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For Immediate Release
Wednesday, June 18, 2001

Contact: Lana Pollack, 517-487-9539

Environmental History of Michigan Now Available

Ruin and Recovery by Dave Dempsey, one of Michigan痴 veteran environmental experts, is more than a chronicle of Michigan痴 environmental history; it is a celebration of the forceful and unusual people who have battled to protect Michigan and environment.  Through the vivid personalities of the state's conservation and environmental leaders and their dramatic struggles, Dempsey illustrates that a public clamor for conservation has always been the primary force in Michigan's national leadership.

"Dave Dempsey has done for the conservation wars what Bruce Catton did for the Civil War deftly chronicle the battles and profile the heroes, said George Weeks of the Detroit News.  It is a remarkable book, especially in highlighting citizen action."

 Ruin and Recovery traces the development of Michigan from its admission to the Union in 1837 to the present day, discerning a cyclical pattern of resource exploitation and restoration. Lumberers skinned over 90 percent of the state痴 primeval forest by the early 1900s, leaving a cutover, burned-over north. Forestry pioneers successfully promoted state ownership and management of the ruined lands, forming the base for today痴 18 million acres of Michigan forestland. Industrial and municipal pollution turned rivers blue, white, brown and orange and choked urban skies with smoke in the middle decades of the 20th Century. Environmental activists and conservationists championed nationally significant reforms that banned long-lasting pesticides, curbed phosphorus pollution, required bottle and can recycling, and protected wetlands.

 Ruin and Recovery documents that citizens, both individually and in broad movements, have consistently provided the prime impulse for both private and public reforms. As the state痴 farmlands and sensitive natural features like sand dunes and wetlands are rapidly converted and destroyed in the new century, Dempsey argues, citizens will have to lead the way again through policy changes and by living in harmony with the land.

"Dave Dempsey has sketched the story of how Michigan's leadership in protecting its natural heritage came to be. . . . It is my hope that [this] book will inspire others to carry on this conservation tradition and to assure the quality of life and beauty of landscape that we know in Michigan far into the future, says Former Governor William G. Milliken in a foreword to the book.

Dave Dempsey is currently the Policy Advisor for MEC.  He was environmental adviser to Governor James Blanchard and has been involved in environmental policy since 1982.

The book, published by the University of Michigan Press, is now for sale at the Press痴 web site:  http://www.press.umich.edu and in Michigan bookstores.  Copies can also be obtained by contacting MEC.

Ruin and Recovery by Dave Dempsey, 6 x 9, 368 pages, 20 photographs; cloth, $42.50 US; paper, $19.95 US.

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Michele Scarborough
Member Services Director
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette Ste. 2A
Lansing, MI 48912
(517) 487-9539
(517) 487-9541 (FAX)