My Green Manifesto: Down the Charles River in Pursuit of a New Environmentalism

My Green Manifesto: Down the Charles River in Pursuit of a New Environmentalism

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by David Gessner
     
 

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Inspired by a rough-and-tumble journey across country and down river, David Gessner makes the case for a new environmentalism. In a frank, funny, and incisive call to arms that spans from the Cape Wind Project to the Monkey Wrench Gang, he considers why we do or do not fight to protect and restore wilderness, and reminds us why it’s time to join the fray.
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Overview

Inspired by a rough-and-tumble journey across country and down river, David Gessner makes the case for a new environmentalism. In a frank, funny, and incisive call to arms that spans from the Cape Wind Project to the Monkey Wrench Gang, he considers why we do or do not fight to protect and restore wilderness, and reminds us why it’s time to join the fray.

Though environmental awareness is on the rise, our march toward ecological collapse continues. What was once a movement based primarily on land preservation, endangered species, and policy reform is now a fractured mess of back-to-the-landers, capitalist “green lifestyle” vendors, technology worshipers, and countless special interest groups.

Known as an environmental advocate “reminiscent of Edward Abbey” (Library Journal), Gessner rebels against this fragmented environmentalism and holier-than-thou posturing. He also suggests that global problems, though real, are disempowering. While introducing us to lovable, stubborn Dan Driscoll, “a regular guy fighting a local fight for a limited wilderness,” he argues instead for a movement focused on local issues and grounded in a more basic, more holistic—and ultimately more effective—defense of home.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A wonderfully readable book. Gessner’s attempts to define the role of the new environmental warrior, both in terms of idealism and political practicality, are heartfelt and informed. [My Green Manifesto] is brave enough and intelligent enough to embrace technology as well as art, pure ideology as well as compromise, hope as well as despair, depression and paralysis as well as valor and joy." —Boston Globe

"Raw and honest . . . there's a lilt in his jig that many will find invigorating." —Los Angeles Times

"Funny and inspiring . . . Gessner believes that committing to a lifelong environmental fight is an act of personal fulfillment. [My Green Manifesto] is an easy, pleasurable read, with an environmental message that . . . there is still transcendence to be found in the 'limited wild' of our own communities. So get out there, enjoy it, and fight for it before it's gone because, at least according to Gessner, this is the key to a better life." —Publishers Weekly (STARRED REVIEW)

“David Gessner is a major American writer in possession of the most hard-headed, pragmatic, passionate, and eloquent style of thinking and writing on what it means to be a human on Earth today.” —Brad Watson, author of The Heaven of Mercury

“Gessner has chopped down the strangling beanstalk of environmentalism, and has merrily, adroitly, hungrily planted something new in its place. His book comes just in time: After talking with environmental experts and reading the direst of scientific journal articles, I was starting to feel the mind-numbing grip of paralysis. But before you put a bullet through your head for the plight of Mother Earth, you should read this book. Gessner is not saying anybody is off the hook, but he offers a more effective way of relating to nature—no, in fact, of being nature.” —Craig Childs, author of The Animal Dialogues

“David Gessner re-invents the environmental manifesto for people who hate the word environmental as much as they hate the word manifesto. Make no mistake—he can write about a blue heron or an osprey with the best of them—but if you're looking for mystical rhapsodies to Mother Earth, go elsewhere. Gessner is convinced that re-connecting ourselves with nature doesn't start with finger-wagging; it starts with fun.” —Ginger Strand, author of Inventing Niagara

“An engaging book with a serious message.” —Kirkus Reviews

"Earthy and funny, frank and pragmatic. Gessner asserts that nature is necessary for our well-being, that 'the most important wilderness is rooted not in theory, renunciation, or gloom but, rather, in love and wonder, even anger. Take a 'good walk,' he advises, and be willing to fight and hustle for the place you love." —Donna Seaman, Booklist

Kirkus Reviews

Gessner (Creative Writing/Univ. of North Carolina, Wilmington; Soaring with Fidel: An Osprey Odyssey from Cape Cod to Cuba and Beyond, 2007, etc.) argues that true environmentalism starts in our own backyard.

The author debates the controversial views of Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, who contended in their 2007 bookBreak Through: From the Death of Environmentalism to the Politics of Possibilitythat the environmentalism of the past—shaped by figures such as Rachel Carson—cannot not address global warming, and that doomsday scenarios about the end of the world can be so overwhelming that they induce passivity. While Gessner agrees that "the old guilt-ridden, mystical envirospeak just isn't cutting it," he suggests that the lives of Carson and Henry David Thoreau offer an effective alternative. A living example of the kind of effective environmentalism that he espouses is the work of his friend Dan Driscoll, a planner who began working for the State of Massachusetts 20 years ago. Driscoll conceived and directed a program to clean up the Charles River and plant native plants on its bank, transforming it from a repository for trash to a green pathway through Boston and its environs. Gessner writes about a 26-mile canoe-and-camping trip that he and Driscoll took down the Charles, savoring mornings when the river was covered in mists; they spent days paddling and watching the hawks and herons and other small animals—an unexpected and enchanting wildness in an otherwise urban area. In the author's view, the first step in building an effective environmentalist movement is helping people fall in love with the natural world in their own backyards and recognizing their kinship with other animals.

An engaging book with a serious message.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781571318367
Publisher:
Milkweed Editions
Publication date:
07/12/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
688,131
File size:
1 MB

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