Restoring the Earth

bc_RestoringTheEarth2How Americans are Working to Renew Our Damaged Environment (Alfred A. Knopf and Doubleday, 1985)

Restoring the Earth introduces us to dedicated individuals and groups who have worked, and are working—privately, voluntarily, and often successfully—to repair and restore those damaged natural resources that are so crucial to our present well-being and our future: our water, our land, our wildlife, as well as the cities and towns in which we live. Among the people we meet are a housewife who led the fight to clean up a river in Massachusetts . . . a California pharmacist who saved a redwood forest and who has, with the help of friends, planted 10,000 trees . . . a Pennsylvania mine inspector who repaired strip-mined lands . . . a Wisconsin architect who saved a town afflicted by severe floods and redesigned it as a flood-proof solar village, America’s first. We watch as a small town in Michigan takes on a giant multinational chemical company whose toxic wastes have poisoned their groundwater . . . as a plumber on Cape Cod works to transform a brush-choked ditch into a trout stream like the one Daniel Webster once enjoyed . . . and as a daring, imaginative group of biologists in California routinely risk their lives to rescue an endangered falcon species from extinction. And, finally we are offered proposals—for making existing human settlements more ecologically sound as well as more enjoyable places to live in. Restoring the Earth goes beyond traditional conservation and preservation—it offers the message that something really can be done about the pollution and destruction and waste familiar to all Americans. It should hearten those already committed to environmental causes and offer hope to those who think these problems are beyond solution.


“In the general climate of environmental woes there is an occasional ray of light: a chemist pioneers the technology of building marshes in Chesapeake Bay, and botanists re-create the prairie; a chapter of the organization Trout Unlimited clears and stocks a Cape Cod stream; a village in Wisconsin, rejecting federal flood-relief money, moves to a new site above the flood plain. Berger (Nuclear Power: The Unviable Option) describes public-spirited men and women who have worked to repair and restore our damaged natural resources, with varying degrees of success. The Nashua River in New Hampshire is improved, though still polluted; results of a toxic waste cleanup in Montague, Mich., are as yet unclear. Turning the devastation of abandoned strip mines into productive land has sometimes succeeded, with the cooperation of officialdom and owners. Berger provides some splendid models for the fight for environmental improvement.”

– Publishers Weekly

“This book, the result of eight years of interviews and research, reports ecological restoration efforts from Cape Cod to California, from river reclamation to parenting peregrines. Approaches vary as much as the individuals involved, but common to all is an environmental responsibleness and optimism. Berger advocates a popularly based national restoration movement as one environmentally mature solution to the necessity for stewardship at a time when our planet may well be reaching its own ecological “carrying capacity.” Recommended. Diane M. Brown, University of California Libraries.”

– Library Journal