|This wide-ranging collection of essays is intended to
provoke both thought and action. The pieces collected here explore a
variety of issues facing the American West — disappearing Native
American languages, deteriorating air quality, suburban sprawl, species
loss, grassland degradation, and many others — and suggest steps
toward “healing.” More than “dealing with” or
“solving,” according to the editors, healing addresses not
just symptoms but their underlying causes, offering not just a
temporary cure but a permanent one.
The signs of illness and trauma can seem omnipresent in today’s
West: land and soil disrupted from mining, overgrazing, logging, and
farming; wildlife habitat reduced and fragmented; native societies
disturbed and threatened; open space diminished by cities and suburbs;
wilderness destroyed by roads and recreation-seekers.
But as these
essays suggest, the “treatment program” for healing the
West has many healthful side effects.
Engaging in the kinds of projects suggested by contributors is
therapeutic not only for the environment but for participants as well.
Restoration, repair, and recovery can counter symptoms of despair with
concentrated doses of promise and possibility.
The more “lesions” the West has, this book suggests, the
more opportunities there are for westerners to revive and ultimately
cure the ailing patient they have helped to create. The very idea of
restoring the West to health, contributors and editors contend,
unleashes our imaginations, sharpens our minds, and gives meaning to
the ways we choose to live our lives. At the same time, acknowledging
the profound difficulties of the work that lies ahead immunizes us
against our own arrogance as we set about the task of healing the West.
Remedies for a New
Healing Landscapes, Histories, and Cultures
by Patricia Nelson Limerick, Andrew Cowell, and Sharon K. Collinge
University of Arizona Press,
The Nature Pages