7 Apr 2009

The Price We Pay to Hide the Wild: Shepard, Coming Home to the Pleistocene, Ch.8, subsection 4

Paul Shepard

Coming Home to the Pleistocene

Chapter VIII: Wildness and Wilderness

Subsection 4

The Price We Pay
to Hide the Wild

Our natural systems are coming undone. It's time we do away with the conception of the wilderness "as the last zoo, as an exalted, beautiful picture, as a precious, exotic landscape, or as a storehouse of tomorrow's resources." We measure our weakness against wildness. The strength of our technologies indicates our failures to survive in the wilderness. The wild is more than our therapeutic retreat. And our concern for nature is not altruism. It is survival.
Wild species, not an illuminated Nature, are the components of wilderness. Animals and plants are correlates of our inmost selves in a literal as well as metaphoric sense -- literal in the identity of their DNA and our capacity to analogize them as a society. (138a, emphasis mine)
But to become Pleistocene, we must hunt. How can that be meaningful now? If we set aside wilderness sanctuaries, we affirm the privatization of everything else.
The corporate enterprise in the use of the earth is not interested in either human or natural well-being. Its claims of altruism are made by hired publicists and its sole purpose is to convert the "resources" of the earth into money for its investors. The "trickle-down" benefit for the mass of humanity and for the order of nature is one of the great lies of our time. (138b)
Corporations have taken-over the moral worth of our land.

Shepard, Paul. Coming Home to the Pleistocene. Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 1998.

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