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As NewWest.Net readers have realized by now, Dave Foreman never pulls punches. He tells it like he sees it, even if it means ruffling the feathers of his activist compatriots. These days, Foreman, the founder of the Rewilding Institute, suggests the mainstream conservation movement is adrift in the ocean without a clear course and the time has arrived to launch a new campaign called "Take Back Conservation." Despite a common perception to the contrary promoted by anti-environmentalists, the modern green movement is a mosaic —not a monolith—of similar and dissimilar interests stitched together in ways that are not always complementary. Foreman warns of "enviro-resourcists" slowly taking over major conservation organizations. In this piece, he argues that modern nature conservationists in the West need to re-embrace the ideals of those who came before and recognize that in refugia like national parks, wilderness areas, and other protected landscapes, resides the last, best hope of safeguarding America's natural heritage.

Foreman: Conservation Movement Must Return To Roots

As NewWest.Net readers have realized by now, Dave Foreman never pulls punches. He tells it like he sees it, even if it means ruffling the feathers of his activist compatriots. These days, Foreman, the founder of the Rewilding Institute, suggests the mainstream conservation movement is adrift in the ocean without a clear course and the time has arrived to launch a new campaign called “Take Back Conservation.” Despite a common perception to the contrary promoted by anti-environmentalists, the modern green movement is a mosaic —not a monolith—of similar and dissimilar interests stitched together in ways that are not always complementary. Foreman warns of “enviro-resourcists” slowly taking over major conservation organizations. In this piece, he argues that modern nature conservationists in the West need to re-embrace the ideals of those who came before and recognize that in refugia like national parks, wilderness areas, and other protected landscapes, resides the last, best hope of safeguarding America’s natural heritage.

In a recent column, I argued that nature conservationists who work to protect wilderness areas and wild species should be called conservationists, and that resource conservationists, who wish to domesticate and manage lands and species for the benefit and use of humans, should be called resourcists.

I also believe that nature conservationists are different birds than environmentalists, who work to protect human health from the ravages of industrialization,and that therefore there is not a single “environmental movement.”

When environmentalists turn their attention from the so-called “built environment” to nature, they can take either a conservationist or a resourcist pathway. I’ve named environmentalists who have a utilitarian resourcist view “enviro-resourcists.”

And I’ve ruffled some feathers with this view.

I’ve ruffled even more feathers lately by warning that enviro-resourcists have been slowing gaining control of conservation groups, thereby undercutting and weakening our effectiveness, and that nature lovers need to take back the conservation family.

Before I can argue for a “Take Back Conservation” campaign, I must first answer a basic question: What are the field marks of nature conservationists?

Aldo Leopold pointed out the heart-most when he wrote in the first line of A Sand County Almanac, “There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot.”

Conservationists are the “Cannots.” We should wear that badge proudly for it speaks to our wide-rooted sanity. We have a deep tie to wilderness and wildlife. Some of us are moved more by the challenge, inspiration, and solitude of the big outside; others by sublime natural scenery. Yet others of us are caught up by the > frolicking rough-and-tumble of animals and plants in the theater of evolution.

Many of us need to get out and dirty in Nature; others are happy to know that wilderness is outside the lodge picture window from the comfort of their easy chairs and brandy snifters.

Regardless, it comes down to a love and respect for wild nature. Whether we are fully aware of it or not, I think we conservationists are enthralled by self-willed lands, waters, and animals…even when they are dangerous. We need to know that there are things undomesticated, carrying on their evolutionary adventures without regard for humans. We see forests, not two-by-fours; we see animals, not meat or pests; we see rivers, not hydroelectric power. At our deepest we believe that other species should be safeguarded for their own sakes, whether they have value of any kind for humans, or even if they are a threat or a bother.

The founding editor of Conservation Biology and author of one of the few essential conservation books, The Arrogance of Humanism, David Ehrenfeld, calls this the “Noah Principle”: ecological communities and species “should be conserved because they exist and because this existence is itself but the present expression of a continuing historical process of immense antiquity and majesty.”

In other words, whether we think about it or not, we nature conservationists generally want to protect wild Nature—places and wildeors—for their intrinsic value.

Arne Naess, the grand old Norwegian philosopher and mountaineer who founded the high-minded Deep Ecology movement, worked out a formal philosophical argument for the intrinsic value of other life forms. But even for professional philosophers like Arne, celebrating the intrinsic value of all species comes first and foremost from the evolutionary heart—just as it does for all kinds of other Nature lovers.

