E. Freyfogle, Why Conservation is Failing and How it Can Regain Ground
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Eric Freyfogle has spent his career studying land-use law, and has written often about how a society’s conception of property rights affects the patterns and ecological processes of a landscape. In his new book, provocatively titled Why Conservation is Failing and How It Can Regain Ground, he roams over much broader intellectual terrain. His central thesis is that conservationists have responded to their critics in a piecemeal and ad-hoc way. We have, according to Freyfogle, mostly offered technocratic solutions justified by occasional appeals to utilitarian philosophy, rather than a coherent moral vision of the world. He quite bravely steps forward onto the public stage to announce such a vision.
The most important, moving passage of the book is in its last six pages. Summoning the rhetoric of Aldo Leopold, Freyfogle writes a fictional presidential address to the United States, urging its citizens “to find ways to keepthe land healthy... not for one generation but for many.” Just as...