Synopses & Reviews
"In this book, I relate the pleasures, as well as the virtues and difficulties of a perhaps simpler than average North American life." So begins ecological thinker and writer Stephanie Mills's Epicurean Simplicity, a thoughtful paean to living, like Thoreau, a deliberate life.Mills's account of the simple life reaches deep into classical sources of pleasure -- good food, good health, good friends, and particularly the endless delights of the natural world. Her musings about the life she desires -- and the life she has created -- ultimately led her to the third century Greek philosopher Epicurus, whose philosophy was premised on the trustworthiness of the senses, a philosophy that Mills wholeheartedly embraces. While later centuries have come to associate Epicurus's name with hedonism, Mills discovered that he extolled simplicity and prudence as the surest means to pleasure, and his thinking offers an important philosophical touchstone for the book.As the author explains, one of the primary motivations for her pursuit of simplicity is her concern about the impacts of a consumerist lifestyle on the natural world. Mills touches on broad range of topics relating to that issue -- social justice, biological extinctions, the global economy, and also more personal aspects such as friendship, the process of country living, the joys of physical exertion, the challenges of a writer's life, and the natural history and seasonal delights of a life lived close to nature. An overarching theme is the destructiveness of consumerism, and how even a simple life affects a wide range of organisms and adds strain to the earth's systems. The author uses her own experience as an entry point to the discussion with a self-effacing humor and lyrical prose that bring big topics to a personal level.Epicurean Simplicity is beautifully crafted, fluid, inspiring, and enlightening, examining topics of critical importance that affect us all. It celebrates the pleasures, beauty, and fulfillment of a simple life, a goal being sought by Americans from all walks of life, from harried single parents to corporate CEOs. For fans of natural history or personal narrative, for those concerned about social justice and the environment, and for those who have come to know and love Stephanie Mills through her speaking and writing, Epicurean Simplicity is a rare treasure.
When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically. This idea, known as the "Precautionary Principle, " is seen by environmentalists and public health experts as the key to protecting ecological and human health.
In January 1998, the Science and Environmmental Health Network convened an international group of scientists, researchers, environmentalists, academics, and labor representatives to discuss ways of incorporating the precautionary approach into environmental and public health decision-making. Known as the Wingspread Conference on Implementing the Precautionary Principle, the workshop focused on understanding the contexts under which the principle developed, its basis, and how it could be implemented. Protecting Public Health and the Environment is an outgrowth of that conference. The book: describes the history, specific content, and scientific and philosophical foundations of the principle of precautionary action explains the functions of the principle in activities as diverse as agriculture and manufacturing explains how to know when precautionary action is needed and who decides what action will (or will not) be taken attempts to show how the burden of proof of environmental harm can be shifted to proponents of a potentially hazardous activity provides specific structures and mechanisms for implementing the precautionary principl.
Throughout, contributors focus on the difficult questions of implementation and fundamental change required to support a more precautionary approach to environmental and public health hazards.Among the contributors are David Ozonoff, Nicholas Ashford, Ted Schettler, Robert Costanza, Ken Geiser, Anderw Jordan, and others.
Public health professionals and academics, policymakers, environmental lawyers, sustainable agriculture proponents, economists, and environmental
About the Author
Stephanie Mills has been engaged in the ecology movement for more than thirty years, and in 1996 was named by Utne Reader as one of the world's leading visionaries. Her books include Whatever Happened to Ecology? (Sierra Club Books, 1989), In Service of the Wild (Beacon Press, 1995), and Turning Away from Technology (Sierra Club Books, 1997). A prolific writer and speaker on issues of ecology and social change, Mills lives in the Great Lakes Bioregion in the Upper Midwest.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. The Journey and the Destination
Chapter 2. Epicurean Simplicity
Chapter 3. Spring
Chapter 4. The Others
Chapter 5. Summer
Chapter 6. Conviviality
Chapter 7. Vocation
Chapter 8. Autumn
Chapter 9. Winter
Chapter 10. Our Common Fate