Quote 6. Practical Advice to Environmentalists, quoted by Stephanie Mills

Button found 14 April 2011 and reused

 

Save the Earth.  Pitch In. Help Out.  A very little goes a long way.  If you’re interested call.  Don’t stop trying.

This advice appears in the Stephanie Mills book In Praise of Nature (p.165).  Mills mentions that sometime around 1990 four little girls who had learned that the Earth was endangered were visiting homes in her neighborhood to spread the alarm by handing out colored posters they had made. The one they gave her showed “our blue and green planet rising in a field of eight yellow stars” and included the quoted text.

Stephanie Mills attended college in California, where she made an environmental name for herself at a young age with the commencement address she gave in the spring of 1969 at her graduation.  Under the influence of Paul Ehrlich’s writings on human population, she told the other graduates and their parents that we were breeding ourselves out of existence and announced that “the most humane thing” for her to do was “to have no children at all.”  It made a media splash and Mills joined in the very active environmental movement  around San Francisco.  Along with many talks here and there around the country, she was involved with writing and editing such publications as Earth Times and the Whole Earth Catalog.

In the mid-1980s Mills became a Michigander, moving to the Traverse City area near the tip of the Lower Peninsula. A few years later,  she began work on In Praise of Nature.

Published to correspond with Earth Day 1990, In Praise of Nature is a selection of environmental writings edited by Mills (assisted by Jeanne Carstensen) and published by Island Press, a California-based non-profit that aims to publish “the most advanced thinking on the conservation of our natural resources.”

The book has a somewhat cumbersome format but manages to include brief reviews of and short selections from a good many books important in the 20th-century development of environmental thought.  Included are pieces by serious students and thinkers such as Aldo Leopold, George Perkins Marsh, Rachel Carson, and John Muir plus other more journalistic contributions that summarized the current state of various environmental topics.

There is a plenty of good environmental prose to be found in the book, but as practical environmental advice, not much of it is as strong or useful as the admonitions of the four young Michigan girls.

Save the Earth!  Pitch In. Help Out.  A very little goes a long way!  If you’re interested, call.  Don’t stop trying!

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