My Green Manifesto: Down the Charles River in Pursuit of a New Environmentalism

David Gessner. Milkweed (PGW, dist.), $15 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-57131-324-9
In this funny and inspiring manifesto, Gessner (Return of the Osprey) canoes down Boston's Charles River with Dan Driscoll, an upbeat, pot-smoking, environmental planner, who has spent nearly 20 years fighting to revitalize the once famously polluted river. As they paddle, Gessner meditates on environmentalism (which he thinks has "lost its soul"), on global warming, and the "shrill warnings about our pending doom" sounding from the environmental community. Gessner sets out to find a new environmentalism, something "that is a part of [his] everyday life, not running roughshod over it." For Gessner, environmentalism begins with a connection to a particular place. It needs advocates like Driscoll, "a stubborn guy who fell in love with a place and then fought like hell for it." And while his friend's fight to bring a bit of the natural world back to the banks of the Charles may not account for much in the long run, Gessner believes that committing to a lifelong environmental fight is an act of personal fulfillment. The book is an easy, pleasurable read, with an environmental message that seems true enough: there is still transcendence to be found in the "limited wild" of our own communities. So get out there, enjoy it, and fight for it before it's gone because, at least according to Gessner, this is the key to a better life. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/06/2011
Release date: 07/01/2011
Genre: Nonfiction
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