A Contract with the Earth

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Overview

Focusing the environmental debate on the principle of common commitment, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and eminent conservationist Terry L. Maple present A Contract with the Earth. They declare a need for bipartisan environmentalism—a new era of environmental stewardship with principles that they believe most Americans will share.

While acknowledging that liberals and conservatives do not see eye to eye on many issues, Gingrich and Maple argue successfully that ...

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A Contract with the Earth

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Overview

Focusing the environmental debate on the principle of common commitment, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and eminent conservationist Terry L. Maple present A Contract with the Earth. They declare a need for bipartisan environmentalism—a new era of environmental stewardship with principles that they believe most Americans will share.

While acknowledging that liberals and conservatives do not see eye to eye on many issues, Gingrich and Maple argue successfully that environmental stewardship is a mainstream value that transcends partisan politics. Their thoughtful approaches to our environmental challenges are based on three main premises: environmental leadership is integral to America's role in the world, technologically savvy environmental entrepreneurs can and should be the cornerstone of environmental solutions, and cooperation and incentives must be dramatically increased to achieve workable and broadly supported environmental solutions.

Gingrich and Maple believe that most people—regardless of how they categorize themselves politically—are weary of the legal and political conflicts that prevent individuals and communities from realizing the benefits of environmental conservation. The foundation of the book—a ten-point contract with the earth—promotes ingenuity over rhetoric as the way forward.

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Editorial Reviews

Juliet Eilperin
"A Contract with the Earth is an earnest call to deal with worldwide environmental problems, from disappearing species to ever-expanding roadside landfills. Its central proposals include: "demand objectivity" in science, "educate and inspire" citizens to foster a greater appreciation of nature and "encourage green enterprise." This is no revolutionary manifesto. It's Gingrich as Smokey the Bear, rather than as the provocateur he used to play on the national stage."
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

Efforts to cleanse the world's air and water and to put a brake on calamitous climate change aren't exclusive to "one political philosophy," Gingrich and Maple argue in this probusiness call for proenvironment action by politicians, corporations and individual Americans. Though the title echoes Gingrich's hard-right 1994 Contract with America, this more conciliatory contract reflects the former academic's penchant for bullet-point sloganeering, with its "ten commitments" call for politicians to abandon adversarial politics and for businessmen and conservationists to form "compatible partnerships." The authors alternately brand their approach mainstream and entrepreneurial environmentalism-mainstream because it rejects alarmist projections based on what they perceive as activist science and hysterical journalism, and entrepreneurial because they reject the notion that free enterprise and a cleaner world are opposing forces. The authors' concern about the future of the Earth is certainly sincere, but their prescription for action breaks shallow ground. (Nov.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

Including a foreword by noted scientist E.O. Wilson, former U.S. Speaker of the House Gingrich (Winning the Future: A 21st Century Contract with America) and Maple (president & CEO, Palm Beach Zoo; conservation & behavior, Georgia Inst. of Technology) call for bipartisan environmental stewardship and propose ten commitments to ensure its success. Gingrich and Maple express that climate change and the destruction of ecosystems demand attention; but they believe that market-driven, entrepreneurial environmentalism, in which the government participates as a partner offering incentives, not requiring mandates, is the appropriate response. The authors attempt to broaden their base of support by defining "mainstream environmentalists" to include even those who may not subscribe to their green conservatism. Gingrich and Maple occasionally move too quickly from one point to another, citing interesting examples of private-public partnerships, some of which warrant greater consideration. Footnotes or endnotes would have been helpful. Still, this serves as a useful reminder that the debate about environmental policy is far from over. Recommended for all libraries. [Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger's Break Through: From the Death of Environmentalism to the Politics of Possibility, LJ8/07, also stresses market-driven solutions to climate change.-Ed.]
—Robin K. Dillow

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801887802
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 9/24/2007
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.34 (w) x 8.14 (h) x 0.89 (d)

Meet the Author

Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1979 to 1999, serving four years as Speaker of the House starting in 1995. A 2012 presidential candidate, he was named Time magazine's 1995 Man of the Year.

Terry L. Maple is president and CEO of the Palm Beach Zoo and a professor of conservation and behavior at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Callista Gingrich is president of the Gingrich Foundation, a charitable nonprofit corporation, and the voice for the audiobook Rediscovering God in America.

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Table of Contents


Foreword   Edward O. Wilson     ix
Preface   Newt Gingrich     xi
Acknowledgments     xvii
Are You a Mainstream Environmentalist?     xxi
Framing the Contract     1
A Contract with the Earth     9
A Matter of Respect     19
Missed Opportunities     37
Partnering for the Earth     61
Entrepreneurial Environmentalism     85
Environmental Philanthropy     107
Renewing the Natural World     125
Leading the Way to a Better World     153
From Many, One     171
Epilogue     185
Sources and Suggested Reading     199
Index     209
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 15, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    engaging treatise

