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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, Keeping the Wild'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.
Companion volume by the same editors: Protecting the Wild: Parks and Wilderness, the Foundation for Conservation.
Introduction by Tom Butler
PART I. Clashing Worldviews
Chapter 1. Paul Kingsnorth, “Rise of the Neo-Greens”
Chapter 2. David Kidner, “The Conceptual Assassination of Wilderness”
Chapter 3. Eileen Crist, “Ptolemaic Environmentalism”
Chapter 4. David Johns, “With Friends Like These Wilderness and Biodiversity Do Not Need Enemies”
Chapter 5. Curt Meine, “What’s So New About the ‘New Environmentalism’?”
Chapter 6. Claudio Campagna and Daniel Guevara, “Conservation in No Man’s Land”
Chapter 7. Michael Soulé, “The New Conservation”
PART II. Against Domestication
Chapter 8. David Ehrenfeld, “A Fully Domesticated Earth is Impossible”
Chapter 9. Tim Caro, “Conservation in the Anthropocene”
Chapter 10. Dave Foreman, “The Myth of the Humanized, Pre-European Landscape”
Chapter 11. Brendan Mackey, “The Future of Conservation: an Australian Perspective”
Chapter 12. Phil Cafaro, “Expanding Parks, Reducing Human Numbers and Preserving All The Wild Nature We Can: A Superior Alternative to Embracing the Anthropocene Era”
Chapter 13. Harvey Locke, “Biodiversity Wildlands”
Chapter 14. Ned Hettinger, “Valuing Naturalness in the Anthropocene: Now More than Ever”
PART III. Values of the Wild
Chapter 15. Roderick Nash, “Wild World”
Chapter 16. Sandra Lubarsky, “Living Beauty”
Chapter 17. George Wuerthner, “Why the Working Landscape Isn’t Working”
Chapter 18. Howie Wolke, “Wilderness: What and Why”
Chapter 19. Lisi Krall, “Resistance”
Chapter 20. Terry Tempest Williams, “An Open Letter to Major Wesley Powell”
Epilogue: Kathleen Dean Moore, “The Road to Cape Perpetua”
George Wuerthner is the ecological projects director for the Foundation for Deep Ecology, where he does research and writes about environmental issues. For many years he was a full-time freelance photographer and writer and has published thirty-five books on natural history, conservation history, ecology, and environmental issues.
Eileen Crist teaches at Virginia Tech in the Department of Science and Technology in Society, where she is advisor for the undergraduate program Humanities, Science, and Environment. She is author of Images of Animals: Anthropomorphism and Animal Mind and coeditor of Gaia in Turmoil: Climate Change, Biodepletion, and Earth Ethics in an Age of Crisis.
Tom Butler, a Vermont-based conservation activist and writer, is the board president of the Northeast Wilderness Trust and the former longtime editor of Wild Earth journal. His books include Wildlands Philanthropy, Plundering Appalachia, and Energy: Overdevelopment and the Delusion of Endless Growth.
"As an account of underlying concepts, the history of ideas, and neo-green philosophy [...] this book is outstanding."
– Stuart Pimm, Biological Conservation
" [...] 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."
– The Helena Vigilante
"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."
– GreenSpirit Magazine
"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."
– Steamboat Magazine
" [...] immensely stimulating"
– Northern Woodlands
"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 and Guide
"a seminal body of impressive scholarship throughout and very highly recommended"
– Midwest Book Review
"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