Since at least the time of John Muir, a gaggle of Nature conservationists have spoken out about how they value other species for their own sakes. The late Canadian naturalist John Livingston wrote that wildlife conservation is “The preservation of wildlife forms and groups of forms in perpetuity, for their own sakes, irrespective of any connotation of present or future human use.”

Livingston elaborated, “In essence, wildlife conservation is the preservation of nonhuman beings in their natural settings, unaffected by human use or activity, uncontaminated by human antibiosis, emancipated from human serfdom.”

Of course, humans also can enjoy and seek to preserve other species out of curiosity, for their beauty, because of their important ecological roles, and so on. But when it comes right down to it, we conservationists protect wild things for their own worth without requiring that they have an economic or even aesthetic value.

The weight of conservationists with whom I have worked over the years would agree with this view. Those conservationists are the true experts on the conservation movement and on conservation philosophy. Lots of Nature conservationists rarely think about such lofty concepts as intrinsic value and work to save their favorite places or to protect their favorite critters. Protecting wild things for their own sakes is for many an unstated assumption deep inside. A given.

Based on the hundreds of folks I’ve worked with over the course of four decades, I think if pressed most would acknowledge that species and places should be saved for their own sakes.

The original meaning of wilderness in Old English, let us remember, is “self-willed land.” Likewise, wildeor meant “self-willed beast.” Wilderness can also be interpreted as “home of self-willed beasts.”

Being self-willed, it would seem to me, strongly implies that something is its own thing and not a possession or resource of another. In a nutshell: Conservationists work to keep human will from domesticating all nature.

Resourcists, meanwhile, work to impose human will on nature, including even wilderness and wild predators, through some degree of management. “Whose will?” is the bedrock question behind conservation battles, whether battlers on either side are aware of the question or not.

Our work is based on these values. We strive to safeguard wildlands as legal wilderness areas or in like strictly protected categories. We shield endangered, threatened, and sensitive species. We bring back wolves, lynx, black-footed ferrets, bolson tortoises, humpbacked chubs, California condors, and peregrine falcons to their former homes. We fight dams on rivers that yet flow free. We guard the holiness of national parks. We try to block feckless off-road vehicle hooliganism; sue against careless logging, mining and energy extraction in wild places; cheer on with dollars those who confront whalers on the high seas; appeal sloppy, land-degrading livestock grazing practices.

For too many years the conservation movement has been drifting away from its most basic values. This drift has two currents pushing it. One, some conservationists are afraid that straight talk about the intrinsic value of nature and wild species will turn off people.

Two, a growing number of conservation group leaders do not themselves believe in nature for its own sake. David Johns writes in an email message that “some conservationists seem to be not just using anthropocentric arguments to advance rewilding goals, but are, in fact, backing off of rewilding goals in favor of sustainable development nonsense.”

In this way, the soul of conservation is being sucked away and drowned. The shift to resourcism can be subtle, even unconscious. When we don’t talk about Nature, it fades from our minds—and our press releases.

David Ehrenfeld warns in The Arrogance of Humanism, “Resource reasons for conservation can be used if honest, but must always be presented together with the non-humanistic reasons, and it should be made clear that the latter are more important in everycase.”

Ehrenfeld explains that “there is simply no way to tell whether one arbitrarily chosen part of nature has more ‘value’ than another part, so like Noah we do not bother to make the effort.” He continues, “I have tried to show…the devilish intricacy and cunning of the humanists’ trap. ‘Do you love Nature?’ they ask. ‘Do you want to save it? Then tell us what it is good for.’ The only way out of this kind of trap, if there is a way, is to smash it, to reject it utterly.”

Decades earlier, Aldo Leopold warned that “most members of the land community have no economic value.” He urged against inventing “subterfuges to give it economic importance.”

I can offer no better advice to young conservationists than what these two wise men give. Species and other parts of the land community deserve to exist for their own sakes. Do not rely on or exaggerate the economic values of wildeors and wild places.

When someone asks you about a certain species, “Well, what good is it?” there is only one suitable answer, “Well. What good ARE YOU?”

We should not be shy about saying, “I love wilderness and big cats!” Celebrating the intrinsic value of all life forms and the dazzling dance that has brought this diversity into being is the bedrock of the conservation mind.

