The best outdoor writing, I believe, is about people. Nature writing can be pretty, and environmental books can be convincing, but I ultimately crave the raw emotion of fellow human beings struggling to find and protect their place in the world.People are both the problem and the solution. Good outdoor writing reconnects people to nature—not through lectures, but through living, flesh-and-blood examples of courage and commitment. We feel the landscape through them.Here are a few of my favorite classic outdoor voices and books that should be on every environmentalist’s must-read list. Instead of preachy diatribes or flowery descriptions, they inspire me with gritty, gutsy characters—some legendary, some overlooked—who stand their ground and speak for the wild.The Last American Man by Elizabeth GilbertA 21st century pioneer living nearly self-sufficiently on a wild reserve in Appalachia, Eustace Conway embodies the ideals of American masculinity—ruggedness, courage, and independence. However, those hard-fought ideals have a price. Gilbert shows us the tired, lonely man behind the bravado. A tough, buckskin-clad maverick hunts for the one thing missing from his mountain refuge: love.Into the Wild by Jon KrakauerChris McCandless is either a stupid kid or self-reliant hero. He gives away all of his savings and wanders the wild, seeking adventure and an authentic relationship with the land—until he finds himself starving to death alone in the Alaskan wilderness. Barely able to lift a pen, he scribbles this final message, which continues to haunt and shape my own life: “Happiness only real when shared.”Encounters with the Archdruid by John McPheeMcPhee masterfully captures the nuances of one of the most influential modern environmentalists, David Brower. But don’t expect classic confrontations with battle lines clearly drawn; both McPhee and Brower are far more kaleidoscopic.Zoro’s Field by Thomas Rain CroweLiving alone and off-grid in an Appalachian cabin for four years (twice as long as Thoreau) and growing nearly all of his own food, Crowe’s memoir is a modern-day Walden, filled with wisdom gleaned only through a consciously simple, self-reliant life in the wild.Ecology of a Cracker Childhood by Janisse RayRay’s hardscrabble upbringing in a south Georgia junkyard is an unlikely start for an environmental luminary, but the rusted scrap heaps of her childhood are chock full of raw, resourceful characters—including an authoritarian father who locks his family in a closet and a snuff-dipping coon hunter who introduces her to the wild woods.The Lost Grizzlies by Rick BassGrizzly bears had not been seen for 15 years in southern Colorado until a small group sets out to find them. Bass seeks more than bears, though; he is tracking wildness and the longings of the human heart, which only are revealed in the presence of something larger.Desert Solitaire by Edward AbbeyIt’s definitely the most sermonizing selection of the bunch, but Abbey’s coarse, thunderous voice crying out for the wilderness still echoes across the desert he called home. Amid his nerve-tingling adventures as a park ranger, the monkey-wrenching anarchist unleashes forceful, full-blooded pleas for the last scraps of wildlands.
Leicester City need just five points to complete a fairytale Premier League title triumph after Leonardo Ulloa scored twice in a 4-0 home victory over Swansea City yesterday.With top scorer Jamie Vardy suspended, his stand-in Ulloa stepped up with a brace of goals at the King Power Stadium, either side of goals by Riyad Mahrez and substitute Marc Albrighton. It lifted Claudio Ranieri’s side eight points clear of second-place Tottenham Hotspur, who host West Bromwich Albion this evening, and means that they can claim the title by winning at Manchester United next Sunday if Spurs fail to beat West Brom.Leicester’s victory had the added effect of ending the title bids of both third-place Manchester City and fourth-place Arsenal, who were held to a 0-0 draw at struggling Sunderland.Vardy’s dismissal, after he was shown a second yellow card for diving, had been the chief talking point of Leicester’s 2-2 draw with West Ham United last weekend, which had raised the possibility of nerves getting the better of Ranieri’s miracle men.But they made an ideal start against Francesco Guidolin’s Swansea as Ashley Williams’s careless clearance struck Mahrez, who calmly stroked his 17th goal of the season past visiting goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.Ulloa made it 2-0 on the half-hour by heading in Danny Drinkwater’s free-kick and killed the game off in the 61st minute when he toed in a cross from Jeff Schlupp, who had sprinted into the box from halfway.The fourth goal, in the 85th minute, was the work of Leicester’s substitutes, with Demarai Gray sparking the move by sprinting to the byline on the right and sending a cross into the box.From Andy King’s back-post header, Gray saw a close-range volley parried by Fabianski, but Albrighton followed in to lift the rebound into the roof of the net.Leicester’s win definitely sounded the death knell on the title aspirations of Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal, whose goalless stalemate at Sunderland did little to help their push for a top-four finish.Sunderland left-back Patrick van Aanholt came closest to breaking the deadlock at the Stadium of Light with a first-half free-kick that hit the post, while both teams had penalty appeals for handball turned down.Arsenal, for whom Jack Wilshere made his first appearance of the season after recovering from a broken fibula, remain fourth, five points above Manchester United, but having played a game more.“We created less, but could still have scored. We should have been in front in the first half,” Arsenal manager Wenger told the BBC.“It leaves us having to win the next game, as always. We fight against teams who fight not to go down, so we prepare to fight again next Saturday.”The point was of much greater use to Sam Allardyce’s Sunderland, who climbed out of the relegation zone on goal difference at the expense of Norwich City.“With four games to go it is in our hands now,” said Allardyce, whose side had won 3-0 at Norwich in their previous game.“Our performances are good – excellent last week and very good today. Hopefully we can get enough points to stay out of trouble.”Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram