Academic journal article Electronic Green Journal

Review: Forging a West That Works: An Invitation to the Radical Center

Academic journal article Electronic Green Journal

Review: Forging a West That Works: An Invitation to the Radical Center

Article excerpt

Review: Forging a West That Works: An Invitation to the Radical Center By The Cuivira Coalition (Eds.) Reviewed by Scott Bucher St. Vincent's Hospital, New York, NY, USA The Quivira Coalition (Eds.). Forging a West that Works: An Invitation to the Radical Center. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press, 2003. 150 pp. ISBN 0-9708264-1-9 (paper). US$18.95

Forging a West that Works represents a genuine dialogue between diverse stakeholders, including ranchers, land managers, environmentalists, and scientists, seeking to maintain and reclaim the health and vitality of the West's rural lands. Eschewing any attempt to present an overarching solution, Forging a West that Works' seventeen essays are united only by a common humility based upon first-hand experience of the complexity of the West's ecosystem. Perhaps it is because none of the authors rigidly advances any single perspective or solution that the reader is left with so many valuable lessons, not only regarding the West, but also for sustainable development more generally.

Forging a West that Works is organized into three sections, each consisting of about six chapters/essays on ranching, conservation, and science (respectively) "in the Radical Center." The section on ranching primarily presents the authors' perspectives and experiences with more environmentally beneficial and/or financially stable ranching methods, including "marketing conservation value" (p. 11), regional collaborations, the creation of more drought-resistant landscapes, and so forth. The section on conservation generally represents a critique of pure conservation by providing numerous examples of how ranching has been beneficial to aspects of the environment (e.g. watershed restoration, mine reclamation, "soil stability, biotic integrity, and watershed function" (p. 54)).

The section on science primarily briefly presents the finding of studies regarding the effects of land use and land management (e.g. residential development, and surface fires). …

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