A Conservationist Manifesto by Scott Russell Sanders

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By Scott Russell Sanders

As an antidote to the damaging tradition of intake dominating American existence this present day, Scott Russell Sanders demands a tradition of conservation that permits us to delight in and protect the realm, rather than devouring it. How may possibly we shift to a tougher and dependable lifestyle? What alterations in values and habit may be required? Ranging geographically from southern Indiana to the Boundary Waters barren region and culturally from the Bible to billboards, Sanders extends the visions of Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, and Rachel Carson to our personal day. A Conservationist Manifesto indicates the an important relevance of a conservation ethic at a time of mounting trouble approximately international weather switch, depletion of normal assets, extinction of species, and the industrial inequities among wealthy and negative international locations. the $64000 message of this strong publication is that conservation isn't really easily a private advantage yet a public one.

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The spirit of cooperation and philanthropy that so bedazzled the visiting Frenchman is still alive in America, but it has been overshadowed by rampant privatism. The myth of the social compact, which emphasizes our dependence on one another, has been largely displaced by the myth of self-reliance. 33 Caring for Earth In the essay that more than any other piece of writing gave currency to the term “self-reliance,” Ralph Waldo Emerson insisted, “do not tell me, as a good man did to-day, of my obligation to put all poor men in good situations.

In spite of what the media tell us, we know that the good life is not for sale. We understand that the good life is something we make together, in partnership with other people and in harmony with nature. We realize that happiness, health, security, and meaning come to us primarily through our membership in the common wealth, which we must therefore strive to preserve and enrich. Love of our common wealth is a root impulse behind countless acts of gratitude and kindness that ordinary people perform every day.

No amount of money will insulate us from a degraded society or a devastated landscape. Dollars come and go. Stock prices rise and fall. The only forms of wealth that endure are 48 A Few Earthy Words those we possess and care for in common—the legacy of knowledge and skills, the humane institutions, the settlements and farms, and the fruitful earth. \ Just as we have taken too narrow and private a view of wealth, so we have taken too shallow a view of community. We speak of golf communities, resort communities, and online communities, as if they were places we could visit or leave at our whim.

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