Defining wilderness is complicated.


Wild means what exactly?







wildlife nutrients cycles occupied areas
fisheries habitat & community cooperative uses


Sensory perception.



In the cube above, how many sides do you see?


1. The flat world approach, surface sensations are all that matter.



2. Two, a dualism: there are two sides to every question.


Premise   contradiction

thesis              antithesis


3. Three?

There are more than two ways to analyze a problem and any dialectic requires a synthesis.




2, two sides suggest a "T" diagram of binary opposites:

The area as a garden

The area as a wild
Michael Pollan

for example


3, could two sides be too limited, and suggest a third side?


In the "T" diagram above define wild by listing synonyms for the word on the left side and put antonyms for the words you used on the right side
In the cube above, how many dimensions does that drawing suggest to you?

Models as diagrams


Tree diagrams



Three dimensional representations


"Each mile on a river takes you as far from home as a 100 miles down a road."

Bob Marshal

What is the opposite of wild?





These three distinct values inherent in wild conditions suggest to me a three dimensional approach to how we may want to thing about wilderness instead of the dichotomy or binary division implied in the argument about land being protected as the garden versus as the wild country.

Six sides to any box are:

    1. Bottom: Original conditions / origin of natural states
    2. side: Beauty
    3. opposite side: Recreational
    4. side: Commercial
    5. opposite side: Religious
    6. Top: National heritage value


Other ways to conceptualize our argument that wilderness preservation and wildlife protection are important imperatives

    1. Our nation's natural heritage.
    2. Deeper dimensions to defining the term "wild."



Is the opposite of wild the same as the opposite of wilderness?

The Grand Canyon wilderness is both a geological and an evolutionary marvel as it reflects both the living diversity of current ecological conditions and records the past conditions of life on this planet for the last billion years or more.

Would you dam the Grand Canyon? This was a serious probability in the 1960s that the Sierra Club, National Audubon, and the Wilderness Society all opposed due to the heritage and scenic values that this National Park and international treasure afforded visitors and specialists alike.


Class discussion:

Science Index | Site Analysis | Population Index | Global Warming Index | Nature Index | Research sites.

Terms | Glossary | Word webs | Basic vocabulary | Advanced Vocabulary | Antonyms | Synonyms

Writing | Interviews | Free Writing