    This is an interesting look at merging American conservative values with environmentalism. Using the concept of the Contract with America that ironically failed to have any of it points survive, but helped bring the conservatives to power making it a successful manifesto; Newt Gingrich and Terry L. Maple provide ten points to save the environment, but not at the cost of the economy. The key unlike the 1994 tenet is reconciliation with all sides moving past rhetoric into doing the right thing politically while encouraging "compatible partnerships" between business and environmentalists. However some of the hug the other side tone is lost when the authors condemn the ¿Inconvenient Truth¿ crowd as being the drivel of activist scientists (taken from the mantra of activist judges as if society would accept as professionals, inactive judges or inactive scientists). Well written and interesting as the writers make a concerned case for saving the planet without destroying business interests, CONTRACT WITH EARTH is an engaging treatise at how the economy and the environment can coexist in harmony, but the book lacks deep fecundity as Newt Gingrich and Terry L. Maple never drill past the surface mantle.<BR/><BR/>Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2007

    Environmentalism: The Devil Is in the Details

    In ¿A Contract with the Earth,¿ Newt Gingrich and Terry Maple correctly plead for a bipartisan approach to environmentalism. Gingrich and Maple also rightly emphasize the importance of objectivity, education, green entrepreneurship, partnership of government at all levels with organizations and businesses, the need for a long-term vision, and U.S. world leadership in tackling environmental ills. Unfortunately, ¿A Contract with the Earth¿ is ultimately of uneven quality. To their credit, Gingrich and Maple convincingly show what green entrepreneurship and public-private partnerships can achieve in reducing the human footprint on nature in some particular cases. Chapters 5 and 6 will be of particular interest to readers looking for some success stories such as Costa Rica, Walt Disney, Shell Oil, and Geoplasma. Gingrich and Maple also review with clarity in chapter 7 what some philanthropists such as the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Richard Branson¿s Virgin Fuels are working on to address some environmental ills. Furthermore, Gingrich and Maple remind readers that open societies are more receptive to environmental and social reform. Finally, Gingrich and Maple call in chapter 9 for political leaders of substance who exhibit some of the characteristics that Jim Collins has identified in his best-seller ¿Good to Great.¿ Unfortunately, Gingrich and Maple seem at times to over-simplify the challenges at hand. Here follow a few examples for illustration purposes only: 1. Gingrich and Maple note that in some respects, the population problem (in the third world) is solving itself, with birth rates falling as nations develop healthy economies with stable, predictable futures. Both authors also point out that the U.S. can handle overpopulation most effectively by targeting foreign aides for emerging democracies with a stable rule of law and growing economies. Unfortunately, Gingrich and Maple fail to mention that U.S. support for family planning abroad began to decline in 1996. The U.S. is not alone in this area. As Jonathon Porritt, Chair, U.K. Sustainable Development Commission, rightly states in BBC-sponsored Planet Earth, good family planning is all about empowering women and girls with literacy and better healthcare to bring birth rates down. Furthermore, both authors omit to mention that the current U.S. administration has banned funding to groups that provides or promotes abortion. Unlike the other regions of the world, Africa, especially sub-Saharan Africa, is experiencing fast and ultimately unsustainable population growth as John May of the World Bank and Jean-Pierre Guengant of IRD (French Research Institute for Development) recently observed. 2. Gingrich and Maple lament that the American Government, both Congress and the President, is not doing enough in addressing environmental challenges. However, many Americans are wary of pushing the American Government too far, too fast, because of the high costs involved in solving environmental problems. The new, imperfect compromise over CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards illustrates this point very well. 3. Gingrich and Maple also plead for a plan to significantly and rapidly reduce U.S. dependence on (foreign) oil by considering a serious switch from fossils fuels to renewable alternatives. Since 1974, all U.S. presidents have called for energy independence, but all have failed in this endeavor. Despite the rhetoric, U.S. reliance on foreign oil increased from 36.1% in 1974 to 65.5% in 2006 according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Americans use more oil per person than any other country in the world, with the possible exception of some oil-exporting states. 2/3 of all oil consumed in the U.S. is used for powering U.S. cars and trucks according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The new changes to CAFE standards will probably not significantly alter this picture, especially when one considers the existing v

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2007

    a worthwhile publication

    'a contract with the earth' has alot of documentation about cleaning up the envioroment and the best things that I like was this book does not have anything about the hype that puts out films and books that scientists shoot down like certain famous people. Iam glad that newt gingrich has put out so much research that has some exellent material that showed a great way to clean up the enviroment I hope this book will show the 2008 candidates some great hope with our nation to see some truth about the enviroment. great gift idea for a friend or family member or soldier serving over seas.as an added bonus there are some great web sites that will offer wonderful research and helpful material.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2007

    Gingrich´s Contract with the Earth is a Death Sentence for the Planet

    Gingrich sites a market-driven environmentalism and incentitive driven controls. Has Gingrich ever heard of China? Frankly, the entire new China is market- driven by the west. Look at the outcome. Does the author truly believe business will voluntarily yield the call for a cleaner world. No, it costs money. Ask the Olympians going to China if they have enough air to breathe? Gingrich is as reluctant to accept the fact, as big business, that we have an environmental crisis to deal with now. His nature, like most human nature, will ignore the dangers until it is too late.

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    Posted March 20, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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