to upstate New York (where I’m surentheir vegetarianism will be easier tonsustain than in a great barbecue townnlike Athens).nIt’s not that traditional Southernersndon’t care about the natural environment.nTake a look sometime at thenalmost lyrical portrait of man as predatornpresented by a magazine called SouthernnOutdoors. Ward introduced me tonthat marvelous repository of traditionalnwoodcraft and nature lore, noting thatnthe magazine’s ads tend to be fornexpensive, high-tech, productivity-increasingngadgets like electronic fishfinders,nan ironic juxtaposition he especiallynsavored.nAnyway, a number of public opinionnpolls show that there really is rightnmuch pro-conservation sentiment innthe South, and so does the recentnsuccess of a country song called “PassnIt On Down,” by the group Alabama.nBut what’s out there is just that, sentiment—na sort of anticipatory nostalgiannot anchored to much inclination to donLIBERAL ARTSnLITTLE RED RIDINGnHOOD, A WINO?nFirst-grade readers of Little Red RidingnHood have more to fear than the BignBad Wolf, say school officials in CulvernCity, California: it’s the wine in LittlenRed’s basket.nLast May the assistant superintendentnfor instruction. Vera Jashni,nbanned Trina Schart Hyman’s awardwinningnversion of the classic Grimm’snfairy tale from the students’ recommendednsupplemental reading list becausenthe heroine has wine in the basketnof goodies she brings to her ailingngrandmother. According to Ms. Jashni,nthis gives youngsters “the wrong impressionnabout alcohol.” School boardnmember Robert Knopf added that “annice thing like cookies and cakes”nwould have been preferable to a “basketnof wine.”nNot all teachers agreed. Gina Grawe,na teacher at Linwoon Howe ElementarynSchool, organized a daylong protestnto fight the ban. Pictures of Little Rednwere worn on the shoulders of thenprotesting teachers. “I’m sure someonencould find something objectionable innany book,” said Grawe. “There’s drinkingnin Tom Sawyer.”n48/CHRONICLESnanything. When it comes to practice,nwe Southerners lag behind. At best wenseem to echo, feebly and suspiciously,nslogans that originated somewherenelse.nThat’s sad, because if you’re lookingnfor antecedents for today’s environmentalism,nfor its suspicion of technology,nits anti-rationalism, anti-speciesism,nand all the rest, you could donworse than to look at some Southerners.nAs Ed Yoder suggested twentynyears ago in an essay called “ThenGreening of the South,” the old-fashionednTwelve who wrote Fll Take MynStand had some strangely modernnthings to say on the subject.nI should say that no less an authoritynthan Andrew Lytic, the last survivingncontributor to that volume, disownsnthe connection. In a 1983 interviewnLytle accused today’s ecological activistsnof sentimentalism and statism, andndenied that he and his friends werenguilty of either. But I think his memorynwas playing tricks on him.nCertainly some of the Agrariansnwere less anti-statist than others. FranknOwsley’s essay “Pillars of Agrarianism,”nin particular, advocated legislationnthat one critic called “Kremlinesque.”nAnd while no one has everncalled Lytle a sensitive New Age guy (an”snag,” as we call them around here), Inthink the young man may have beennmore sentimental than the old one letsnon. Lytle denies, for example, that thenAgrarians would have given a damnnfor the snail darter. But they weren’tnpolled in 1930, and some of them hadnat least the premises for getting excitednabout obliterating part of God’s Greation.nConsider a passage from the book’snintroduction. Under industrialism,nJohn Growe Ransom wrote, “We receiventhe illusion of having power overnnature, and lose the sense of nature asnsomething mysterious and contingent.”nOr how about this, from Ransom’snown essay: “Industrialism is anprogram under which men, using thenlatest scientific paraphernalia, sacrificencomfort, leisure, and the enjoyment ofnlife to win Pyrrhic victories from naturenat points of no strategic significance.”nAnd listen to Lyde himself,ncalling for “a proper respect and anproper regard for the soil” — not anmere metaphor. Lyde even soundednlike some of today’s more apocalypticnnnenvironmentalists when he predictedn”a moral and spiritual suicide, foretellingnan actual physical destruction.”nIt would be wrong to extract thesenviews from their religious underpinnings,nfrom the more general piety,nmore or less orthodox, in which theynwere embedded — or, more accurately,nwith which they were entangled. (Ifnanything, true religion seems to dependnon proper environmental views.)nHere’s Ransom again: “There is possiblenno . . . sublimity of religion, whichnis not informed by the humble sense ofnman’s precarious position in the uni^nverse.” Or again: “Religion is ournsubmission to the general intention of annature that is faidy inscrutable; it is thensense of our role as creatures within it.”nTake that seriously, and the implicationsnput you in some strange companyntoday.nFifty years later, Lytle said that henand his colleagues believed that naturen”was mysterious and to be respected,nand we took time to examine it in thenworld and in ourselves. . . . We knewnthat land is built up only slowly, and itncan waste away in no time at all if notnproperly tended.” Lyde also observednin 1983 that “Our attitude toward naturenwas part and parcel of the kind ofnlife we wanted to preserve. You wouldnnaturally not destroy the things bynwhich you made your living.”nNow, this may have been truenenough for the Agrarians themselves.nBut they sometimes implied that theynwere articulating the Southern tradition,nand any implication that Southernnfarmers have been something likeninstinctive ecologists — well, it remindsnme of what a friend calls the “GrononnIndians,” a mythical tribe of happynprecapitalists who inhabit the pagesnof William Gronon’s book Changesnin the Land. Gall what the Agrariansnwrote a trope, if you want to save it, butnas an empirical description of Southernnagriculture it is, alas, nonsense. Southernnagriculture in 1930 wasn’t jtistnslash and burn, it was rape and pillage.nOf course, you can explain this byneconomic necessity. The South’s systemnof cotton tenancy reinforced thenbiblical injunction to take no thoughtnfor the morrow; at least in that respectnthe applied agrarians of the South werengood Ghristians. But there’s more to itnthan that. Ransom’s characterization ofnindustrialism as “the latest form ofn