How can cultural forms motivate people to care about their environment? While important scientific data about ecosystems is mushrooming, E. N. Anderson argues in this powerful new book that putting effective conservation into practice depends primarily on social solidarity and emotional factors. Marshaling decades of research on cultures across several continents, he shows how societies have been more or less successful in sustainably managing their environments based on collective engagements such as religion, art, song, myth, and story. This provocative and deeply felt book by a leading writer and scholar in human ecology and anthropology will be read and debated widely for years to come.
"Anderson is deeply concerned with inadequate responses to ongoing global environmental degradation. Accordingly, he offers cases of traditional societies that survived over long time periods without destroying their environments. His focus is on ways humans think about plants, animals, and landscapes because of his conviction that stories about them are what make us care about their continued existence, rather than statistics about their plight. The goal is to learn lessons applicable for contemporary problems by observing ways that traditional people developed strategies to sustain environmental services and found ways to motivate others to do the same."— Susan Stevens Hummel, Agric Hum Values