Review: The World and the Wild

By Streatfeild, Rosemary A. | Electronic Green Journal, January 1, 2002 | Go to article overview

Review: The World and the Wild


Streatfeild, Rosemary A., Electronic Green Journal


Review: The World and the Wild By David Rothenberg and Marta Ulvaeus (Eds.) Reviewed by Rosemary A. Streatfeild Washington State University, USA David Rothenberg & Marta Ulvaeus (Eds.). The World and the Wild. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press, 2001. 232 pp. ISBN 0-8165-2063-1 (paper). US$19.95. Acid-free, archival quality paper.

Normally viewed as a western concept, books on wilderness are more often focused on those countries that can afford to preserve their wild areas. The World and the Wild moves the philosophical discussion of wilderness to nonwestern countries. Edited by David Rothenburg and Marta Ulvaeus, and with a foreword by Vance G. Martin, Director of the WILD Foundation, this book brings together a collection of papers previously published in a variety of sources in anticipation of the Sixth World Wilderness Congress held in Bangalore, India, in October 1998.

Professor Rothenburg introduces the book by asking how much the concept of wilderness preservation is an extension of colonialism, and how much is a true desire to protect landscapes and resources in ways that will benefit those peoples who rely on them to the value of all. He argues that wilderness protection should not be a substitute for basic human values and fairness, that it is a concept of concern for all nations worldwide. He expresses a need to bring all voices together to share unique experiences and ideas, and, together with his co-editor Martha Ulvaeus, has achieved a solid beginning in producing this anthology.

The chapters that follow Rothernburg's introduction express visions of what wildness means to other cultures. Sixteen contributors from a variety of backgrounds and countries share ideas and experiences from their familiar locales, from places as diverse as Nepal and Kenya, Borneo and Brazil, Papua New Guinea and Chile, and the United States and South Africa. Because of this, writing styles and substance differ significantly, adding to the flavor and character of the volume.

Throughout the book, the theme of observing local expertise when constructing plans for wildland conservation is present. It can be enlightening reading to those of us living in the more privileged environments to learn that other countries do not share our righteous views on conservation.

We listen to stories that express wisdom brought about by local experience, such as the dialog between Tularam and Pramod in "How Can Four Trees Make A Jungle?

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