August 30, 2011
A paradigm shift is roiling the environmental world. For decades people have unquestioningly accepted the idea that our goal is to preserve nature in its pristine, pre-human state. But many scientists have come to see this as an outdated dream that thwarts bold new plans to save the environment and prevents us from having a fuller relationship with nature. Humans have changed the landscapes they inhabit since prehistory, and climate change means even the remotest places now bear the fingerprints of humanity. Emma Marris argues convincingly that it is time to look forward and create the “rambunctious garden,” a hybrid of wild nature and human management.
In this optimistic book, readers meet leading scientists and environmentalists and visit imaginary Edens, designer ecosystems, and Pleistocene parks. Marris describes innovative conservation approaches, including rewilding, assisted migration, and the embrace of so-called novel ecosystems.
From a Book Review by Janet Raloff of Science News: Magazine of the Society for Science & the Public:
“Marris hauls out a wheelbarrow-load of research indicating that humans have altered nearly every inch of the terrestrial landscape at one time or another (even ignoring the global transport of air pollutants and perturbation of the climate). So any claim that a place is “pristine,” she argues, requires substantial caveats. But Marris makes a strong case that this doesn’t mean there aren’t ecosystems worth saving, or at least tweaking.”