A Conservationist Manifesto

A Conservationist Manifesto

A Conservationist Manifesto

A Conservationist Manifesto

Synopsis

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.

Excerpt

Trapped recently in an airport lounge where there was no escape from television, I saw an advertisement that showed a husband and wife in an electronics store rushing from one gadget to another, their eyes agog with desire, their mouths curled into rapturous grins, while a chorus of voices chanted, “I want it all, and I want it now!”

This expression of unbridled appetite, neatly combining gluttony and impatience, might stand as the motto for our commercial culture. the same impulse prompts children to throw tantrums when their parents refuse to buy them candy or sneakers or toys. Most of us, I suspect, think of such children as spoiled. Yet the ad implies that once we are grown up and equipped with charge cards, we no longer need to throw tantrums, for we can have everything we want, without pain or delay. Politicians echo this appeal to our gluttony by promising to cut taxes while offering us more handouts and services. Technologists indulge our impatience by peddling gadgets that will let us do everything faster, regardless of whether what we’re doing is worth doing at all. Merchants and media, pollsters and pundits, agree in defining us as consumers, as if the purpose of life were to devour the world rather than to savor and preserve it.

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