We conservationists need to reaffirm our biocentric values even if we worry that they may be a hard sell to the public, which, as several public opinion polls show, is not necessarily so.

If we do not stand up for nature for its own sake, no one will. If not us, who will lead society into a new relationship with nature? Moreover, by denying our values to ourselves and by hiding them from others, we will do immeasurable harm to our own sanity and integrity. Like Peter denying Christ thrice before the cock crew, we will become miserable, pitiful wretches.

A Few Thoughts On The Need To Take Back Conservation And Embrace Rewilding

Biologist Campbell Webb, who works in the tropical forests of Indonesia, writes in the journal Conservation Biology, “Finally, perhaps the healthiest thing we can do for our peace of mind is to speak our mind.…we value [natural places and species] just for being. And yet many of us have been acculturated to present only utilitarian arguments for their preservation.…Perhaps the time has come to stand up and speak our minds clearly, especially because most anthropocentric, utilitarian approaches have failed to slow the destruction….”

I am proud to see more and more field biologists standing up like Webb and defending the intrinsic value of other species. Mike Parr, secretary of the Alliance for Zero Extinction, a new group working to save the species facing “imminent extinction,” says, “This is a one-shot deal for the human race. We have a moral obligation to act. The science is in, and we are almost out of time.”

Many of those who work for zoos and who are funded by zoos for field research are heroic defenders of wild nature for its own sake. You don’t put your life on the line in a vicious, cannibalistic civil war unless you care about the inherent value of the gorillas you are defending.

For the last fifteen years I’ve been crisscrossing North America arguing for the protection and reintroduction of large carnivores because of how they exercise “top-down regulation” of prey species to the great benefit of ecosystems.

This is what rewilding is all about, after all. However, even this is a utilitarian argument of a sort. The real reason for protecting and restoring large carnivores is for their own sakes.

Scientists at the Wildlife Conservation Society have just edited a book that carefully weighs how a variety of carnivores around the world actually function for the health of the ecosystem: Large Carnivores and the Conservation of Biodiversity. Nonetheless, Justina Ray and her coauthors write, “We suggest that it is important to distinguish between value-based and science-based reasons for carnivore conservation—understanding that the two can be integrated. Too often scientifically grounded principles to justify carnivore conservation have obscured the more fundamental aesthetic and ethical values that lie at the root of many who argue for their conservation.”

Carnivores have BOTH intrinsic and instrumental value. The intrinsic values are the bedrock on which the others stand.

We may fear that most Americans, Mexicans, and Canadians (and other peoples) are not biocentric believers that other species have a right to exist for their own sakes. At least, most are not hard believers in a Nature-first ethic. We should not worry so much. Jack Humphrey, the webmaster for The Rewilding Institute and former executive director of the Sky Island Alliance, writes in an email:

“These days I am more of an outsider than the insider I used to be in the conservation community and I can tell you with 100 percent confidence, the conservation movement has NOTHING to lose by being bold, outspoken, and unmovable on our issues.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Dave Foreman is founder of The Rewilding Institute.

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16 comments

  1. Wonderful essay! It strikes at the heart of what has been lurking around the corners of the conservation movement for some time. Even supposedly dedicated “conservation” groups often push the values of tax credits and “viewsheds” when appealing to land owners to “conserve” the land, rather than stressing the intrinsic value of the species that lived there long before humans claimed it for themselves. Open-space easements become “conservation easements,” although they only stop more building on that property and don’t preclude using it soley for human purpsose – crops, grazing, lawns, or whatever. We need to boldly take the next step and conserve land and other ecosystems for its own value – for the value of all the species that make it their home.

    Those of us who know, deep in our hearts, that all species have value in their own right, need to come out of the closet and stop putting conservation merely into terms of human benefit. As Dave suggests in responding to people who ask what good a species is, who are any of use to decide which species have more value than others? What good are we when we let our neighboring species disappear at the alarming rate they now are?

    I’m here. I’m a conservationist. Get used to it!

  2. “What good ARE you?” made me laugh out loud. Good job Dave!

  3. Dave, great essay, and I certainly take your point. However, that last quote is very much the rub. I think there is a lot of evidence that the conservation movement does indeed have a lot to lose by being “immoveable.” I don’t think it’s a betrayal of principle to say, we have to deal with political reality, and the political realities of today mean that immoveable=losing.

