The Last Refuge: Patriotism, Politics, and the Environment in an Age of Terror / Edition 1

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In The Last Refuge, writer David Orr takes a hard-hitting and fearless look at the current state of American values and politics. This set of thirteen essays examines everything from the corrosive influence of money, to our mounting ecological and social problems, to the misuse of terrorism as a political issue, and to the failure of the U.S. constitution to protect our grandchildren.
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Editorial Reviews

Toledo Blade

"A tightly reasoned, excellently written book that should be lethally effective in helping readers who aren't experts understand the contours of the crisis."
Publishers Weekly
In 13 essays, Orr, professor of environmental studies and politics at Oberlin, critiques what he says is the current Bush administration's lack of environmental policy and calls for a more engaged citizenry. Orr sets the scene by relating a 2001 meeting with noncommittal White House staffers in which he and other leading environmentalists presented an environmental status report, entitled "Common Ground/Common Futures." "The news was delivered," he writes. "But no one was home." The present state of environmental affairs, he says, reflects "an unconstrained managerial and well-armed plutocracy intent on global plunder." Orr advocates a coherent environmental agenda, vigorous public information, restored political leadership and increased emphasis on environmental study in higher education. Specific essays focus on particular figures in the debate: one exposes Bjorn Lomberg, a favorite author of Dick Cheney's, as "scientifically dishonest," while another praises writer Wendell Berry's commitment to agrarian ideals. Perhaps the most informative essay in the collection, entitled "Leverage," examines the meager patchwork of U.S. environmental regulations and the nation's libertarian tendencies. Orr's politics will be familiar to all left-wing readers. There is little originality in his criticisms of the right and its attitude toward natural resources and energy efficiency. Orr's writing is steeped in sometimes utopian antimodern longings for small family farms, ecologically sound urban planning, increased public transportation and ecological diversity. While it's not hard to imagine how these essays might energize a readership committed to Orr's brand of politics, their rhetoric is too repetitive and ponderously moralizing to win wider audiences for their ideas. (Apr. 6) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781559635288
  • Publisher: Island Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2004
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 172
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 The Education of Power 9
2 Walking North on a Southbound Train 21
3 Rewriting the Ten Commandments 31
4 The Events of 9/11: A View from the Margin 40
5 The Labors of Sisyphus 47
6 Four Challenges of Sustainability 55
7 Leverage 66
8 A Literature of Redemption 74
9 Diversity 80
10 The Uses of Prophecy 89
11 The Constitution of Nature 111
12 Imagine a World: The Education of Our Leaders 127
13 Postscript: The Hour before Dawn 132
App Common Ground/Common Future 139
Notes 151
Selected Bibliography 159
Index 165
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