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A Contract with the Earth

Newt Gingrich and Terry L. Maple foreword by E. O. Wilson

Publication Year: 2007

Focusing the environmental debate on the principle of common commitment, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and eminent conservationist Terry L. Maple present A Contract with the Earth. They declare a need for bipartisan environmentalism—a new era of environmental stewardship with principles that they believe most Americans will share. While acknowledging that liberals and conservatives do not see eye to eye on many issues, Gingrich and Maple argue successfully that environmental stewardship is a mainstream value that transcends partisan politics. Their thoughtful approaches to our environmental challenges are based on three main premises: environmental leadership is integral to America's role in the world, technologically savvy environmental entrepreneurs can and should be the cornerstone of environmental solutions, and cooperation and incentives must be dramatically increased to achieve workable and broadly supported environmental solutions. Gingrich and Maple believe that most people—regardless of how they categorize themselves politically—are weary of the legal and political conflicts that prevent individuals and communities from realizing the benefits of environmental conservation. The foundation of the book—a ten-point Contract with the Earth—promotes ingenuity over rhetoric as the way forward.

Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press

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pp. ix-x

A Contract with the Earth is an important book at multiple levels. In simple and clear language, it conveys what all people, and Americans in particular, need to know about the environmental crisis: the nature of the problem, the cost of inaction, how to fix the problem, and the many benefits that will follow if we take action now. ...

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pp. xi-xv

Terry Maple and I share a lifelong passion and persistent curiosity about the natural world. In our childhoods, separated by the breadth of our great nation, in California and Pennsylvania, respectively, we spent countless hours outdoors examining the wealth of small creatures living in our midst. We explored the hills, canyons, lakes, and ...

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pp. xvii-xix

This book is a collaboration that evolved over many years. We gratefully acknowledge the intellectual contributions and social support of many colleagues and friends throughout the world who have helped us to assimilate knowledge and to focus our passion for the environment. ...

Are You a Mainstream Environmentalist?

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pp. xxi-xxii

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1. Framing the Contract

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pp. 1-8

Whether we like it or not, humanity has assumed responsibility for the welfare of the earth and all the noble creatures that share it. The scale of human civilization, the volume of our economic activity, and the power of science and technology have made us shapers of much of the earth. The power to shape leads inevitably to a responsibility ...

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2. A Contract with the Earth

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pp. 9-18

Our nation’s moral obligation to provide effective environmental leadership will require the formation of new strategic partnerships among nations, nongovernmental organizations, and multinational corporations dedicated to protecting and renewing the earth’s precious resources. International partnerships can only be achieved with presidential leadership and significant bipartisan support in Congress. ...

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3. A Matter of Respect

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pp. 19-35

Who among us lacks a fundamental respect for the earth? Without respect, we would not bother to recycle or care for our gardens or brake for the errant squirrel. Parents universally teach their children to respect the environment, encouraging them not to litter or waste energy. We want our schools to reveal the many interconnections and interdependencies between the environment and our ...

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4. Missed Opportunities

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pp. 37-59

Information technology has profoundly and permanently altered the world that molds and shapes our behavior at home and in the workplace. Today, we communicate with lightning speed, experience the news 24/7, and live in a house with jumbo-sized talking heads. It’s a totally different world compared to the subdued community of our youth; there is a lot to like about it, but sometimes ...

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5. Partnering for the Earth

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pp. 61-83

When Winston Churchill said, ‘‘If we are together nothing is impossible. If we are divided all will fail,’’ the Allies were in the midst of the greatest military struggle of the twentieth century. Perhaps if Churchill were alive in our time, he would direct his supportive comments ...

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6. Entrepreneurial Environmentalism

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pp. 85-105

As you drive south on the Florida turnpike, anticipating the magical properties of Everglades National Park and the Florida Keys, you are startled by massive mounds of trash heaped much too close to this modern roadway— higher than you would ever expect a landfill to reach. Above the heap, hundreds of shorebirds circle, punctuated by the dark silhouettes of the ubiquitous black vultures so common to this region. ...

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7. Environmental Philanthropy

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pp. 107-124

The American president known far and wide as ‘‘Teddy’’ was a passionate environmentalist/conservationist and a genuine pioneer, who reflected the prevailing spirit and attitudes of the period. He passionately hunted and fished throughout America and abroad. His larder from an African safari in 1909 was impressive by an earlier standard, but it astounds us today. His yearlong expedition ...

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8. Renewing the Natural World

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pp. 125-152

John Muir, for most of his adult life, experienced nature in spiritual overtones. His intense advocacy for the Sierra landscape culminated in his role as the leader of a morally inspired preservation movement based on aesthetics. He and his followers resisted efforts to use the land ...

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9. Leading the Way to a Better World

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pp. 153-170

Bold leadership will be a critical factor as we attempt to build a better world, but effective leadership requires knowledge, patience, and perspective. At all levels of government, in our businesses and in our homes, we all have to filter information made even more difficult by ideas cascading from the Internet. Where do we go to find ...

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10. From Many, One

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pp. 171-183

Our Contract with the Earth is intended to inspire, but it may not inspire you to feel differently. Rather, we hope, it will inspire you to see differently. It examines the landscape of the last several and the next ninety-plus years, the one hundred years that define this ‘‘environmental century.’’ No longer should we view the environment as ...

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pp. 185-197

As we anxiously awaited the turn of a century and the benchmark of the millennium, the world was captivated by the doomsday vision of the dreaded Y2K phenomenon. Dire predictions drove computer upgrades in every household, business, and most nation-states throughout the world. Looking back at Y2K, it is easy to take the position that our vigilance worked because nothing bad happened when the clock struck midnight and we entered the ...

Sources and Suggested Reading

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pp. 199-207


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pp. 209-222

E-ISBN-13: 9780801891656
E-ISBN-10: 0801891655
Print-ISBN-13: 9780801887802
Print-ISBN-10: 0801887801

Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2007