  4. Right-o Jonathan. I woud revise your last comment a bit though: immovable=lost. Gone, game over, too late to make that argument as it was so poorly articulated that it was perceived as EXACTLY that which Mr. Foreman fears: an elitist, human-centric plea for “saving” the last great places. And as if the “built environment” or humans are somehow less intrinsically valuable than other forms of matter in the universe. This is exactly the world-view that has undercut the important messages of the environmental/preservationist movement since its creation by Muir at Hetch Hetchy: regardless of intent, Muir was and is viewed as an elitist; perception is everything. Mr. Foreman, I hate to break it to you, but there are many, many people in this country and around the world that believe in the intrinsic value of that which is wild, yet value their own life over other beings/things in the universe, just like the “wild” animals in “wild” places, like wilderness areas and national parks (although some of the more wild places I have been were far from designated as set-asides). Find me a place on the planet that is not somehow affected by humans. Not that this is a good thing per se, but the point is that there is no such thing as wilderness, doesnt exist except by stroke of the Congressional pen. Its a construct that has created haves and have nots; that is: those with habitat that can be manipulated more directly and those without habitat that can be manipulted directly (Capital W wilderness). Indirect management of wilderness abounds through various highly influential ecosystem components that we humans influence greatly: carbon, air, fire, etc. These human influenced components dont have the same nefarious aesthetic look to them as a mine or a clearcut, but their influence can be greater, to be sure. Whats the point? This: you decry “management” as somehow antithetical to wildness. I argue that there is no such thing, and if we can agree on that (not holding breath) then the question becomes: For whom and how do we choose to manage the ecosystem (knowing of course that there is no such thing as omnipotent management of an ecosystem while recognizing that we still have a role to play; see Mr’ Foreman’s allusion to re-introduction of species such as wolves)? This is the question. I prefer to consider myself a steward of a fairly degraded gaia system; one in need of humans to turn their intention from one of exploitation to stewardship of habitat for all life, including ourselves.

  5. Dave Foreman, as usual, makes many great points. When looking at the tapestry of folks that make up the modern conservation/environmental/preservation movement, there are a myriad of points of view and emphases. I have been puzzled and frustrated by one particular aspect of this without a clear picture of how to progress in terms of being a leader in an organization with these many irons in the fire.
    If you have a large group of people whose primary concerns are environmental injustices done to them in the places where they live, primarily urban, how do you get them to find the time/energy/concern to realize that the larger wilderness issues affect them as well and to feel open to engaging on these issues. . . . ? I often hear the refrain that they can’t afford to care about trees, mtns, wildlife, rivers, etc. and, while I can see their point to an extent, this frustrates the bejeebies out of me!
    To have to answer to someone’s simplistic accusation, whether a winger or a single mother, that I “care for animals more than people” is increasingly absurd, but they just cannot seem to grasp the connections and we are left feeling exasperated.

    and vice versa, how does one get those people who primarily concern themselves with wilderness issues far away from urban centers to likewise see themselves in the battle to protect people in those centers from the ravages of pollution, decay and the very antithesis of wilderness, and also see that we must engage these very people in the larger appreciation of nature far from their usual environments for the sake of all our futures?

    We are so broad, but at heart, interconnected, yet one can often feel one has to choose to work a narrow approach.

  6. Okay, Dave, you’re our favorite and most wise conservation guru; I keep a copy of “Confessions of an Eco-Warrior” with me to read whenever; and this truly is another great article, but… It is a bit philosophical.

    For those who float high enough in the rarified intellectual air, are already cognizant of the “infiltration problem” within so many parts of the mainstream “conservation movement,” and are already pretty much in your camp, this is a great inspirational piece; however, I worry whether it might be too polite, too gentile, and too compassionate in framing any clear picture of the evils of “slip-sliding collaboration” to properly ignite a discussion across a broad public spectrum. I don’t really know; I’m just speculating; but, frankly, I doubt that most “enviro-resourcists” will even recognize themselves from this very kind and compassionate description, much less ponder a change in path.

    Again, I have the deepest respect and I’m not criticizing; I’m just wondering aloud about where we are and where we go now after the past few years.

