Keeping the Wild
6 x 9
Is it time to embrace the so-called “Anthropocene”—the age of human dominion—and to abandon tried-and-true conservation tools such as parks and wilderness areas? Is the future of Earth to be fully domesticated, an engineered global garden managed by technocrats to serve humanity? The schism between advocates of rewilding and those who accept and even celebrate a “post-wild” world is arguably the hottest intellectual battle in contemporary conservation.
In Keeping the Wild, a group of prominent scientists, writers, and conservation activists responds to the Anthropocene-boosters who claim that wild nature is no more (or in any case not much worth caring about), that human-caused extinction is acceptable, and that “novel ecosystems” are an adequate replacement for natural landscapes. With rhetorical fists swinging, the book’s contributors argue that these “new environmentalists” embody the hubris of the managerial mindset and offer a conservation strategy that will fail to protect life in all its buzzing, blossoming diversity.
With essays from Eileen Crist, David Ehrenfeld, Dave Foreman, Lisi Krall, Harvey Locke, Curt Meine, Kathleen Dean Moore, Michael Soulé, Terry Tempest Williams and other leading thinkers, Keeping the Wild provides an introduction to this important debate, a critique of the Anthropocene boosters’ attack on traditional conservation, and unapologetic advocacy for wild nature.
"As an account of underlying concepts, the history of ideas, and neo-green philosophy...this book is outstanding."
"...an invaluable read for those who love wild places."
Earth Island Journal
"...[T]he book contains thought-provoking and damning examples of how the 'Neo-greens' have abandoned the preservation of Nature in favor of human re-engineering of the earth's natural ecosystems and dwindling wilderness."
"We all need to read [Keeping the Wild] and become fully aware of the dangers it describes. We need to familiarise ourselves with all the arguments these writers have so clearly and thoroughly articulated if we are to have any hope of countering the insidious Anthropocene trend before it gets any further entrenched."
"In a collection of thoughts from prominent conservationists, editors Wuerthner, Crist and Butler build their case against our move toward the anthropocene, where there is a focus upon human dominance over the environment."
"...a high quality collection of essays"
"I found all the essays well written ... thought provoking. ... I recommend the book to any resource manager who must consider the diverse and often conflicting views of various entities when resolving natural resource issues."
"Keeping the Wild isn't a potboiler; it is a pot-stirrer. If the book doesn't succeed in igniting real debate about the direction of the conservation movement, then perhaps it will at least jolt the green establishment out of its uninspiring narcolepsy."
Jackson Hole News & Guide
"a seminal body of impressive scholarship throughout and very highly recommended"
Midwest Book Review
"...contribute[s] to an important and unfolding dialog..."
"Keeping the Wild: Against the Domestication of Earth is an extraordinarily important book. It identifies the great and irreversible damage to Earth's biodiversity that will follow if the 'Anthropocene' ideology is allowed to stall the global conservation effort."
Edward O. Wilson, University Research Professor Emeritus, Harvard University
Introduction: Lives Not Our Own \ Tom Butler
PART I. Clashing Worldviews
Chapter 1. Rise of the Neo-Greens \ Paul Kingsnorth
Chapter 2. The Conceptual Assassination of Wilderness \ David W. Kidner
Chapter 3. Ptolemaic Environmentalism \ Eileen Crist
Chapter 4. With Friends Like These, Wilderness and Biodiversity Do Not Need Enemies \ David Johns
Chapter 5. What's So New about the 'New Environmentalism'? \ Curt Meine
Chapter 6. Conservation in No-Man's-Land \ Claudio Campagna and Daniel Guevara
Chapter 7. The "New Conservation" \ Michael Soulé
PART II. Against Domestication
Chapter 8. The Fable of Managed Earth \ David Ehrenfeld
Chapter 9. Conservation in the Anthropocene \ Tim Caro, Jack Darwin, Tavis Forrester, Cynthia Ledoux-Bloom, and Caitlin Wells
Chapter 10. The Myth of the Humanized Pre-Columbian Landscape \ Dave Foreman
Chapter 11. The Future of Conservation: An Australian Perspective \ Brendan Mackey
Chapter 12. Expanding Parks, Reducing Human Numbers, and Preserving All the Wild Nature We Can: A Superior Alternative to Embracing the Anthropocene Era \ Phil Cafaro
Chapter 13. Green Postmodernism and the Attempted Highjacking of Conservation \ Harvey Locke
Chapter 14. Valuing Naturalness in the "Anthropocene": Now More than Ever \ Ned Hettinger
PART III. Values of the Wild
Chapter 15. Wild World \ Roderick Frazier Nash
Chapter 16. Living Beauty \ Sandra Lubarsky
Chapter 17. Wilderness: What and Why? \ Howie Wolke
Chapter 18. Resistance \ Lisi Krall
Chapter 19. An Open Letter to Major Wesley Powell \ Terry Tempest Williams
Epilogue: The Road to Cape Perpetua \ Kathleen Dean Moore
Read the original post at the Wildlands Network.
