This personal and thoughtful book by renowned Kenya conservationist David Western traces our global conquest from Maasai herders battling droughts in Africa to the technological frontiers of California.
Western draws on a half century of research in the savannas and his own life's journey to argue that conservation is not a modern invention. The success of all societies past and present lies in conservation practices, breaking biological barriers and learning to live in large cooperative groups able to sustain a healthy environment.
Our ecological emancipation from nature enabled us to expand our horizons from conserving food and water for survival to saving whales, elephants, and our cultural heritage. In the Anthropocene, our scientific knowledge and modern sensibilities offer hope for combating global warming and creating a planet able to sustain the wealth of life, but only if we use our unique cultural capacity of cooperation to plan our future.
David Western, a pioneer of community-based conservation, is a former director of the Kenya Wildlife Service and Wildlife Conservation Society International. He founded and chairs the African Conservation Centre in Nairobi, Kenya. His books include Conservation for the Twenty-First Century.
"David Western's long personal history around the campfires of East Africa, his distinguished career as an ecologist-conservationist, and his keen analytic intelligence, have brought him naturally to this book."
– David Quammen, author of Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic
"Based on the knowledge accumulated over David Western's colourful life, We Alone provides an insightful and honest summary of the harm we have inflicted on Planet Earth and what we should do to turn things around. This book provides much food for thought, and I thoroughly recommend it."
– Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE, Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of Peace
"We Alone is pure magic, beautifully written, and spellbinding in the way it draws on David Western's unique and highly meaningful life experience. This exceptionally interesting and enjoyable book is sure to become a conservation classic."
– Peter H. Raven, coauthor of Biology of Plants
"Successful conservation is not only about obtaining new facts but also new ways of thinking about them. We Alone is uniquely filled with original insights that can actually make a difference."
– William Conway, Wildlife Conservation Society, New York
"The fantasy of pristine African 'conservation' rarely considers those who are displaced from hunting and grazing lands, or who lose family, crops, or livestock to wild animals. In this superb and revelatory book, renowned conservationist and ecologist David Western envisions a future of mutually beneficial conservation and community development."
– Robert M. Sapolsky, author of Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst
"The man who knows wildlife best is also the one who bet everything on decent government and open social relations. This paradoxical return to anthropocentrism might be our best chance to avoid being numbed into inaction by the shadow of the coming tragedy."
– Bruno Latour, author of Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climatic Regime