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Paperback reissue of a book originally published in 2005.
Dan Dagget believes that humanity can have a positive effect on the land. He demonstrates case after case of positive human engagement in the environment and of managed ecosystems and restored areas that are richer, more diverse, and healthier than unmanaged ones. Much of pre-Columbian America, he contends, was not a pristine wilderness but an ancient garden managed over millennia by native peoples who shaped the plant and animal communities around them to the mutual benefit of all.
Dagget recommends a new kind of environmentalism based on management, science, evolution, and holism, and served by humans who enrich the environment even as they benefit from it. His new environmentalism offers hopeful solutions to the current ecological crisis and a new purpose for our human energies and ideals. Gardeners of Eden is essential reading for anyone concerned with the earth and anyone seeking a viable way for our burgeoning human population to continue to live upon it.
Dan Dagget is an author, public speaker, and a consultant on restorative land management. His first book, Beyond the Rangeland Conflict: Toward a West That Works was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and has been recognized as one of the most important books written about the American West. For more than 30 years he has been involved as an activist with a number of environmental groups from Earth First! to Audubon. He lives in Sedona, AZ with his wife Trish.
Tom Bean is a prolific and well-published photographer based in Flagstaff, AZ. His photographs have been featured in hundreds of publications including National Geographic and Arizona Highways. He has a particular interest in creating images that illustrate the positive interactions of culture and the natural world.
"Dan Dagget sees the world freshly, in a way that may save it, or at least save our capacity to participate creatively in its dynamics. This is the most important conservation manifesto since Aldo Leopold's Land Ethic."
– Gary Paul Nabhan, Ethnobotantist and author of Ethnobotany for the Future and others
"Aldo Leopold once wrote, 'The only progress that counts is on the back forty.' In his new book, Dan Dagget gives us an energizing look at where real progress is being made, and where hope can be found. It's fun, it's provocative, and I guarantee that when you finish this book, you won't look at the West, or the conservation movement, the same way again."
– Courtney White, Co-founder of the Quivira Coalition
"When Dan offered me an advance copy of Gardeners of Eden, I said I didn't want to review it, I wanted to use it, so I took it to Afghanistan with me. They're in a serious drought there and, well, you know the rest of the story. I figured if this stuff will work on a pile of poisonous mine waste in Nevada, it'll work anywhere. In this book, Dan tells us how to be native again. I can't think of anything more valuable than that."
– Hunter Lovins, Co-founder of the Rocky Mountain Institute and CEO of Natural Capitalism, Inc.
"Environmentalism's biggest need isn't for more activists, or even for more protected lands. It most needs new and better ideas. With this book Dan Daggett does more than just think outside the environmental box. He has torn up the old box and built us a new and improved one."
– Ed Marston, former owner and publisher of the High Country News
"A book about healing humankind's alienation from nature. One of those rare books that cause you to see the world through new eyes. Once you see humankind as an integral part of nature, your eyes snap open and all of a sudden the many ways we have or could live in mutual benefit with nature come into view. Part of a new paradigm for a sustainable future. Will become a classic."
– Dennis Church, EcolQ.com