Wilderness, Water, and Rust: A Journey toward Great Lakes Resilience asks us to consider what we value about life in the Great Lakes watershed and how the remarkable ecosystems that define the region may help us imagine new, whole futures. Weaving together memories from her life in the upper Midwest with nearly fifty years of environmental policy advocacy work, Elder provides a uniquely moving insider’s perspective into the quest to protect the Great Lakes and surrounding public lands, from past battles to protect Michigan wilderness and expand the region’s national lakeshores to present fights against toxic pollution and climate change. Situated within the region’s broader history, Wilderness, Water, and Rust argues endless cycles of resource exploitation and boom and bust trapped the Great Lakes’ natural world and human communities in a “rust belt” and threaten our future capacity to thrive. The author lays out the challenges that lie ahead and invites us to imagine bold new strategies through which we might thrive.
Jane Elder has been at the center of the struggle to protect the Great Lakes for four decades. Her memoir is as entertaining as it is thought-provoking. While not overlooking setbacks and defeats, Jane, in exquisite prose, provides hope for the Great Lakes, the planet, and ourselves. —Dave Dempsey, author of Half Wild: People, Dogs, and Environmental Policy and The Heart of the Lakes: Freshwater in the Past, Present, and Future of Southeast Michigan, and former policy advisor, International Joint Commission