  7. I’ve read Deep Ecology – and what I took from that book was the ethic of ‘biospheric egalitarianism’ – the notion that all species have an identical right to live. That’s a simplification, but it boils down to plain and simple humility – a ‘we’re all in this together’ reasoning. It resonated deep inside me and I’ve not looked back. (I will happily scoop the spider off the kitchen wall and toss it my garden – then return to the steak or chicken dinner I cooked.)

    I believe the roots of conservation lie in those moments right after humans created that which could be threatened by the ‘natural’ world – the force that could undo what we created. That moment is lived daily, when someone sprays a weed killer on a dandelion in their yard. Or a rancher shoots a wolf that’s stalking a sheep. Or we build a dam for irrigation purposes. All of these activities have corollaries in the natural world – an animal protecting its food source from another animal, a bird picking up sticks (two by fours?) to build its home, or a beaver building a dam.

    ‘Deep Ecology’ was a watershed moment in my understanding of ‘environmentalism’ and conservation. Nevertheless, I feel there’s a philosophical ghost bound up in the ‘environmental movement’ or conservation ethic – something that haunts the presuppositions of this ethos. And that ghost is the separation of humans from nature – to the point where it’s something so separate from us we need to keep it safe.

    When did we become so separate from nature it became something we are not? An entity with a legal definition we need to protect?

    Something significant happened at that moment – because we’ve gone from being damn near indistinguishable from it in our earliest form to coming damn close to ruining it today. Perhaps that moment came and went before the Paleolithic period – before we had the tools necessary to create objects that were not ‘naturally’ provided. (Maybe the anthropologists are right and it comes down to tool use.)

    In either case, do the roots of conservation lie in our earliest moments when nature was something we talked about and no longer did or were? Understanding why nature is something so apart from us it requires protection and is generally understood to be what we aren’t (roads and buildings, for example) is a crucial task before us.

  8. Excellent, thought-provoking essay. For those interested, this article has been linked to and is being discussed over at Grist as well; here’s the link:

    http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2007/3/26/152849/926

  9. After reading all the comments above, I feel a constructive crtiticism of Dave’s article is needed.

    I like the fact that Dave continues to hammer away in an unrelenting fashion on the central theme that has inspired so many of us for so many years. However, I must take issue with Dave’s dichotomy between the enviro-resourcist and the “real” conseraitonists. I take issue because, according to Dave’s definitions, I fit into both camps. I therefore do not believe these categories are accurate. Nor do I think this outdated tewetieth-century perspective (heavily influenced by 19th century conditions) is necessarily helpful.

    First, with well over six billion people in the world, most of whom live in rapidly developing countries that are rapidly overtaking ours in terms of gross consumption, Dave’s dichotomy between humans and wildness, where wildness is defined and valued by the absence of human influences, is increasingly a discussion only of the elite and priviledged .

    Second, talking about “wild” country as defined by the absence of human influence precludes the opportunity to re-define our relationship with wildlands such that wildness and human presence are not mutually exclusive. In the twenty-first century and beyond we must fundamentally reconsider how we interact with wildness such that we become contributing species of the ecosystem, not as species which, by definition, are apart from wildness (as Dave seems to be doing).

    Third, I actually believe the second point is more in line with the Re-Wilding Instituter’s philosophy than Dave’s article ironically). Indeed, we must reexamine ourselves and our capacity to be wild within before we will be comfortable living with wildness around us.

    But to get to come full circle, enviro-resourcist-conservationists like myself are very much the “cannots” that Leopold talked about. However, we don’t believe that wildness and human influence are inconsistent. Why is it, for instance, that when another species affects its environment by using it as habitat, it does not alter the “wildness”? Yet, when a human enters the equation, it automatically eliminate the “wildness”? Its not the presence of humans that should be at question when discussing wildness. Its the quality of human interaction with the environment as a whole that ought to be of primary concern.

    Once again, I commend Dave’s unrelenting advocacy for the intrisic value of wild species (and I strongly agree with this belief system). I simply believe his message must be reevaluated such that the artificial dichotomy he draws between humans and wildness is eliminated and the focus is reoriented such that it considers that quality and character of human interactions with our fellow wild species, rather than the mere presence of humans within an ecosystem.

  10. That there is no monolithic environmentalism is self-evident. We all value nature/the environment/ wilderness in differing ways, and so arguing that there is one true environmentalism as Foreman does, is preposterous. Not only are such arguments exclusionary, they end any conversation on the environment before it starts.

