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How to Think Seriously About the Planet: The Case for an Environmental Conservatism 1st Edition

11 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199895571
ISBN-10: 0199895570
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Editorial Reviews

Review


"A dazzling book." --Simon Jenkins, Sunday Times


"Beautifully written and ambitious in its scope... an immensely readable book and a valuable contribution to the debate over environmental politics."--Caroline Lucas, The Independent


About the Author


Roger Scruton is currently visiting professor in the School of Philosophical, Anthropological and Film Studies at the University of St Andrews and in Philosophy at the University of Oxford. He is also a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington and a contributing editor to The New Atlantis. He has taught at the Universities of Cambridge, London, Oxford, Princeton, and Boston and has been a free-lance writer and commentator for the past 15 years. His many books include Beauty: A Very Short Introduction, Death-Devoted Heart, and The Uses of Pessimism.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (June 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199895570
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199895571
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 1.3 x 5.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #843,721 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 45 people found the following review helpful By S. Hayward on June 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Roger Scruton turns his enormous breadth of learning and powers of sustained concentration on the vexing problem of the environment, which tends otherwise to to be mired in the rut of left-right cliches and stubbornly fixed positions. The result in this book is a truly fresh and original synthesis of the best aspects of conventional environmental thought and its critics. This book ought to be read and wrestled with by people on all parts of the political spectrum. Everyone will find something in it to disagree with--I do--but will also find some new challenges to familiar but inadequate and superficial ways of thinking about environmental issues. This book deserves to take its place on the shelf of the dozen most serious and significant environmental books of the last 25 years.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By William L. Brown VINE VOICE on December 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Roger Scruton, a British author, spent the better part of a year accumulating the background information for this book. The result is an extremely rewarding and educational treatise on what works and what doesn't work in terms of getting people to change their behavior to improve the environment.

Much of the book is based around the concept of oikophilia, which is roughly translated as "love of home." Human beings have a difficult time relating to things that are far removed from their everyday experience. International treaties, for example, mean little or nothing to them, whereas protecting their property from things that might cause damage is readily comprehended.

Regulations made by bureaucrats at the European Union, or even by our own Environmental Protection Administration, engender little in the way of warm feelings that can be translated into individual action. Rules that forbid taking measures to improve one's private property (such as rules against filling in "wetlands") elicit frustration and anger; why not improve your land so as to make it more habitable to yourself and your heirs?

Scruton shows that many government regulations are counterproductive. For instance, regulations requiring packaging of food products leads to proliferation of non-biodegradable plastics that pile up in spaces where they will degrade the environment for generations to come. The author asks why local farmers cannot present their wares for sale in local (mom and pop) grocery stores, without wrapping everything in plastic? The advent of supermarkets has improved access to food while simultaneously contributing to an environmental disaster.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Doug Erlandson TOP 50 REVIEWER on July 31, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Roger Scruton's "How to Think Seriously About the Planet" presents a well-balanced and thoughtful approach to environmentalism. Rejecting both the top-down approach, which, according to Scruton, rarely solves the problem but only makes it worse while creating new problems, and the call of free-market libertarians for total government noninvolvement, Scruton stresses localized approaches as those that can most effectively deal with environmental issues as they arise. He puts a significant amount of stress on something he calls "oikaphilia," which means "love of the home." In a nutshell, those who have true love for their immediate environment, their town, the land they live on, etc, are likely to hit upon solutions for preserving the environment that really work. Such approaches are also far more likely (according to Scruton) to understand the legacy that previous generations have provided and in turn are the ones most likely to seek to preserve the environment for future generations.

Scruton's book is wide-ranging and covers quite a few topics, including a rather extended discussion of the inadequacies of certain philosophical theories in their approach to environmentalism. (Scruton is especially critical of utilitarian reasoning.) He also is critical of most of the work that has been done in applied ethics, particularly environmental ethics.

Because of the excellent content in this book and because Scruton does a good job of arguing for his "environmental conservatism" I believe this book deserves five stars. The one thing I found somewhat annoying is that Scruton tends to wander from topic to topic in such a way that it is sometimes hard to know exactly where he's going with a thought or what he's arguing. The book would have benefitted from having sub-headings within chapters. As it is, there are none, despite the fact that some of the chapters are rather lengthy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Booker on June 22, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a great read. It presents a hopeful alternative to the top down bureaucratic mess environmental regulations have become. Emphsis on hopeful. I wish it were doable. But in the final analysis I don't think Roger's discussion of oikophilia and platoons takes sufficient note of greed pettiness and provicialism that plays a part in the conduct of all people including the folks who wound become the new platoons. Nor does he make a convincing argument that these voluntary associations have a chance to reemerge as an environmetal force in the face of international consumerism dominating parts of the globe and of the anarchy dominating much of the rest. I take this book as a thoughtful analysis of a serious problem. A stating point to think about alternatives to international treaties and EPA regulations. All in all, a nostolgic look at some great accomplishments of the past. A wonderful and optimistic look.
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