Synopses & Reviews
Living simply isnand#8217;t always simple. When Alan Boye first lived in sustainable housing, he was young, idealistic, and not much susceptible to compromiseand#8212;until rattlesnakes, black widow spiders, and loneliness drove him out of the utilities-free yurt heand#8217;d built in New Mexico. Thirty-five years later, he decided to try again. This time, with an idealism tempered by experience and practical considerations, Boye and his wife constructed an off-the-grid, energy-efficient, straw bale house in Vermont.
Sustainable Compromises chronicles these two remarkable attempts to live simply in two disparate American eras. Writing with hard-won authority and humor, Boye takes up the and#8220;how-toand#8221; practicalities of and#8220;building green,and#8221; from finances to nuts and bolts to strains on friends and family. With Walden as a historical and philosophical touchstone and his own experience as a practical guide, he also explores the ethical and environmental concerns that have framed such undertakings from Thoreauand#8217;s day to our own. A firsthand account of the pleasures and pitfalls of living simply, his book is a deeply informed and engaging reflection on what sustainability really meansand#8212;in personal, communal, ethical, and environmental terms.
"In these predictable but frequently insightful essays, Sanders (Writing from the Center) muses on how to care for the Earth, local communities and future generations. He condemns the mainstream 'American way of life' as an 'infantile dream of endless consumption, endless novelty, and endless play' and, calling for a 'dream worthy of grownups,' explores ways to realize this dream, such as his own decision to stay put in one place and discover that his ambition was not to 'make a good career but to make a good life' and remain attentive to nature and the present moment. Sanders offers a 40-point 'Conservationist Manifesto,' which, in its thoroughness, thoughtfulness and inclusion of environmental justice issues would serve the environmentalist community well. But the most original and intriguing ideas in this book are Sanders's thoughts about words and their meanings, as when he suggests that for a season we make explicit the meaning of 'consumers' by replacing it with 'devourers,' or that wilderness is a Sabbath of space rather than time, and we need both kinds of Sabbath 'because Earth could use a respite from our demands.'" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Sanders's A Conservationist Manifesto is a book to be savored--for its language, its stories, its sense of place, and for how it reminds us of the profound relationships with nature and each other that can inspire us to change how we live on this planet.... A must read for all of us who are wrestling with the future of conservation and searching for how to express the values that will take us to a greener and more sustainable future" --Will Rogers, President, The Trust for Public Land
"As an antidote to the destructive culture of consumption dominating American life today, this book calls for a culture of conservation that allows us to savor and preserve the world instead of devouring it.... [Its] main message is that conservation is not simply a personal virtue but a public one." --Abstracts of Public Administration, Development, and Environment Indiana University Press
"Insightful essays... original and intriguing.... Sanders offers a 40-point Conservationist Manifesto, which, in its thoroughness, thoughtfulness and inclusion of environmental justice issues would serve the environmentalist community well." --Publishers Weekly
"There are others writing about sustaining the planet and ourselves who should be read.... But there is something more to A Conservanist Manifesto. Sanders wirtes on a literary level that places him with Henry David Thoreau, Aldo Leopold, Wallace Stegner, Annie Dillard, and Wendell Berry--to name a few." --The Bloomsbury Review
"In a world that focuses relentlessly on consumer culture, it's refreshing to read Scott Russell Sanders's plea for 'a new vision of the good life' in A Conservationist Manifesto." --Audubon
"Sanders' style is full of the imagery and poetic prose of Aldo Leopold, the philosophic wanderings of Henry David Thoreau, and includes Wendell Berry's vital sense of place. A Conservationist Manifesto is sure to find its way on those treasured lists of must reads." --Indiana Living Green
"[Sanders] writes beautiful prose and never fails to stir our souls and imaginations.... In this awesome new book... Sanders outlines the practical, ecological, and ethical grounds for a conservation ethic." --Spirituality and Practice
"In this beautifully poetic set of meditations on conservation, Sanders issues a clarion call for reversing society's present path of ecological devastation and offers reflections on ways that individuals and society might provide better stewardship of the earth now and for future generations to come.... [His] eloquent book is a must-read for anyone committed to taking care of the natural world and passing it along to future generations." --ForeWord
