must-read for anyone committed to taking care of the natural world and passing it along to future generations." —ForeWord

Spirituality & Practice

"[Sanders] writes beautiful prose and never fails to stir our souls and imaginations.... In this awesome new book... Sanders outlines the practical, ecological, and ethical grounds for a conservation ethic." —Spirituality & Practice

Orion Magazine

"This is a beautiful, right-minded, and reinforcing book for all who would be conservationists.... Scott Sanders gives us one of the most graceful tellings of our plight, with many examples of people protecting or restoring what counts.... We've never been more keenly in need of his loving manual for conserving what he calls 'the basic grammar of life.'" —Orion Magazine

Indiana Living Green

"Sanders' style is full of the imagery and poetic prose of Aldo Leopold, the philosophic wanderings of Henry David Thoreau, and includes Wendell Berry’s vital sense of place. A Conservationist Manifesto is sure to find its way on those treasured lists of must reads." —Indiana Living Green

Englewood Review of Books

"A Conservationist Manifesto is a rich book and like a rich wine or rich dessert, it is meant to be savored. Sanders sees beyond the mass destruction of consumerism and prophetically calls us to the redemptive work of conserving creation and connecting deeply with our neighbors and the places in which we live." —Englewood Review of Books

Audubon

"In a world that focuses relentlessly on consumer culture, it's refreshing to read Scott Russell Sanders's plea for 'a new vision of the good life' in A Conservationist Manifesto." —Audubon

The Bloomsbury Review

"There are others writing about sustaining the planet and ourselves who should be read.... But there is something more to A Conservanist Manifesto. Sanders wirtes on a literary level that places him with Henry David Thoreau, Aldo Leopold, Wallace Stegner, Annie Dillard, and Wendell Berry—to name a few." —The Bloomsbury Review

Abstracts of Public Administration

"As an antidote to the destructive culture of consumption dominating American life today, this book calls for a culture of conservation that allows us to savor and preserve the world instead of devouring it.... [Its] main message is that conservation is not simply a personal virtue but a public one." —Abstracts of Public Administration, Development, and Environment

Wes Jackson

"A seasoned professor and writer of fiction and non-fiction has given us the benefit of his journey in the worlds of literature, natural history, and religious philosophy. But A Conservationist Manifesto is more than that. Scott Russell Sanders's elegant writing reminds us once again that it is above all, through style that power defers to reason." —Wes Jackson, President, The Land Institute

Will Rogers

"Sanders’s A Conservationist Manifesto is a book to be savored—for its language, its stories, its sense of place, and for how it reminds us of the profound relationships with nature and each other that can inspire us to change how we live on this planet.... A must read for all of us who are wrestling with the future of conservation and searching for how to express the values that will take us to a greener and more sustainable future" —Will Rogers, President, The Trust for Public Land

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253002853
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 3/20/2009
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,140,151
  • File size: 490 KB

Meet the Author

Scott Russell Sanders, Distinguished Professor of English at Indiana University Bloomington, is the author of 20 books of fiction and nonfiction, including Writing from the Center (IUP, 1995), Hunting for Hope, and A Private History of Awe. Sanders is winner of the Lannan Literary Award, John Burroughs Essay Award for Natural History, AWP Award in Creative Nonfiction, and the 2009 Mark Twain Award. He lives in Bloomington, Indiana.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Part One: Caring for Earth
Building Arks
Common Wealth
A Few Earthy Words
Two Stones
The Warehouse and the Wilderness
Part Two: Caring for Our Home Ground
The Geography of Somewhere
Hometown
On Loan from the Sundance Sea
Big Trees, Still Water, Tall Grass
Limberlost
Part Three: Caring for Generations to Come
Wilderness as a Sabbath for the Land
Simplicity and Sanity
Stillness
A Conservationist Manifesto
For the Children
Words of Thanks
Further Reading
Notes

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