Friday, November 21, 2008

Chuck Warnock review of American Earth by Bill McKibben

My old friend Chuck Warnock (right) has a review of Bill McKibben's
American Earth on Chuck's blog, Confessions of a Small Church Pastor. For those of us who are vitally interested the earth, the environment and what is happening to it, the book and the review are both worth reading.

Chuck writes:

This one volume provides a rich orientation to the world of environmental writing which McKibben contends is “America’s single most distinctive contribution to the world’s literature.” If Walden is the book everyone claims to revere but few have actually read, American Earth offers an accessible door into not only Walden, but 100 more works of significance in the annals of environmentalism. McKibben, himself the groundbreaking author of The End of Nature, the first account of global warming’s consequences, selects each author with the care of a conductor assembling a fine orchestra.

The book is packed full of chapters and articles of people who have written about the environment, whether or not they are thought of as environmentalists. These range from Rachel Carson to John Steinbeck.
You will not agree with all the pieces included. Lynn White’s essay, “The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis” lays the blame (in 1967) for the environmental problems of the US on the Christian worldview. Or, at least the popular Christian worldview that saw the world as man’s plaything, to use or use up as he chose. White concludes his essay with the life of St. Francis of Assisi, and nominates Francis as patron saint of environmentalists because of Francis’ teaching on humility and his love for all of God’s creation.

So be it. It's past time for an intelligent, informed conversation on what we should be doing about what we have done. McKibben's book sounds like the place to start.

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