Earlier this week, visionary conservationist and Wildlands Network cofounder Dave Foreman passed away. The author of numerous books including Confessions of an Eco-Warrior and Rewilding North America, Foreman’s ideologies were—and continue to be—the very core of our mission. His vision for continental-scale rewilding inspires us and many other wilderness and biodiversity protection and restoration efforts around the world.
Dave had a profound influence on the lives and careers of our staff, board and others from the Wildlands Network community. We’re gathering an ongoing compilation of stories and memories of Dave, below. If you would like to contribute, please reach out to email@example.com.
“I am saddened to learn of Dave Foreman’s passing, even though I met him only once or twice. His writings in Wild Earth were a ray of light for me during my early career many years ago. I was inspired then (and still am) by his understanding that there are wild beings with whom we share our planet, who would be just as happy to never learn of our civilizations and cultures, and that they have an inherent right to go about their business without us modifying their landscape, altering the sky above them, soiling the water they drink and filling them with microplastics and other horrible byproducts of our ignorance and arrogance. I know he was devoted to such wildeors as he called them, embracing an ancient word that fitted them better than any newer term. That devotion attracted me to Wildlands Network many years ago. May his proverbial campfire shed light on many future generations so that we may learn one day to respect all beings as they deserve. Compost in peace, Dave.”
— Juan Carlos Bravo, Conservation Programs Director, Wildlands Network
“Dave’s presence and vision set a high bar for my expectations of conservationists at the start of my career. He was the first eco-warrior I’d met in person, in the early 1990s, through my work with a philanthropy. His embodiment of his beliefs—to protect those without voices, and the right of all beings to exist—resonated with my worldview, and has deeply influenced me personally and professionally. Little did I know during those memorable times with him in early planning meetings for the Eastern Wildway that I would find myself working with Wildlands again in this chapter of my career. With his passing, I will act on his primary exhortation to me: That in order to protect the wild, we must spend time in the wilderness with our coinhabitants. Rest in peace, Dave, and thank you. See you in the wild.”
— Christine Laporte, Eastern Program Director, Wildlands Network
“Dave touched so many people, and I was certainly one of them. I can honestly say that I would not have had the same career in conservation without Dave. I met him first on in the pages of The Big Outside and could not have been more thrilled to finally meet him in person as a fellow Sierra Club board member. We shared red wine, a trip down the Colorado River, and late nights talks after long board meetings. He always inspired me to think big, and I was honored when he invited me to join the board of what was then the Wildlands Project. His vision will continue to inspire me, as will the thrilling memory of his wolf howls that called us to action. RIP Dave.”
— Susan Homes, U.S. Federal Policy Director, Wildlands Network
“I first heard of Dave Foreman when he came to the University of Wisconsin-Madison (where I was a young graduate student). He gave a fiery speech about the Wildlands Project and his vision for robust North American conservation. That speech ended with Dave giving his best wolf howl, and the entire auditorium filled with hundreds of people joined in; it was a beautiful chorus. That talk must have planted a wild seed inside my head, as it wasn't long before I was reading Wild Earth magazine in the university library and thinking ambitiously about restoring wolves and other wildlife to the USA.
“Roughly a decade later I had the chance to come work for Wildlands Network, and I've been chasing Dave's dream ever since. I did get to meet him in person a couple of times during my time at Wildlands Network. He was such a cool guy with so many experiences to share from his adventures and from his advocacy. I always assumed I'd eventually get the chance to join him on a river trip somewhere wild and remote, to haggle over the campfire over how to protect the cores and corridors that needed to be protected. While I seem to have missed the last boat on that opportunity, I know I'll carry on trying to implement Dave's vision of a wild and free North America. I'll also lift my voice to join the chorus of wolf howls that must be haunting the night air across the world right now, as people realize what a leader we've just lost.”
— Dr. Ron Sutherland, Chief Scientist, Wildlands Network
“I encountered Dave shortly after arriving, in 2001, at what was then the Wildlands Project. Anyone who met Dave knows he was a force of nature—in more than one sense. I will readily admit that his passionate, uncompromising advocacy for the natural world in its most fundamental and primeval forms was, shall we say, uncomfortable at times, particularly in the context of conservation then happening in the northeastern U.S. and southeastern Canada. Yet his vision—of healing a world of wounds, of valuing wild nature in its own right—stuck with me and, as it turns out, is a lodestar for millions across the world.
“I’m not sure if Dave coined the term rewilding, but he certainly had a hand in popularizing it. An idea that seemed obscure those many years ago is now used freely and frequently in places as far-flung as the UK, Australia, South America, Asia, and the Middle East. A few days ago, my mother-in-law sent me an article from The Guardian about rewilding a river in the Netherlands; just this month, the New York Times reported on efforts to restore cheetahs to India; in April, a glossy travel magazine featured the headline, ‘Scotland is Poised to Become the World’s First “Rewilding Nation.”’ This is Dave’s legacy. We have lots more to do, but I’ve got to hope that he’s smiling and happy with all he accomplished.”
— Conrad Reining, Wildlands Network Board and former staff member
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