Environmental History Books

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Silent Spring Silent Spring (Paperback)
by (shelved 12 times as environmental-history)
avg rating 3.97 — 33,526 ratings — published 1962
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“The United States inherited a seemingly inexhaustible fortune in natural resources, yet it has responded to its environment with a dismaying mixture of materialism and inertia. The nation was virtually founded upon a ubiquitous desire for access to land and its contents. Its amazing growth during the nineteenth century was based directly upon the exploitation—immediate, unplanned, full use of soils, minerals, forests, and rivers. Equitable access to these natural bounties rather than constitutional guarantees would be the practical basis for democracy. Subsequently, political institutions were shaped in such a way that they could facilitate the disposition of the public domain. But that expectation, as later generations ruefully observed, did not materialize. The combination of economics and government had instead produced a handful of owners and policy makers who were beyond the control of the ballot box.”
Elmo Richardson, Dams, Parks & Politics: Resource Development & Preservation in the Truman-Eisenhower Era

John Stuart Mill
“It is not good for man to be kept perforce at all times in the presence of his species. A world from which solitude is extirpated is a very poor ideal. Solitude, in the sense of being often alone, is essential to any depth of meditation or of character; and solitude in the presence of natural beauty and grandeur, is the cradle of thoughts and aspirations which are not only good for the individual, but which society could ill do without. Nor is there much satisfaction in contemplating the world with nothing left to the spontaneous activity of nature...scarcely a place left where a wild shrub or flower could grow without being eradicated as a weed in the same of improved agriculture. If the earth must lose that great portion of its pleasantness which it owes to things that the unlimited increase of wealth and population would extirpate from it, for the mere support of a larger, but not a better or happier population, I sincerely hope, for the sake of posterity, that they will be content to be stationary...”
John Stuart Mills

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