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The Left Hand of Eden

Meditations on Nature and Human Nature

William Ashworth

6 × 9 inches. 256 pages.

1999. ISBN 978-0-87071-460-3. Paperback, $19.95.

**Literary Arts Winner Oregon Book Award**

This important contribution to the growing debate over the protection of wilderness areas comes from an unusual perspective — that of an environmentalist arguing against preservation.

A longtime activist, William Ashworth grew frustrated with the environmental movement and its efforts to preserve wilderness. In this provocative book he explores "the disharmony that exists between the laws of nature and the laws we use to protect it." Ashworth argues that wilderness preservation is a form of separation from the land and, as such, is as harmful to nature as logging or mining. Treating nature as something "other" — whether to preserve it or destroy it — creates a false dichotomy, from which all modern environmental battles arise: use versus preservation, civilization versus wilderness.

Ashworth presents his bold and original ideas in a series of linked nature essays. In these powerful, poetic writings he shows that proper care for the land requires not just use or reverence, but use with reverence. "Careful use of resources is the key to preserving them," he writes. "It not only works: it is the only thing that ever has."

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