THE ENDURING IMPORTANCE OF WILDNESS: SHEPHERDING WILDERNESS THROUGH THE ANTHROPOCENE

Citation data:

Graduate Student Theses, Dissertations, & Professional Papers

Publication Year:
2018
Usage 63
Abstract Views 38
Downloads 25
Repository URL:
https://scholarworks.umt.edu/etd/11143; https://scholarworks.umt.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=12199&context=etd
Author(s):
Kelly, Patrick Ram
Publisher(s):
University of Montana
Tags:
Aldo Leopold; ecological restoration; Endangered Species Act; wilderness; Wilderness Act; wildness
thesis / dissertation description
Wilderness and wildness have long been essential values at the heart of American conservation. Both have played critical roles in the formation of environmental ethics, providing a conceptual foundation for the belief that the non-human natural world is valuable for its own sake (Nash, 2001). After grounding and inspiring much of 20th century environmentalism, their influence in the current century has grown increasingly tentative. The arrival of what some have called the “Anthropocene epoch” – a term meant to capture the planetary scale impacts of human activity – now threatens the continued viability and relevance of wilderness and wildness to contemporary conservation. The challenges facing wilderness advocates are both physical and conceptual. Anthropogenic climate change, pollution, and the looming mass extinction crisis are all impacting the biophysical elements of wilderness areas (Stephenson & Millar, 2012; Long & Biber, 2015; Ceballos et al., 2015). At the same time, a growing chorus of “new conservationists” are calling for the abandonment of wilderness and wildness as useful values for guiding conservation (Marris, 2015; Kareiva et al., 2012).