Nature’s Burdens is a political and intellectual history of American natural resource conservation from the 1980s into the twenty-first centurya period of intense political turmoil, shifting priorities among federal policymakers, and changing ideas about the goals of conservation. Telling a story of persistent activism, conflict, and frustration but also of striking achievement, it is an account of how new ideas and policies regarding human relationships to plants, animals, and their surroundings have become vital features of modern environmentalism.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Congress embraced the largely dormant movement to preserve distinctive landscapes and the growing demand for outdoor recreation, establishing an unprecedented number of parks, monuments, and recreation areas. The election of Ronald Reagan and a shift to a Republican-controlled Senate brought this activity to an abrupt halt and introduced a period of intense partisanship and legislative gridlock that extends to the present. In this political climate, three developments largely defined the role of conservation in contemporary society: environmental organizations have struggled to defend the legal status quo, private land conservation has become increasingly important, and the emergence of potent scientific voices has promoted the protection of animals and plants and injected a new sense of urgency into the larger cause.
These developments mark this period as a distinctive and important chapter in the history of American conservation. Scrupulously researched, scientifically and politically well informed, concise, and accessibly written, Nature’s Burdens is the most comprehensive examination of recent efforts to protect and enhance the natural world. It will be of interest to environmental historians, environmental activists, and any general reader interested in conservation.
|Publisher:||Utah State University Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Daniel Nelson is professor emeritus of history at the University of Akron, where he taught business and labor history for three decades. He is the author of a half dozen books, including Northern Landscapes and A Passion for the Land, and more than fifty essays and articles on industrial history, public policy, and environmental topics. An enthusiastic hiker and gardener, he is also active in a variety of local and national environmental organizations.
Table of Contents
List of Abbreviations ix
1 An Auspicious Legacy 11
2 Origins of Gridlock: The Reagan Years 45
3 Upheaval: The Environmental Movement in Transition 69
4 An Intellectual Revolution 87
5 Forests and Owls 127
6 Conservation on Trial: The Clinton Years 147
7 Land Conservation circa 2000 179
8 A Perilous Course: Twenty-First-Century Conservation 205
9 American Conservation: A Progress Report 245
Note on Sources 269
About the Author 297