    In the late 1970s, the modern environmental movement stalled out in its ability to mobilize the American people into action. Beginning in the 1960s, concerns over the environment combined with under heard of affluence led to legislation such as the Clean Air Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and the Wilderness Act. This changed once the nation’s economic fortunes changed, leading to the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, and the slow rolling back of what gains had been made in the decades prior. During this time environmentalists –using Foreman’s definition, failed to realize the failure of their rhetoric of wilderness preservation above all else, and so so-called enviro-resourcists stepped in.

    Of course, there have always been people who thought along these lines, including one Aldo Leopold. That there is a rich history of environmental thinkers over the past 100 years is our strength. Not, as Foreman argues, our weakness. By including man in nature, as many here have pointed out, we can not only gain a better understanding of how to best balance our desires with our realities.

  11. This is an interesting discussion, but seems academic and disconnected from reality. Hello, the climate is changing! We need a whole new vision for wildlife protection that factor in the changes that are occurring as we speak.

    Crisis begets opportunity, and I would like to see more talk about how the climate crisis can be used as an opportunity to protect more habitats. New funding from carbon taxes could be used to acquire more wildlife habitat under a carbon sequestration program. Roads could be closed to reduce fuel use on public lands. Instead of fighting the last war with the same tactics, how about some new ideas?

  12. Nagasaki brings up a valid point, and one that fit in nicely with the above “academic” ramblings. Like wilderness in the 1960s, global warming appears to be a broader issue in which environmentalists, conservationists, and even enviro-resourcists can hang their hat on. It has the added benefit of being concrete enough to average people who don’t spend much time pondering the values of wilderness, say like clean air and water (Clean Air Act, 1963; Clean Water Act 1972). And while wilderness is a worthwhile endeavor, one can make the argument that we can live without it. Hell, millions do every day.

  13. On Wednesday (3-28-07) a Seattle Post-Intelligencer article covered the 50th anniversary dinner of the North Cascades Conservation Council (N3C), completely, if unknowingly, emphasizing Dave Foreman’s point as to environmental vs. conservation:

    “A Seattle-based environmental think tank, the Sightline Institute, publishes an annual Cascadia Scorecard. It regularly showers praise on British Columbia as having more compact neighborhoods, less appetite for gasoline and even fewer teenage births.

    In “The Wild Cascades,” N3C’s quarterly journal, however, you’ll read about British Columbia’s vast clearcuts, high-elevation logging scars that won’t grow back, and stripping of forests up to the boundaries of our protected lands.

    An outfit that fearless deserves to live another 50 years.”
    _____________________

  14. Twenty five years ago it was easy to be moved by inspirational words, to dream of the big wild, to talk all night around the campfire – we didn’t know what else to do and writing letters seemed pretty lame. But now I know that keeping things wild involves hard work, day in and out, like finding lawyers, biologists and money to pay them. It means meeting with politicians, passing legislation to protect a few chunks at a time, building alliances with rural communities, unelecting bad actors and the thousands of incremental actions that make up the conservation movement. It means thinking and acting creatively, whether its using climate change as the driver or the grandmother who just had her ranch overrun with oil wells – its more than just words.

  15. I was intrigued by a comment way above by Danb635: “The only way to make this sustainable is to un-develop at an equal rate to development.”

    Dan dismisses this, but is it completely dismissable? I’m thinking of great swaths of Russia and Eastern Europe in which entire villages have been abandoned because of either greater fortunes found elsewhere or negative population growth. In the U.S., urban places like Detroit and other Rustbelt cities that have seen hard economic times and mass out-migration. Here in Montana, there’s plenty of old mining towns whose heydays have long gone. And the transition to industrial argriculture has rendered rural farm towns throughout the U.S. obsolete.

    All these places were at one time wilderness. Is it absurd to consider rebuilding wilderness, one block at a time?

  16. I tend to agree with Mike (3-27-07) in that the essay addresses the very crucial problem of slip-sliding but without the fire breathing condemnation necessary. We need to work with urgency and haste to identify and oust those who infiltrate the mainstream conservation movement. That said Mike Petersen provides a reality check in that our passion must be constant and able to endure the ups and downs that are inherent in this battle. I call for tempered fire-breathing conviction.

    I enjoyed the thorough explanation of the piece as well as the “Well. What good ARE YOU?” retort. That mentality is the toughness which will enable us to keep wild that which is wild. Breathe fire my friends!