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Green Voices: Defending Nature and the Environment in American Civic Discourse

Essays addressing relatively unknown or unexamined speeches delivered by famous or influential environmental figures

By: Richard D Besel(Editor), Bernard K Duffy(Editor), Philip C Wander(Foreword By)

State University of New York Press

Hardback | May 2016 | #226164 | ISBN-13: 9781438458496
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £67.75 $87/€74 approx

About this book

The written works of nature's leading advocates – from Charles Sumner and John Muir to Rachel Carson and President Jimmy Carter, to name a few – have been the subject of many texts, but their speeches remain relatively unknown or unexamined. Green Voices aims to redress this situation. After all, when it comes to the leaders, heroes, and activists of the environmental movement, their speeches formed part of the fertile earth from which uniquely American environmental expectations, assumptions, and norms germinated and grew. Despite having in common a definitively rhetorical focus, the contributions in Green Voices reflect a variety of methods and approaches. Some concentrate on a single speaker and a single speech. Others look at several speeches. Some are historical in orientation, while others are more theoretical. In other words, this collection examines the broad sweep of US environmental history from the perspective of our most famous and influential environmental figures.


Philip C. Wander


Introduction: Green Voices in the Swelling Chorus of American Environmental Advocacy
Richard D. Besel and Bernard K. Duffy

1. Coming to Grips with the Size of America’s Environment: Charles Sumner Says Farewell to Montesquieu
Michael J. Hostetler

2. “I had been crying in the wilderness”: John Muir’s Shifting Sublime Response
Richard D. Besel and Bernard K. Duffy

3. Theodore Roosevelt and the Progressive Impulses of Conservation
Leroy G. Dorsey

4. See America First! The Aesthetics of Environmental Exceptionalism
Anne Marie Todd

5. A Call to Partnership, Health, and Pure Fire: A Vital Vision of the Future in Aldo Leopold’s “The Farmer as a Conservationist” Address
Melba Hoffer

6. “Conserving not scenery, but the human spirit itself”: The Environmental Oratory of Sigurd Olson
C. Brant Short

7. “What’s wrong with a little emotion?”: Margaret E. Murie’s Wilderness Rhetoric
Elizabeth Lawson

8. Rachel Carson’s War of Words against Government and Industry: Challenging the Objectivity of American Scientific Discourse
Michel M. Haigh and Ann Marie Major

9. Mortification and Moral Equivalents: Jimmy Carter’s Energy Jeremiad and the Limits of Civic Sacrifice
Terence Check

10. Lois Gibb’s Rhetoric of Care: Voicing a Relational Ethic of Compassion, Inclusivity, and Community in Response to the Toxic Disaster at Love Canal
Katie L. Gibson

11. Frank Church’s Natural Place in American Public Address: Light Green Orations That Saved “The River of No Return Wilderness”
Ellen W. Gorsevski

12. We will live to piss on their graves”: Edward Abbey, Radical Environmentalism, and the Birth of Earth First!
Derek G. Ross

13. “I’m angry both as a citizen and a father”: Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s Melodramatic Discourse on the Environmental Consequences of “Crony Capitalism”
Ross Singer

14. Ashley Judd’s Indictment of Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining: A Stain on the Conscience of America
Beth M. Waggenspack and Matthew Vandyke

15. Environmental Racism and Environmental Justice: Benjamin Chavis Jr. and Issues of Definition and Community
Richard W. Leeman

About the Contributors

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Richard D. Besel is Associate Professor of Communication Studies at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and coeditor (with Jnan A. Blau) of Performance on Behalf of the Environment.

Bernard K. Duffy is Professor and Department Chair of Communication Studies at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and coeditor (with Richard W. Leeman) of The Will of a People: A Critical Anthology of Great African American Speeches.

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