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Inside Passage: A Journey Beyond Borders 1st Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1559636551
ISBN-10: 1559636556
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Drawing a case study from the Pacific Northwest, where he makes his home, noted environmental journalist Richard Manning argues that long-practiced conservation strategies are not enough to protect wild lands, and that little can come from calling for more wilderness preservation when the lands beyond the wilderness are so ill used. "The fundamental problem," he writes, "is in the scale and nature of human development; rethinking our definition of wilderness seems an academic exercise in the face of real pollution, sprawl, mindlessness, and greed." That development, he continues, involves imposing an industrial model on the world's ecosystems, so that, in the case of the Northwest, rivers have been seen as factories that make fish and electricity, forests as factories that make timber, and mountains as factories that make ore. That model is not only incorrect, he says, but also dangerously misguided.

In a journalistic tour of the region, Manning makes a convincing argument for removing dams on sensitive waterways; looks into the alarmingly high hidden costs of salmon and shrimp farming; condemns the suburbanization of the mountain West in the face of "white flight" from California; and looks into the lumbering practice called clear-cutting, which, though pioneered in the 1950s (by the U.S. Forest Service), was not put into general practice until the late 1970s. Manning's notions that it is possible to foster an economy of "conservation-based development" and that "wilderness has outlived its usefulness" will doubtless provoke controversy in green circles, while his call to reduce consumption and treat habitats of all kinds with more care won't play well in certain boardrooms--all of which means that, in his role as gadfly, Manning has done his job. --Gregory McNamee

From Library Journal

The idea of wilderness conjures up lines or boundaries on a map, separating developed areas from those free of humanity's handiwork. It is an idea debated by environmentalists and politicians. Journalist Manning (Food's Frontier) argues for a new understanding: wilderness without borders. Calling for a rethinking of humanity's relationship with nature, he argues that nature is bigger than all of humankind and cannot be controlled. From Alaska to Puget Sound, traveling by plane, boat, and kayak and on foot, Manning interviewed people who live and work in the Pacific Northwest region known as the Inside Passage to explore the ties between a regional economy and ecology. Using his own keen observation, Manning pleads for a new understanding of conservation and economic development together, not as separate entities. This thought-provoking book is a welcome addition to the environmental bookshelf.DPatricia Ann Owens, Wabash Valley Coll., Mt. Carmel, IL
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Island Press; 1 edition (November 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1559636556
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559636551
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,498,760 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By charles falk VINE VOICE on May 27, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Richard Manning takes his readers on a very interesting journey into a new terrain of environmentalism hinted at by his subtitle, "A Journey Beyond Borders". Traveling by sea kayak and light plane, as well as by land, he paints a grim picture of environmental degradation along the "inside passage" between Astoria Washington and Juneau Alaska. At the same time he is pricking some of the hallowed sacred cows of the conservation establishment. The primary focus of this book is on the decline of the salmon along the Pacific slope of North America. In the process he explains its relationship to lumbering and dams. He also takes a fast tour of the ecological ruin caused by the exponential growth of aquaculture around the Pacific Rim. Manning describes himself as a science writer, but he excels at turning a mixture of personal observation, interviews, and historical data into a vivid picture of decline -- not only of the salmon and the forest -- but of the people who depended on them for a livelihood.
One of Manning's interesting conclusions is that, as the size and technological complexity of our food-producing and timber-harvesting efforts have increased, their efficiency has plummeted. A modern rancher in Idaho, using large quantities of subsidized water and energy, cannot begin to match the protein production of the wild salmon that once teemed the rivers of his state. His calves would have to grow into 50,000-pound cows in order to match the four-year weight gain of a wild salmon. The salmon harvested the bounty of the sea and returned it to the land without any expenditure of fossil fuel.
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By A Customer on November 20, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Manning does for the Northwest what he did for the Prairie in his other great book, Grassland. Both are great reads.
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Format: Hardcover
Richard Manning's book is frankly amazing. How he can maintain a coherent, collected mental state to write while 'connecting the dots' to such major ecological disasters is totally beyond my ken. Read the book. Follow Manning as he connects dots around the world, from Scotland to the Sacramento River in CA to Washington State and into Alaska. He has the data and the links.

The last chapter summarizes the position that we all must take: "We want it all." Meaning that we can no longer argue over the boundary of a protected area. Those who would use the land, or take the fish, in any way, must get our collective permission. They must do so with the greatest recognition possible of the effects - consequences - of their actions. And those consequences must be minimized before we permit them to use _our_ Earth. There will be less business activity, true. There will be a more livable Earth, also. As we learn how to accommodate our ecosystems, we will also learn how to sustain our wonderful lives (i. e., restore that business activity).

And we do want to continue living on this planet, don't we? Especially for our grandchildren. Your next step: read the book.

This may be a 'far out' position to take, but I agree with Manning. What's the alternative? Whoops! Too late!
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