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A Conservationist Manifesto Paperback – March 20, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press (March 20, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0253220807
  • ISBN-13: 978-0253220806
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #727,832 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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. (Apr.)
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From Booklist

How should we act in response to alarming environmental havoc? As with every great endeavor, such as the abolition of slavery, what’s needed is a declaration of values and intent. A manifesto. Sanders, a proven voice of reason and clarity, offers exactly such a document in the hope of shaping an effective green movement. But first he has some stories to share, terms to define, and fresh perspectives to establish. Writing lucidly and stirringly from his home base in Indiana, Sanders views preserving wilderness as a Sabbath in space instead of in time. People who practice an “ethic of restraint” are ark builders because their simpler ways of living are “vessels” holding the wisdom we need to survive the “rising flood” of environmental concerns. Sanders writes crisply about what it really means to call a place home; reminds us of our “common wealth,” the living world; and decries “endless consumption.” Generosity of spirit and love of life underpin Sanders’ 40-point blueprint for ecological health. --Donna Seaman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By S. R. Sanders on March 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
A Conservationist Manifesto envisions a path toward a materially simpler and spiritually richer way of life. At present, merchants and mass media, politicians and pundits, agree in defining us as consumers, as if the purpose of life were to devour the world rather than to savor and preserve it. However appealing consumerism may be to our egos, and however profitable it may be for business, it is ruinous for our planet, our communities, and our souls. What I propose instead is that we imagine ourselves as conservers, as stewards of the earth's bounty and beauty.

We need to embrace a conservation ethic if we are to address such threats as the disruption of global climate, the tattering of the ozone layer, the clear-cutting of forests, the poisoning of lakes by acid rain, the collapse of ocean fisheries, the extinction of species, the looming shortages of oil and fresh water, and the spread of famine and epidemic disease.

How might we shift to a more durable and compassionate way of life? What models do we have for a culture of conservation? What changes in values and behavior would be required to bring it about? Where can we see it emerging in practice?

This book seeks answers to those questions. Ranging geographically from my home ground in southern Indiana to the Mount St. Helens volcano and Alaska's Glacier Bay and Minnesota's Boundary Waters Wilderness, and ranging culturally from the Bible to billboards, it maps the practical and ecological grounds for a conservation ethic.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Christian Peterson on June 14, 2009
Format: Paperback
I was in Bloomington at a bookstore and a friend recommended it to me during a weekend of camping at a near by state park. Very beautiful writing style, evocative, but not wordy. The topic is needed and Prof. Sanders adds another powerful voice to the argument for finding an alternative to mindless devourism.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Bugs on August 14, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am always interested in what people have to share about reducing our personal and collective environmental footprints especially in such a mad dog material consuming society as we have in most western countries and I was quite impressed with Scott Sanders' take on this. Sanders is Professor of English at Indiana U of Bloomington and writes/teaches quite extensively on conservation utilizing the lives of such thinkers as Henry David Thoreau, et al. to impress simplifying our existence by walking the walk. Sanders relates how he and his wife have settled into a life of community involvement by shopping locally, growing some of their own food and doing without much of the gadget trappings of the consumerist society. I was impressed by Sanders' explanation of expanding a frugal yet satisfying existence beyond himself to the community- "sustainable arks" and time is of the essence because of the "exponential" growth and decay of our hyper-consuming, resource depleting and polluting society. Much of Sanders ideas concur with Bill McKibben (End Of Nature, etc.), Gary Snyder (The Practice of the Wild, etc.), Barry Lopez (Arctic Dreams, etc.) and others. A good portion of this fine book covers writing about the ethics of sustainability. Kindred spirits make for expanding sustainable community arks- and the concept is catching on all over the globe.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By smhedrick on March 21, 2013
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Sanders approaches this topic in a sensible way. He has logical thinking as well as beautifully crafted stories and depictions of how lovely our planet truly is. While there is an underlying theme of "humanity needs to get their act together" he manages to address that subject with a charming prose.
If you love this genre of literature and want an explanation how and why we should be living simpler lives without the "shock and awe" that many conservationist books seem to have, this is for you. I loved it!
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