Wilderness

What Is Happening In The World?

1. Wild places in the world are disappearing, and it's causing ecosystems to collapse. Development powered by growing populations and extractive industries powered by cheap fossil fuels are pushing into areas that were previously intact ecosystems. Human impact in many of these places is crossing a threshold from sustainable into destructive.

2. Young people have fewer opportunities to see the natural world. Over half the world's population lives in urban environments, and many young people are losing touch with basic realities, like where their food and water comes from. As fewer people are exposed to the natural world, society has fewer ideas for alternatives to modern industrial culture.

3. "Ecosystem services" (positive things we gain from the environment) are declining. As intact ecosystems are destroyed, the Earth loses its capacity to provide clean air and water, pollinate plants, buffer from disease and natural disasters, and provide natural resources.

4. As ecosystems collapse, people resort to more destructive strategies to earn a livelihood from the land, accelerating the processes of degradation already at work.

Where Can I Learn More?

The Abstract Wild by Jack Turner A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold The Practice of the Wild by Gary Snyder The Only Kayak by Kim Heacox


Recommended Reading

Heacox, Kim (2006). The Only Kayak.
Leopold, Aldo (1949). A Sand County Almanac.
Snyder, Gary (1990). The Practice of the Wild.
Turner, Jack (1996). The Abstract Wild.
 

Further In-Depth Reading

Abbey, Edward (1968). Desert Solitaire.
Brown, Tom (1986). Tom Brown’s Field Guide to Nature Observation and Tracking.
Dietrich, William (1992). The Final Forest: The Battle for the Last Great Trees of the Pacific Northwest.
Dillard, Annie (1974). Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.
Heyerdahl, Thor (1948). Kon-Tiki.
Krakauer, Jon (1997). Into the Wild.
Lopez, Barry (1986). Arctic Dreams.
Matthiessen, Peter (1978). The Snow Leopard.
Middleton, Harry (1989). The Earth Is Enough.
Nash, Roderick (2001). Wilderness and the American Mind.
Nelson, Richard (1989). The Island Within.
Russell, Renny & Terry (1966). On The Loose.
Thoreau, Henry David (1854). Walden.

What Can I Do To Create Positive Change?

The concept of wilderness is a relatively new one, and very American in nature. In general, officially designated wilderness lands in the U.S. are rugged landscapes with limited capability to support sustained human habitation. As extractive industries (mining, logging, oil, gas, and water projects) are running out of other options, they're pushing into wild areas that were previously not profitable due to their remoteness, ruggedness, or marginal productivity.

More coming soon!

Further Resources

More coming soon!