“There is a cost in disrupting the status quo, but what is the cost if we do nothing?”
This question was asked by Terry Tempest Williams, author of Refuge and When Women Were Birds, during a recent reading and book-signing in Seattle.
Williams is a fierce—albeit soft-spoken—activist, conservationist, and wordsmith, and several of our staffers were lucky enough to see Williams talk about her latest book, The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks.
The Hour of Land is about various journeys taken to 14 parks across the country, from the Alaskan Gates of the Arctic to Florida’s Gulf Islands National Seashore, through Williams’ lens of personal experiences, familial connections, and quippy anecdotes. These stories, each given a stand-alone chapter per park, are at times moving (like her inaugural, intense connection with the natural world while stranded alone, in complete darkness, at the heart of a mountain) and historical (putting the parks in a contextual light through important figures and events like Theodore Roosevelt, the Rockefellers, and the Civil War). However, her experiences are also concerning—she talks about the current and very real threats of these wild spaces due to human inhabitants and unchecked expansion.
“I think our national parks are breathing spaces for a country continually holding its breath.”
This book provides a respite for anyone seeking such a breathing space. It’s an absolute must-read for those stricken with wanderlust or those joining, or already apart of, the battalion of ecological conservation. Through her experiences with the parks, readers come to understand, if they didn’t already, the fundamental importance of preserving these magical lands—the lands that give America the much-needed breathing spaces in our changing world. And, while the looming concern of ecological threats abound,The Hour of Land also provides hope for our public lands, which she argues are ours and thus ours to protect.
Win a signed copy of The Hour of Land!
To do our little part, we’re giving away The Hour of Land to one of our lucky readers. To enter, tell us what the national parks mean to you in a couple sentences either:
Entries must be submitted by Tuesday, July 12, 2016, at 11:59 p.m. PST, and we will select a winner on Wednesday, July 13.
Good luck (and stay wild).