Magazine article Mother Jones

Martha Stewart on the Tundra

Magazine article Mother Jones

Martha Stewart on the Tundra

Article excerpt

Journalist Jon Mooallem on the brave new world of conservation

Mother Jones: Your new book, Wild Ones, explores our contradictory relationships with wildlife and the herculean efforts people put into saving creatures that might not even be savable. What inspired you to write it?

Jon Mooallem: I was doing some reporting about conservation, and I couldn't believe how intricate it all was and to what degree everything had escalated. Everywhere I looked there were these bizarre stories of feats that had to be accomplished on behalf of animals-men in white suits flying planes to teach cranes to fly. It's just this mad scramble to save stuff, and you don't always know if you're heading in the right direction, but there's something dignified in just being in the scramble.

MJ: How do we prioritize, with so many species in danger?

JM: It's relatively recently that we've gone from feeling like we should annihilate anything that's in our way to feeling like we might work incredibly hard to not annihilate it. That's a huge pivot. There's a lot of confusion about climate change, about what that means for things. And there are some really interesting conversations going on about just lifting up species and moving them somewhere else. It seems if we know anything, it's that there are a lot of unintended consequences. But there's something really noble and beautiful about working so hard to do something where you don't have all the answers.

MJ: In the book, you visit Churchill, Manitoba, where the local economy revolves around tourists traveling there to take pictures of polar bears. …

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