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What We Leave Behind (英語) ペーパーバック – 2009/4/7

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What We Leave Behind is a piercing, impassioned guide to living a truly responsible life on earth. Human waste, once considered a gift to the soil, has become toxic material that has broken the essential cycle of decay and regeneration. Here, award-winning author Derrick Jensen and activist Aric McBay weave historical analysis and devastatingly beautiful prose to remind us that life—human and nonhuman—will not go on unless we do everything we can to facilitate the most basic process on earth, the root of sustainability: one being's waste must always become another being’s food.


Activist, philosopher, teacher, and leading voice of uncompromising dissent, DERRICK JENSEN holds degrees in creative writing and mineral engineering physics. In 2008, he was named one of the Utne Reader’s "50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World," and in 2006 he was named Press Action’s Person of the Year for his work on the book Endgame. He lives in California. 

Writer, activist, and small-scale organic farmer ARIC MCBAY works to share information about community sufficiency and off-the-grid skills. He is the author of Peak Oil Survival: Preparation for Life after Gridcrash and creator of "In the Wake: A Collective Manual-in-Progress for Outliving Civilization" (


  • ペーパーバック: 464ページ
  • 出版社: Seven Stories Press (2009/4/7)
  • 言語: 英語
  • ISBN-10: 1583228675
  • ISBN-13: 978-1583228678
  • 発売日: 2009/4/7
  • 商品パッケージの寸法: 15.3 x 3.1 x 22.9 cm
  • Amazon 売れ筋ランキング: 洋書 - 1,300,203位 (洋書の売れ筋ランキングを見る)
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星1つ で最も参考になったカスタマーレビュー (beta) 20 件のカスタマーレビュー
40 人中、39人の方が、「このレビューが参考になった」と投票しています。
A passionate polemic against industrial civilization 2009/9/2
投稿者 Dennis Littrell - (
形式: ペーパーバック
While I'm going to disagree with a lot of what Derrick Jensen and his co-author Aric McBay have to say, I am in substantial agreement with their central thesis which is that industrial civilization is not sustainable as it currently exists. Whether industrial civilization can be altered to make it sustainable is what is arguable. Personally I believe it can be. Jensen does not.

I'm giving five stars to this book because it is passionately written and full of insights and knowledge that I wish were more widely known and appreciated. Jensen is an extremely knowledgeable and brilliant man. He is also a bitter and angry man. This book is a long polemic against what he sees as the on-going destruction of this planet by an unsustainable industrial society, a society willfully ignorant of what it is doing.

Where I part company with Jensen is in the identification of the underlying problem, which to me is too many people on the planet. For some reason, although he obliquely acknowledges that we have too many people, Jensen deemphasizes the crucial importance of this fact and even ignores it to concentrate on mostly industrial pollution and the destruction of the planet's ecosystems by the industrial machine. Implicit and central to Jensen's understanding is the idea that if you are spending 10 calories of energy for every one calorie of food produced (see pages 339 and 361 for this claim, which I suspect is close to correct) you have a situation that is headed for collapse in a world with 6.5-billion people. If however the same ratio were applied to a world with say half a billion people, it might be sustainable since there would be a surplus of energy available. Of course it would be much better if we were to both reduce our numbers and to employ more economic and sustainable means of subsistence.

"What We Leave Behind" are the waste products of industrialized society. Jensen makes a distinction between the natural wastes from our bodies--including our bodies!--which help to sustain the planet's ecosystems, and the wastes from our industrial machines which mostly do not. These wastes include everything from toxic metals to rank poisons to plastics to spent nuclear materials. He seems to believe that we cannot keep these wastes from harming the planet whereas I believe we can. It is a question of the proper use of technology and a political willingness to do things in a non-polluting and sustainable manner. In part Jensen's cynicism stems from his observation that corporations which account for most of the pollution are psychopathic entities that exist to maximize profits while externalizing costs. That is their nature: they cannot behave otherwise. Externalizing costs means dumping wastes onto somebody else's backyard or onto the laps of future generations. Make no mistake about it: that is what our giant corporations are doing today and have been doing since their inception.

Let me jump ahead to Jensen's solution. He has a five point plan for resistance in the pen-ultimate chapter, "Fighting Back." I won't outline it here except to mention that for Jensen the goal does indeed justify the means. He wants the culture to be "dismantled completely" (p. 381) and he wants to employ and disrupt the "centralized industrial and economic systems" themselves. (p. 382). He believes that fighting back "means not using violence when it's appropriate to not use violence..." and "using violence when it is appropriate to use violence." (p. 383) Jensen justifies his extreme position with this rationale: "Do you think that Martin Luther King, Jr. would have been so successful if the government hadn't been afraid of Malcolm X?" (p. 397)

Jensen's argument rests on two presumptions, one, that things really are so bad and the planet's situation really so desperate that an overthrow of the system is imperative--now. And two, it is impossible for the system to change by its own accord. Like a junkie, industrial civilization must crash and burn before it has even a glimmer that change is necessary. After rejecting the possibility of a sustainable "technotopia"--a society in which technology is used in a sustainable way--Jensen comes to what he considers is most likely to happen: collapse. He recalls that Rome collapsed because it ran out of people and resources to exploit. He sees the same thing happening to industrial civilization. In this I think he may very well be correct because of the short-sightedness of our leaders and our institutions that are unable to look much past the next quarter's economic numbers.

