Toward a Philosophy of Wilderness
Edward Payne, Mountain Range; the Sierra Nevada, Muir's "range of light" in California, circa 1880s.
"Wilderness appreciation was a faith."
"explaining the values of wild rivers"
fear of the "wilderness within man..." (is there an uncontrolled aspect of humanity?)
Robert WERNICK "today's wilderness will and should give way to civilization."
Premises of a wild ethos
wildlife ranges biodiversity (pp. 262-63)
wild area recreation creativity (pp. 263-264.)
First dismissed as "a revived ancient nature cult"
Floyd Dominy, "Nature is a pretty cruel animal."
"A wild river was an insult to man's capacity to modify his environment."
Rene Dubos, a "gardenlike earth" and an improvement of nature.
Europe "An orderly arrangement of farmlands, pastures, and wooded areas."
"if wilderness is a state of mind, why not proxy environments...?"
Wild areas are "fundamentally alien to our biological nature"
"Most people prefer "landscapes which have been modified by human intervention."
"the earth"s surface will be ...humanized"
"the modern case against wilderness deserves more scrutiny....
Robert Wernick's editorial is representative of the belief that civilization as a beneficent tide that our hardworking ancestors extended over the Earth."
"Believing that civilization is an unalloyed good, Wernick's advice is .... Humans should 'look after our own interests as best we can, and no more consider the feelings of the eagle and the rhinoceros than they consider ours.' If such a policy means the end of wild animals.... today's wilderness will and should give way to civilization."
Eric Julber and the argument for access to wilderness comfortably and conveniently.
"a small wealthy young and leisured elite."
Elements of a wild philosophy
Benton McKaye a place to catch one"s breath, take one"s bearings
Sigurd Olson stabilizer and sustainer, solitude
J. Frank Dobie balance in the human psyche and nourish animal spirits
|The Grand Teton Mountains, National Park, Wyoming||Chicago Tribune & Wrigley Buildings|
GARY SNYDER "on the spectrum between the wild and the civilized."
"inscrutable, inhuman and indifferent" lands
Edward Abbey "this fearsome land....Enter at your own risk."
"Wilderness is an entirely human concept, an invention of civilized man."
"If wilderness is to exist its surely needs the protection of a self-restraining civilization."
Grand Canyon National Park, with the Kaibab Plateau in the background. [JVS, 2002]
A philosophy is a belief in a set of values because these principles give meaning and purpose to ones behavior, ground one's actions in defensible authority, and maintain some amount of responsibility for our actions.
But natural conditions are not static
According to the authors, each advocate of preserving wilderness had a different orientation about the importance of wildlife, fisheries and vegetation. One way of considering the importance of each of these facets of wild natural areas is that fisheries, wildlife and vegetation all affect one another and the environment creating, maintaining or altering biological wealth.
Biological wealth is the accumulation of natural capital by bacteria and plants fed by the earth and sun on which animals and fungus and other bacteria thrive. Tangible forms of biological wealth include, but are not limited to:
Wetlands for flood control,
Vegetation, rivers and topography acting as scenery,
Watershed and the value of forests to springs,
Soil as a growing medium for plants or cavities for animals,
Rivers as a means of sustenance, transportation and travel
Animals as sources of attraction, entertainment or pleasure,
Remote landscapes as sources of challenge or solitude,