The Great Remembering: Further Thoughts on Land, Soul and Society

Year Published:

2001

Great Remembering CoverBy Peter Forbes

Published by Trust for Public Land

The Great Remembering is an activist's exploration of what land means to our culture. In three chapters, "The Extinction of Experience," "Dissent and Defiance," and "Building a New Commons," the author traces the roots of our disconnection from place and from meaningful stories about our lives. He discusses what he terms the "ethics of enough"--the growing trend to slow down and place the quality of our experiences over the quantity of our possessions. It is through preserving land and rebuilding the relationship between land and people, he argues, that our culture can not only restore natural habitats, but revitalize human communities as well.

In his introduction to the book, the Trust for Public Land's president, Will Rogers, writes, "The time has come for some hard questions and new approaches to land conservation. . . the pace of development and the impact of often poorly conceived growth on the American landscape have accelerated. . . How can we rethink our work as conservationists to change how our society approaches not just land use, but also our relationship with each other, our sense of community, and our responsibilities of citizens of a rapidly shrinking world?" Whether we are conservationists or citizens concerned about the quality of our lives and landscapes, The Great Remembering helps us begin to answer these questions and to work toward restoring a vital, interdependent, whole-land community.

Trust for Public Land's companion book, Our Land, Ourselves (1999), gathered together a diverse collection of readings on the many themes of people and place. Peter Forbes' introductions to those readings suggested a new way of viewing land conservation as the process of building values and shaping human lives. In The Great Remembering, he goes a step further, arguing that land conservation has the power to transform the heart and soul of our communities and to restore a set of values to a society that is increasingly fragmented and individualistic.