cover image Sacred Trusts: Essays on Stewardship and Responsibility

Sacred Trusts: Essays on Stewardship and Responsibility

. Mercury House, $17.95 (304pp) ISBN 978-1-56279-056-1

Cautionary and elegiac, these 30 mostly original essays by nature writers well-known and obscure provoke much thought about our responsibility to our environment. Some writers are pessimistic: Dan O'Brien, lamenting the destruction of the Black Hills, warns that their possible return to the Sioux might bring no improvement; Kris L. Hardin, after observing an African community where little was wasted, suggests that Americans have fought only symbolic environmental battles. Others are meditative: Alston Chase, returning to his Montana ranch roots, argues that only rural people--not urban environmentalists--have a true commitment to nature and to the land. There are some victories: rock climber and clothing maker Yvon Chouinard reports on striving to make his company Patagonia a ``sustainable business''; Bill McKibben recalls how his mountain community organized to fight a poorly planned landfill. Amidst the essays on rivers and mountains, that of Robert F. Jones stands out. Arguing that humanism has destroyed nature, he offers Swiftian methods of population control: encourage abortion and assassination, let AIDS and other epidemics run rampant, and give Dr. Kevorkian a Nobel prize. Katakis is the author of The Vietnam Veterans Memorial. (Sept.)