Jensen argues that it is not enough to conserve energy and recycle wastes as individuals. Most of the waste and pollution comes from industry itself, as Jensen points out, not from individuals. His clarion call is nothing less than a call to revolution. I think this is correct (and probably inevitable) when the situation is truly desperate. But to take arms against the system when one's belly is full one must have the true believer's mentality, which in this case is the system will not change without the use of force. If there is a revolution against industrial civilization I suspect it will come from without, from those people in the exploited world who may very well be going to bed hungry and who have little to lose. In fact we may be seeing the scattered, disconnected and sporadic beginnings of a planetary revolution in the acts of terrorism that are today instigated by religious extremists. When the Vandals crash through the gates, we'll know. Until then it's unlikely that people in the industrialized world are going to heed Jensen's call to arms.

What I hope happens is that we have enough far-sighted, aware and educated people to bring about a change without having to go through the horrors of collapse or revolution. History suggests however that I am wrong and that Jensen is right.

Read or not read this extraordinary book at your peril.
20 人中、17人の方が、「このレビューが参考になった」と投票しています。
The right book at the right time 2009/4/24
投稿者 Matt Hannah - (
形式: ペーパーバック
It sounds funny but I've been really waiting for a book about garbage. Anybody's who done a little bit of roadside clean up and wondered what the world will eventually look like if this continues will be discomforted to learn that we are creating the equivalent of several Manhattan's stacked end to end with garbage filled World Trade Centers a year and then some. This country alone.

Anybody's who's been smacking his or her head in the last year or two about eco-chic weddings, hybrid cars and biofuel will also be in good company. What's so incredible about this book is that the authors unmask not only the usual propagandists at work, but more importantly our own desires to delude ourselves.

This book also analyzes our relationship to the earth via decay and decomposition. I had never thought so much about these processes on such a microscopic scale. Anyone who's marveled at the collaboration happening in nature will be enthralled by this book's window into some of life's less savory collaborations (the conversion of the dead into food, of our own waste into food).

This book is not cheery reading but it's good medicine.

If you've read _Endgame_ by the way, this book goes into some new and very interesting places and I would say is ultimately more motivating. I also whole-heartedly recommend "How Shall I Live My Life?" which despite the overearnest title is the best collection of interviews I've ever read on the subject of not just environmentalism but also on living a full and beautiful life.
6 人中、6人の方が、「このレビューが参考になった」と投票しています。
Reading it is like having a conversation with your own heart 2010/6/1
投稿者 Amazon Customer - (
形式: ペーパーバック
I have begun to read many environmental books. Often, I don't finish them, either because the treatment of the subject is too superficial, or because the writing makes them unappealing to read.

I picked up a copy of What we Leave Behind at my local library, intending to decide if it was worth checking out. This book was so good and so comfortable to read, that I ended up standing next to the book shelf for nearly an hour, until the library closed. I finished the book in one sitting at home that night.

The book's words are intelligent, humorous and very touching. The experience of reading them is even more profound than having a conversation with a trusted friend - it is like having a conversation with your own heart. That is a unique reading experience!

The book shows the dangers of compartmentalization. Compartmentalization is how Nazi doctors could try to help concentration camp inmates without ever challenging the system and assumptions that brought the victims to the camps.

Anyone who loves the natural world has noticed its decline - many species gone extinct, lakes so poisonous we can't even swim in them, let alone drink out of them as our ancestors did, an 80% reduction in birds over the past ten years, rises in cancer, a pile of garbage in the ocean the size of a continent, a dangerous decline in honey bees and now the horrendous BP oil spill - to name just a few. Compartmentalization allows us to care about the nonhuman animals on the planet and the lives of our children and grandchildren, without ever challenging the cultural assumptions that brought the world to this sickening (literally), sad and dangerous place.

What we Leave Behind rips down those compartments. Without those these barriers, the knowledge we already have can flow freely (which I suppose is why it feels like the authors' message comes from inside your own heart). The reader is left with a stunning clarity of vision.

What we Leave Behind makes a more than compelling case that we can and must stand up to this culture and radically change it. If we want to spare any life on earth, including our own, we have no choice.
7 人中、6人の方が、「このレビューが参考になった」と投票しています。
Only 8 reviews?? 2009/12/6
投稿者 offthegrid - (
形式: ペーパーバック
This book NEEDS to be required reading for HUMANITY. Thank God these two gentlemen had the guts and the passion to research and write with such heartbreaking and bone-chilling force about the most pertinent topic there is - the future of this planet. There will be none to speak of if we continue to snuggle into our ignorance. The writing is magnificent and the sentiment is beyond provoking/eye-opening/upsetting. I couldn't put it down. I also highly recommend seeing the urgent and mind-bogglingly rendered "Age of Stupid." [...]
2 人中、2人の方が、「このレビューが参考になった」と投票しています。
A brilliant call to action 2009/12/22
投稿者 Stephanie McMillan - (
形式: ペーパーバック
This book (like all of Derrick Jensen's books), opens the reader's eyes and heart to the ways we connect to the natural world, and to the destructiveness of the civilized way of life. Our understanding of this is essential -- nothing less than the fate of the planet is at stake. Jensen's writing is personal, insightful and poetic, and the truth he speaks can not be denied.
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