Dave Dempsey, Michigan Environmental Council policy advisor,
will read from and sign copies of his book
Ruin and Recovery: Michigan’s Rise as a Conservation Leader
John Rollins Books in Portage MI
Thursday, October 4, at 7 p.m.
John Rollins Books is located at 6414 South Westnedge, Portage MI.
Go south on Westnedge Avenue from I-94 in Kalamazoo.
Rollins's Cafe Noir features coffee and delectables.
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In Ruin and Recovery: Michigan’s Rise as a Conservation
Leader, a new book from the University of Michigan Press, author Dave Dempsey argues that
two things distinguish Michigan from other places – its unparalleled natural beauty and
its history of citizen leadership in healing a damaged environment.
He will emphasize how the pollution and gradual comeback of the Kalamazoo
once regarded as the dirtiest river in Michigan, illustrates the statewide cycles of
environmental ruin and recovery. The Kalamazoo Environmental Council is sponsoring
Ruin and Recovery is a history of Michigan’s conservation and
environmental movement since
the middle 1800s. It is a tale of the people who have worked to conserve Michigan’s
forests and wildlife, clean up its polluted air and water, and secure the health and
natural beauty of the state for the future. Their story can inspire new generations of
Michiganians to defend and restore the state’s beauty and majesty in the 21st Century.
Ruin and Recovery documents the many forces that have nationally
environmental recovery. Newspaper coverage and editorial outrage, independent research and
advocacy by university scientists, conscientious stewardship by a handful of industries,
and courageous leadership by public officials have all contributed to the state’s
But 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’s 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 by working for policy changes and by living in harmony with the land.
George Lauff, a well-respected Kalamazoo area ecologist and conservationist
who serves on the Board
of Directors of the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy, was particularly struck by
accounts in the book of the tension that has existed over the years between commercial
enterprise and protection of air, land and water resources. “Indeed, this is an ever
present challenge as the pressures of development and sprawl consume productive
agricultural land and impact ecologically important lands that are pivotal to maintenance
of biological diversity and protection of surface and ground water resources. In reading
Dempsey’s book, I was impressed with the important role that individuals,
conservation-oriented groups, and a hard-hitting press have played.”
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Dave Dempsey is currently a policy advisor for the Michigan Environmental
Lansing. A graduate of Western Michigan University, he also has a master’s degree from
Michigan State University in resource development and served as environmental advisor to
former Michigan Governor Jim Blanchard from 1983 to 1990. Phone 517-487-9539. Email
George Lauff is a well-respected ecologist and conservationist.
He served as Director of
the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station and is currently on the Board of Directors of the
Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy. Phone 671-5630. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Excerpts and photos from the book may be viewed on the Michigan Environmental
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For Information: Kay Chase, Kalamazoo Environmental Council,
leave message at 388-3777 or