"A seasoned professor and writer of fiction and non-fiction has given us the benefit of his journey in the worlds of literature, natural history, and religious philosophy. But A Conservationist Manifesto is more than that. Scott Russell Sanders's elegant writing reminds us once again that it is above all, through style that power defers to reason." --Wes Jackson, President, The Land Institute Indiana University Press
"A Conservationist Manifesto is a rich book and like a rich wine or rich dessert, it is meant to be savored. Sanders sees beyond the mass destruction of consumerism and prophetically calls us to the redemptive work of conserving creation and connecting deeply with our neighbors and the places in which we live." --Englewood Review of Books
"This is a beautiful, right-minded, and reinforcing book for all who would be conservationists.... Scott Sanders gives us one of the most graceful tellings of our plight, with many examples of people protecting or restoring what counts.... We've never been more keenly in need of his loving manual for conserving what he calls 'the basic grammar of life.'" --Orion Magazine
Praise for Paul A. Johnsgardand#8217;s Prairie Dog Empire: A Saga of the Shortgrass Prairie
and#8220;Many scientists and historians have written about the natural history of the Great Plains, but few so compellingly as Paul Johnsgard.and#8221;and#8212;Annals of Iowa
and#8220;Johnsgard provides a book that should be on the shelf of every person interested in and concerned about the past history and future of life on the Great Plains.and#8221;and#8212;Manhattan Mercury
and#8220;Anyone with an interest in the ecology and history of the shortgrass prairie will become immersed in the pages of this engaging book.and#8221;and#8212;North Dakota History
and#8220;Not only is this book beautifully written, with wisdom and humor, it also offers a practical guide for and#8216;sustainableand#8217; home builders of any age. Boye writes with an impressive intelligence, immediately drawing readers in not only to the story but to the mind and heart of the author.and#8221;and#8212;Reeve Lindbergh, author of Under a Wing: A Memoir
and#8220;Alan Boyeand#8217;s humor and generosity run through this book, as does his gentle compassion for the people and places he loves.and#8221;and#8212;Miriam Karmel, author of Being Esther
andquot;Seasons of the Tallgrass Prairie celebrates the gifts of a half century spent roaming Nebraskaand#39;s back roads, trails, and sometimes-forgotten places.andquot;andmdash;Nebraska Magazine
andquot;A simply wonderful read from beginning to end.andquot;andmdash;John Burroughs, Midwest Book Review
andldquo;Many scientists and historians have written about the natural history of the Great Plains, but few so compellingly as Paul Johnsgard.andrdquo;andmdash;Annals of Iowa
andquot;From sacred sites to majestic wildlife patterns, Seasons of the Tallgrass Prairie snaps a unique portraiture of Nebraska as a great sustainer of all who dwell within its bounds. Whether youandrsquo;re a scientist or layperson, itandrsquo;s worth your time to pick up this collection, discover a quiet outdoor spot and just take it all in.andquot;andmdash;Erin Seaward-hiatt, L Magazine
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.
Practical, ecological, and philosophical grounds for a conservation ethic
A respected author and scholar, Paul A. Johnsgard has spent a lifetime observing the natural delights of Nebraskaand#8217;s woodlands, grasslands, and wetlands. Seasons of the Tallgrass Prairie collects his musings on Nebraskaand#8217;s natural history and the issues of conservation facing our future.
Johnsgard crafts essays featuring snow geese, owls, hummingbirds, and other creatures against the backdrop of Great Plains landscapes. He describes prairie chickens courting during predawn hours and the calls of sandhill cranes; he evokes the magic of lying upon the prairie, hearing only the sounds of insects and the wind through the grasses. From reflections following a visit to a Pawnee sacred site to meditations on the perils facing the stateand#8217;s finite natural resources, Seasons of the Tallgrass Prairie celebrates the gifts of a half century spent roaming Nebraskaand#8217;s back roads, trails, and sometimes-forgotten places.
About the Author
Paul A. Johnsgard is Foundation Regents Professor Emeritus in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Nebraskaand#8211;Lincoln. He has received the National Conservation Achievement Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award, both sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation, and is the author of more than five dozen books on natural history, including The Sandhill and Whooping Cranes: Ancient Voices over Americaand#8217;s Wetlands
and Prairie Dog Empire: A Saga of the Shortgrass Prairie
(both available in Bison Books editions).
Table of Contents
Part One: Caring for Earth
A Few Earthy Words
The Warehouse and the Wilderness
Part Two: Caring for Our Home Ground
The Geography of Somewhere
On Loan from the Sundance Sea
Big Trees, Still Water, Tall Grass
Part Three: Caring for Generations to Come
Wilderness as a Sabbath for the Land
Simplicity and Sanity
A Conservationist Manifesto
For the Children
Words of Thanks