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Beginning Again : People and Nature in the New Millennium - David Ehrenfeld

Beginning Again

People and Nature in the New Millennium

Paperback Published: 24th August 1995
ISBN: 9780195096378
Number Of Pages: 240

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Early in this volume, David Ehrenfeld describes what prophecy really is. Referring to the biblical prophets, he says they were not the "holy fortunetellers that the word prophet has come to signify....The business of prophecy is not simply foretelling the future; rather it is describing the present with exceptional truthfulness and accuracy." Once this is done, then it can be seen that broad aspects of the future have suddenly become apparent.
The twentieth century is drawing to a chaotic close amidst portents of unprecedented change and upheaval. The unravelling of societies and civilizations and the destruction of nature march together--linked--a fact whose enormous significance is often lost. In Beginning Again, David Ehrenfeld has undertaken the difficult task of describing the present clearly enough to reveal the future. Out of his broad vision emerges a glimpse of a new millennium: a vision at once frightening and comforting, a scene of great devastation and great rebuilding.
Ehrenfeld ranges far and wide to present a coherent vision of our relationship with Nature--its many aspects and implications--as our century opens into the next millennium. Whether he is writing about the problem of loyalty to organizations, rights versus obligations, our over-managed society, the vanishing of established knowledge, the failure of experts, the triumph of dandelions, Dr. Seuss, Edward Teller, or the future of farming, he is always concerned with the intricate interaction between technology and nature. As in his classic book, The Arrogance of Humanism, Ehrenfeld never loses sight of our fatal love affair with the fantasy of control. We now have no choice, he argues, but to transform the dream of control, of progress, from one of overweening hubris, love of consumption, and the idiot's goal of perpetual growth, to one based on "the inventive imitation of nature," with its honesty, beauty, resilience, and durability.
Few American writers and even fewer scientists can describe these timeless, transcendent qualities of nature so well. In "Places," the opening chapter, David Ehrenfeld tells about nightly vigils he spent alone on the moonlit beach of Tortuguero, watching giant sea turtles emerging from the sea to lay their eggs in the black sand where they were born. "I could watch the perfect white spheres falling," he writes. "Falling as they have fallen for a hundred million years, with the same slow cadence, always shielded from the rain or stars by the same massive bulk with the beaked head and the same large, myopic eyes rimmed with crusts of sand washed out by tears. Minutes and hours, days and months dissolve into eons. I am on an Oligocene beach, an Eocene beach, a Cretaceous beach--the scene is the same. It is night, the turtles are coming back, always back; I hear a deep hiss of breath and catch a glint of wet shell as the continents slide and crash, the oceans form and grow."

"eginning Again is an engaging, well-written book about the interaction between technology, nature, and people. It would bea thought-provoking addition to the reading list for college ecology, natural resources, and public policy courses. It is an interesting book for anyone to read."--Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education "Ecology and religious tradition are both enlisted in search of a new beginning....In the tradition of Thoreau, Muir, and Aldo Leopold, Ehrenfeld mixes technical information with wit and wisdom."--Bryan Norton, BioScience "The ground Ehrenfeld covers gets a good and thorough turning."--Kirkus Reviews "As we stumble towards the millennium, David Ehrenfeld demonstrates convincingly the baggage we should leave behind--the bureaucratic dishonesty, the technological fascinations, that we should wipe from our common slate. Even better, he offers precious glimpses of the real-world pleasures that could replace our unfulfilling and dangerous preoccupations."--Bill McKibben "In the face of so much evidence, here compiled, of human stupidity, it is reassuring to find in the same book abundant evidence of human intelligence. Beginning Again is the work of a fine writer, and it is full of good will and good sense. Those who see the lethal foolishness of the way we are going will find direction here, and will take courage."--Wendell Berry "eginning Again is an engaging, well-written book about the interaction between technology, nature, and people. It would bea thought-provoking addition to the reading list for college ecology, natural resources, and public policy courses. It is an interesting book for anyone to read."--Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education "Ecology and religious tradition are both enlisted in search of a new beginning....In the tradition of Thoreau, Muir, and Aldo Leopold, Ehrenfeld mixes technical information with wit and wisdom."--Bryan Norton, BioScience "The ground Ehrenfeld covers gets a good and thorough turning."--Kirkus Reviews "As we stumble towards the millennium, David Ehrenfeld demonstrates convincingly the baggage we should leave behind--the bureaucratic dishonesty, the technological fascinations, that we should wipe from our common slate. Even better, he offers precious glimpses of the real-world pleasures that could replace our unfulfilling and dangerous preoccupations."--Bill McKibben "In the face of so much evidence, here compiled, of human stupidity, it is reassuring to find in the same book abundant evidence of human intelligence. Beginning Again is the work of a fine writer, and it is full of good will and good sense. Those who see the lethal foolishness of the way we are going will find direction here, and will take courage."--Wendell Berry "This is real prophecy solidly based in knowledge of how the world works now. Read it!"--Paul R. Ehrlich

Taking Bearings
Placesp. 3
The Roots of Prophecy: Orwell and Naturep. 8
The Rain Forest of Selbornep. 29
Desert Lifep. 34
A Turtle Named Mackp. 41
Off Course
The Overmanaged Societyp. 49
Forgettingp. 65
State of the Artp. 73
The Lesson of the Towerp. 79
After Valdezp. 95
Dent de Lion - The Lion's Toothp. 99
The Technology of Destructionp. 104
Hard Times for Diversityp. 114
True Heading
Rightsp. 127
Loyaltyp. 132
Ecosystem Healthp. 139
Down from the Pedestal - A New Role for Expertsp. 147
Asking Unaskable Questions - A Case Studyp. 158
Changing the Way We Farmp. 163
Life in the New Millenniump. 175
Suggested Readingsp. 195
Indexp. 205
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195096378
ISBN-10: 0195096371
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 240
Published: 24th August 1995
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 21.03 x 14.17  x 1.7
Weight (kg): 0.29