The political environmentalism of the past thirty five years was born out of necessity. Business as usual was not protecting the air, water and land. Grievous acts of pollution were crossing local and state borders.
Brent Haglund and Thomas Still believe that the regulatory actions of the 1960s and 1970s were necessary medicine to help cure careless society. But they also argue that over the years, the cure became something of a disease itself. What began as a check on environmental abuses grew into a command and control system that created a widening gulf between people and the natural world theyâ€™re daily lives are part of.
Writing for those who wonder how to get past the environmental nanny state and reach the next level of stewardship, Haglund and Still describe the concept of â€œcivic environmentalismâ€ which is based on values such as local control, personal responsibility, government accountability and economic opportunity.
At the core of this book are success stories showing that civic environmentalism works. In Louisiana private landowners formed the Black Bear Conservation Committee to bring back the black bear from near extinction at the same time that they avoided an endangered species designation that would have affected private property rights. In Arizona, the White Mountain Apache tribe uses the income from hunting licenses to fund an innovative wildlife management program that promotes economic development for its people. In Wisconsin the last dam was removed from the Baraboo River because the River Alliance brought landowners and governmental agencies together to promote change without lawsuits and polarization.
Part situation report, part manifesto, Hands On Environmentalism shows that it is possible to reach voluntary, enduring solutions to pressing environmental problems without heavy handed governmental intervention.