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High Uintas Bookshelf

A High Uintas Bookshelf

In this column we’ll list 2-4 interesting articles, books or the like that have caught our attention. They aren’t necessarily recent or recently read-- sort of a random compilation. Within a year, hopefully, we’ll have an established and detailed reading list. It won’t be complete without your additions. Please send suggestions and a descriptive sentence or two.

This month's book reviews are by Board Member Rick Van Wagenen.

Unmanaged Landscapes: Voices for Untamed Nature, edited by Bill Willers, 256 pages, Island Press, 1999.

The idea that humans can effectively manage and wisely control and manipulate the natural world is almost universally accepted in our culture. Even when problems arise, the solution is always assumed to just be better management. Bill Willer's compiles a series of insightful essays that challenge this deeply ingrained assumption. The essays are divided into three sections: biology and ecology, wilderness, and the philosophical and spiritual aspects of wilderness. The works of many well known 20th Century environmental thinkers are included here both as short vignettes and longer essays. Unmanaged Landscapes is both a great read and a good perspective to have as we enter a new century.

In Search of Nature by E. O. Wilson, 214 pages, Island Press, 1996.

This book is an assembly of short essays written by E.O. Wilson from 1975 through 1993. The central theme of the book is that wild nature and human nature are much more closely interwoven than is generally realized. Wilson argues that the only way to make any real sense of either is to examine humans and the natural world together as products of co-evolution. In this context, human nature begins to be appreciated as the product of not just the last ten thousand years of cultural evolution, but as a very deep and rich history of combined genetic and cultural changes that have taken place over many hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of years. The essays range from Wilson s sublime observations of sharks and ants to more philosophical issues such as altruism, the biophilia hypothesis and environmental ethics. In Search of Nature is a thought provoking book presenting an alternative world view that may go a long way to securing both our future and the future of other life on this planet.


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