Dialectical argument over an effective imagery in the American mind to motivate adequate wilderness protection.
Roderick Nash Micheal Pollan
the proverb of the Chinese monarch “The Idea of a Garden,” a storm in a forest



"normal ecological and evolutionary processes (78) biological safe-deposit box"

Three arguments for wildlands --

scenery, recreation and economics are no good!

7 values of wilderness

scientific -- spiritual -- aesthetic -- heritage -- psychological -- cultural -- intrinsic


"The point is that wilderness appreciation has been a creed, a faith, something you felt in your bones, something that was only sullied by our analysis and explication."


"There is a need for the articulation of wilderness values based on historical fact, contemporary experience and the projected future needs of human life. This is the vital philosophy of wilderness."


"wilderness....It's our biological and cultural mother."      (78)


"Wilderness is the best place to learn humility, dependency and reverence for all life." (81)



37 ¶ to argue "our idea of wilderness had become part of the problem"

here: Pollan -- the image and the symbol of the garden

  Connecticut town’s common

Summer storm 7-10-1989

Housatonic River Valley


"This forty-two acre forest  of old-growth white pine trees close to the center of town... was one of the oldest stands of white pine in New England ...untouched since about 1800."  (192; ¶-2)


"I also began to wonder if it might be possible to formulate a different ethic to guide us in our dealings with nature... an ethic that would be based not on the idea of a wilderness but on the idea of a garden."


What is a garden?   What are nature's intentions for Cathedral Pines? (195; ¶ 15)


"The cathedral pines are not, then, 'virgin growth.'  (¶ 8;  pp. 193-194)

In 1883… to protect the trees from the threat of logging


"Cathedral pines is not in any meaningful sense a wilderness."


"Fire suppression is one of the more significant effects that the European has had on the American Landscape." (194)


"Development and the preservation of wilderness are not   compatible."

“The wilderness ethic doesn’t tell us what to do.... and laissez faire economics ... are mirror images....

p. 200

Muir Wilderness flatwoods


There are seven values of wilderness. Can you identify each with examples?


Bill McKibben's warnings.


What is a garden?