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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 review is by Dick Carter.

Environmental Ethics. Summer 2006. “Technology and the Wilderness Experience.” Sarah Pohl.

Lost and hurt deep in some wilderness and more often than not nowadays a cell phone is used to call for help (thank the dead zones!) Or is it even possible to get lost as the GPS unit, or whatever it is called, determines your exact location. Reading a topo map (I’ve met folks in the woods who don’t even know what that is!) is a disappearing language. I’ve seen people with laptops listening to some radio station in some far flung place. The point is what is necessary and what is important to making a wilderness experience—keeping it wild—versus what simply alters the wild experience. As the author of this article notes, what is important equipment and what is a needless device?

Never simple answers but powerful guidance is offered within a philosophical context by simply examining devices in their context and also by their relationship to other technologies brought into the backcountry. If wildness is to persist, it must not only transcend the ever-present road, non-native species, drilling rigs and a host of physical threats but also our personal arrogance downward-spiraling ethics. We had better learn what the author calls “responsible simplicity” if wild experiences are to persist.


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