Thoreau, the Ecological Prophet
Edited by Carol Spenard LaRusso
New World Library, $14.00, 105 pages
Although Henry David Thoreau died 150 years ago, his voice still resonates as a prophetic spokesman for nature and as a dire warning to the 21 century against rampant materialism, technology, and the continual degradation to the ecosystem.
The Green Thoreau, an 89 paged book is divided into eight short chapters with an assortment of quotations from his lesser-known essays and books on Nature, Technology, Livelihood, Living, Possessions, Time, Diet and Food, and Aspirations. Many of Thoreau’s quotes are so poignant that they demand to be shared, such as, “This winter they are cutting down our woods more seriously than ever….Thank God, they cannot cut down the clouds!” And passages that show Thoreau’s oneness and love for nature, “The earth is not a mere fragment of dead history, stratum upon stratum like the leaves of a book, to be studies by geologists….but living poetry like the leaves of a tree, which precede flowers and fruit-not a fossil earth, but a living earth.” Thoreau also believed that greed and materialism would lead to the destruction of the environment. “If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer; but if he spends his whole day as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is esteemed an industrious and enterprising citizen.”
This reviewer found the snippets of Thoreau’s quotes sprinkled about the book tantalizing, but at the same time, disappointing that there was not more depth and breadth to the subject that so richly deserved further exploration.
Reviewed by Sheila Erwin