Environmental Attitudes

Jerry DavisBy now many who have an interest in things environmental have at least heard of Tom Heberlein’s new book, “Navigating Environmental Attitudes” (Oxford University Press, 2012).

Because Heberlein makes numerous analogies to rafting, rivers and boulders, I dubbed it the Rivers and Rocks book.

Heberlein is a retired University of Wisconsin-Madison community and environmental sociologist.  He’s an outdoorsman.

He’s a person who I presume would not be surprised if I told him of my experience of writing about deer eating oak saplings, then showed doubting Thomas’ the evidence, and still had them walk away not being willing to admit it was deer damage.

This “college textbook” will do at least two things for general readers:  provide a better understanding of Aldo Leopold’s 1949 book, “A Sand County Almanac” and sadly, suggest why deer management disagreements could outlive everyone who purchased a hunting license in 2012.

Still, it’s interesting to learn why so many attempts to bring deer in balance with their changing ecosystem have and are likely to continue to fail.

It could be paradoxical to even suggest this would be a great book for those struggling to change, or not change, their environmental attitudes.

Readers will read in “Rivers and Rocks” that in many cases thinking that just trying to educate someone is an answer to changing one’s attitude and eventually their actions.

There are some, who reject, even ignore, science and facts.  And those are not the ones who get lumps on their heads from banging against walls.

Still, I am going to recommend reading, and then thinking about the science of attitudes.  If nothing else, maybe it will make those individuals better at rafting down a wild river.

Categories: Wisconsin – Jerry Davis

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