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Keeping the Wild: Against the Domestication of Earth


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 ...

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Keeping the Wild: Against the Domestication of Earth

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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, 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.

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Editorial Reviews

University Research Professor Emeritus, Harvard University - Edward O. Wilson

"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."
The Helena Vigilante

"...[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."
GreenSpirit Magazine

"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."
Steamboat 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."
Earth Island Journal

" invaluable read for those who love wild places."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781610915588
  • Publisher: Island Press
  • Publication date: 5/6/2014
  • Pages: 248
  • Sales rank: 303,721
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 5.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

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.
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Table of Contents

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
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