Why are our environmental problems still growing despite a huge increase in global conservation efforts? Peterson del Mar untangles this paradox by showing how prosperity is essential to environmentalism. Industrialization drove people to look for meaning in nature even as they consumed its products more relentlessly. Hence England led the way in both manufacturing and preserving its countryside, and the United States created a matchless set of national parks as it became the world's pre-eminent economic and military power.
Environmental movements have produced some impressive results, including cleaner air and the preservation of selected species and places. But agendas that challenged western prosperity and comfort seldom made much progress, and many radical environmentalists have been unabashed utopianists. Environmentalism considers a wide range of conservation and preservation movements and less organized forms of nature loving (from seaside vacations to ecotourism) to argue that these activities have commonly distracted us from the hard work of creating a sustainable and sensible relationship with the environment.
Table of Contents
PART ONE ANALYSIS AND ASSESSMENT. 1 Introduction. 2 Domesticating the wild. 3 Industrial nature loving. 4 The friendly wild of post-war affluence. 5 The counter-culture’s nature. 6 Epiphanies. 7 Radical departures. 8 Thwarted. 9 Extreme nature loving. 10 Assessment. PART TWO DOCUMENTS. 1 Beowulf. 2 William Wordsworth, Tintern Abbey. 3 The Cruelty to Animals Act of 1835. 4 George Perkins Marsh, Man and Nature. 5 Anna Sewell, Black Beauty. 6 William Morris, News from Nowhere. 7 Robert Baden-Powell, Scouting for Boys. 8 John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierras. 9 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring. 10 Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac. 11 Rachel Carson, Silent Spring. 12 Farley Mowat, Never Cry Wolf. 13 Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness. 14 John Denver, Rocky Mountain High. 15 Richard Adams, Watership Down. 16 Donella H. Meadows, et al., The Limits to Growth: A Report for the Club of Rome’s Project on the Predicament of Mankind. 17 Arne Naess, “The Shallow and the Deep, Long-Range Ecology Movements”. 18 Endangered Species Act of 1973. 19 Where You At? A Bioregional Quiz. 20 Earth First Action in Oregon, 1985. 21 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, Rio de Janeiro, 1992. 22 Petra Kelly, “Creating an Ecological Economy”. 23 Kyoto Protocol, 1997. 24 Bjǿrn Lomborg, The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World. 25 Animal Wellness Magazine, “10 Steps to Animal Communication”. 26 Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and what We Can Do About It. 27 Rural Manifesto of the Countryside Alliance, 2009. 28 Report of the League Against Cruel Sports, 2010.
David Peterson del Mar grew up in a very rural area as the son of a commercial fisherman and worked as a labourer for a sawmill. Over the past twelve years he has taught environmental history in Canada and the United States and has published four books on social history, including the award winning What Trouble I Have Seen: A History of Violence against Wives (1996).