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A Conservationist Manifesto

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  103 ratings  ·  13 reviews
As an antidote to the destructive culture of consumption dominating American life today, Scott Russell Sanders calls for a culture of conservation that allows us to savor and preserve the world, instead of devouring it. How might we shift to a more durable and responsible way of life? What changes in values and behavior will be required? Ranging geographically from souther ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 1st 2009 by Indiana University Press (first published January 1st 2009)
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Mar 16, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: assigned-reading, ugh
This semester I'm taking "Environmentalism and Sustainability Studies 101" (no, really) to fulfill a science credit. Before this class, I thought I liked the earth. I thought I was fairly environmentally friendly. Apparently, I had no frickin idea just how nuts you have to be to consider yourself Earth-friendly.

Take Mr. Sanders, for example. When he's not railing against the media being responsible for everything wrong with the planet (see, consumerism makes people only think about themselves - if
Jeffrey Ryan
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Scott Russell Sanders is a wonderful writer. I am so fortunate to have happened upon this book when I was researching another project, one I put on hold because this collection of essays pulled me in. Effectively describing the beauty of the natural world and advocating for its protection are difficult tasks for any writer. The author takes us there with insight, empathy and the skill required to allow us to see the world through his eyes.

Written a decade ago, A Conservationist Manif
Jun 30, 2017 rated it liked it
While Sanders offers some captivating insight into environmental issues and offers some viable proposals for conservation (some not so much), the overall feel of the book is pretentious. The man wrote it in his garden cabin/hut he had built to "get more in tune with nature." How can you write a book about conservation from an unnecessary building that used raw materials? Come on.
Mar 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: conservation
"Whatever else we teach our children, we owe them an ecological education (...) By the time they finish school, children who have received an ecological education know in their bones that the wellbeing of people depends on the wellbeing of Earth, from the neighborhood to the watershed to the planet".

The practice of conservation is both an individual and collective, societal matter. It is a personal and a public virtue, one that will seal our fate - no less. ‘A Conservationist Manifesto’ reminds
Jan 03, 2012 rated it it was ok
Sanders's writing style is the stuff that legends are made of: smooth, clear, vivid, spare. The essays in this collection are uneven, though. From the naïveté of "The Warehouse and the Wilderness," a prolonged rant against postmodern literary theory, a subject about which Sanders admits he knows very little, to the brilliance of "Stillness," a tight essay structured by his first visit to a private cabin on a piece of property he owns. My favorite piece was "Simplicity and Sanity," which offered ...more
Karen Mcintyre
Sep 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
I heard Sanders speak at a library re-dedication and searched for his work. I really did not want to read another ecology manifesto --- but this one is different. He creates a hopeful world view in the midst of the potential disaster that will come unless we get a grip on our consumerism and overuse of the worlds gifts which we quickly trash!

His writing is almost poetic and his use of both metaphor and etymology is both beautiful and helpful in understanding the concepts he promotes.
Sep 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: essays, nature
This collection of essays inspires me to seek out the many other quality nature writers our country has been blessed with over the last one hundred and fifty years or so. Sanders makes it clear that these voices, whether still living (Wendell Berry, to name one) or long dead (Thoreau and Emerson), offer us observations crucial to repairing our current relationship with the earth. In addition to holding this responsible and humble view in common, these writers (and Sanders belongs in this group a ...more
Jan 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Sanders is one of those writers who ought to be much better known than he is. This book collects several of his previously published essays, all of them centered in some way around the satisfactions that come from living simply and lightly upon the land. I especially liked his reflections on the meaning of words such as "commonwealth" (hint: not about money) and his thought-provoking suggestion about using the Sabbath as an occasion to give the earth a rest from us. This is also a beautifully pa ...more
Indiana University Press
This is one of the best books I've read lately. Sanders' call to move from a culture of consumption to one of conservation is more timely than ever now in the wake of our uncertain financial future, depleting oil supply, and global climate change. This book makes me think twice about my actions as they not only affect me, but also the planet and everyone else who lives on it. I am better for reading it, and hopefully this positive impact will be felt by the Earth as well. I can't recommend this ...more
Jul 24, 2009 added it
Scott Russell Sanders is an inspiration! I heard him do a reading recently and was able to have lunch with him--a joy! I am not too far into this book yet, but it raises great questions/thoughts! Also, his compelation of short stories "Wilderness Plots" is amazing and I highly recommend it too!
May 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
What a wonderful, caring, simple (in a good way) book. Feels a little like dadsplaining sometimes, but I still enjoyed it thoroughly!
May 17, 2009 rated it liked it
Decent essays. Well written. Not much new under the sun, however. These essays retread familiar eco-themes.
Juan Bacigalupi
Aug 25, 2016 rated it it was ok
Some well written points, but comes across too preachy (this from an environmental advocate) and seems to ignore certain realities of our modern society.
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Scott Russell Sanders is an American novelist and essayist.His twenty books of fiction and nonfiction include A Private History of Awe and A Conservationist Manifesto. The best of his essays from the past thirty years, plus nine new essays, are collected in Earth Works, published in 2012 by Indiana University Press. Among his honors are the Lannan Literary Award, the John Burroughs Essay Award, th ...more