Synopses & Reviews
In the final decade of the twentieth century, the American West was at war. Battle lines had hardened, with environmentalists squarely on one side of the fence, and ranchers on the other. By the mid-1990s, debates over the region’s damaged land had devolved into political wrangling, bitter lawsuits, and even death-threats. Conventional wisdom told us those who wanted to work the land and those who wanted to protect it had fundamentally different—and irreconcilable—values.
In Revolution on the Range, Courtney White challenges that truism, heralding stories from a new American West where cattle and conservation go hand in hand. He argues that ranchers and environmentalists have more in common than they’ve typically admitted: a love of wildlife, a deep respect for nature, and a strong allergic reaction to suburbanization. The real conflict has not been over ethics, but approaches. Today, a new brand of ranching is bridging the divide by mimicking nature while still turning a profit.
Westerners are literally reinventing the ranch by confronting their own assumptions about nature, profitability, and each other. Ranchers are learning that new ideas can actually help preserve traditional lifestyles. Environmentalists are learning that protected landscapes aren’t always healthier than working ones. White, a self-proclaimed middle-class city boy, has learned there’s more to ranching than grit and cowboy boots.
The author’s own transformation from conflict-oriented environmentalist to radical centrist mirrors the change sweeping the region. As ranchers and environmentalists find common cause, they’re discovering new ways to live on—and preserve—the land they both love. Revolution on the Range is the story of that journey, and a heartening vision of the new American West.
"In a time when environmental reporting has become justifiably gloomy, this book is a refreshing breath of pragmatic optimism. Environmentalist White highlights quirky, visionary individuals and their innovative methods to improve the quality of the ranges and mountains of the West, such as biologist Bill Zeedyk, who restores riparian areas and water tables using sticks and rocks to simply and cheaply mimic a creek's natural meandering, and activist Dan Dagget, who has been able to unite environmentalists and ranchers by focusing on common goals (open space, wildlife, restored streams). White promotes implementation of the 'New Ranch,' operating 'on the principle that the natural processes that sustain wildlife habitat, biological diversity and functioning watersheds are the same processes that make land productive for livestock... where erosion has diminished, where streams and springs, once dry, now flow, where wildlife is more abundant, and where landowners are more profitable as a result.' White's vision of stewardship, openness to new ideas, giving as well as taking, and flexibility will inspire anyone who loves humanity or the great outdoors. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"White's quiet and reverent tone befits a book about the potency of conciliation. Revolution on the Range is powerful because it bites off a relatively small but vital chunk of an ecological problem, and lays out a viable path to a solution."
"In a time when environmental reporting has become justifiably gloomy, this book is a refreshing breath of pragmatic optimism…. White's vision of stewardship, openness to new ideas, giving as well as taking will inspire anyone who loves humanity or the great outdoors."
"Community is the most important solution to the environmental crisis we face. But community has got to be more than a feel-good buzzword. When it works, it's the result of hard work and real attempts at understanding. This fine volume is a handbook for that kind of work."
"Courtney White is the epicenter of the Radical Center that is healing the West. Join him in this revolution."
"The American public is woefully unprepared for the changes we face in every particular of daily life, including the way we get our food and the way we inhabit the landscape. Courtney White's vision is an eloquent introduction to what the future will require of us."
"I couldn't put Revolution on the Range down—so many good ideas from people who have discovered workable means to affect positive change in our local environments and ways of thinking about our place in the world. This is one of the most encouraging and inspiring books I've read in ages. Thank you, Courtney White!"
In Revolution on the Range, Courtney White challenges the conventional wisdom that those who wanted to work the land and those who wanted to protect it had fundamentally differentand irreconcilablevalues. He argues that ranchers and environmentalists have more in common than theyve typically admitted: a love of wildlife, a deep respect for nature, and a strong allergic reaction to suburbanization. The real conflict has not been over ethics, but approaches. As ranchers and environmentalists find common cause, theyre discovering new ways to live onand preservethe land they both love. Revolution on the Range is the story of that journey, and a heartening vision of the new American West.
About the Author
Courtney White is cofounder and executive director of The Quivira Coalition, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building bridges between ranchers, conservationists, public land managers, scientists, and others. A former archaeologist and Sierra Club activist, White now devotes himself to land restoration.
Table of Contents
PART I. The New Ranch
Chapter 1. The New Ranch
Chapter 2. Replenishing Soil and People
Chapter 3. Getting into the Game
Interlude: Ranching with Wildlife
Chapter 4. Out of Cowboy Island
Chapter 5. Changing the World
PART II. The Working Wilderness
Chapter 6. The Working Wilderness
Chapter 7. Goals that Unite
Chapter 8. Quid Pro Quo
Interlude: A Macho Failure
Chapter 9. Thinking Like a Creek
Chapter 10. The Gift
PART III: The Big Picture
Chapter 11. Across Boundaries
Chapter 12. Useful Science
Chapter 13. Ceaseless Change
Interlude: Seeing the Forest and the Trees
Chapter 14. Mugido