On conserving or remaking the natural world

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In the last decades of the twentieth century nature writing lost some of its enchantment with the idea of wilderness. It was criticized for its remoteness, separating the natural world from human life, for being out of step with the interests of Indigenous peoples, and for holding an otherwise dynamic natural world, static. Recently, however, writers have begun to rehabilitate the idea of wilderness, and call for increased wilderness conservation. The period of critique was helpful in clarifying both the nature and need for wilderness conservation, as well as for other stewardship practices. I trace some of the disagreements, particularly between the traditional conservationist and those advocating bolder stewardship practices that do not so much conserve the natural world as they remake it. I doubt that we either do or must live in an exclusively post-wild engineered world, and find a place also for natural heritage and its conservation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20
JournalBiology and Philosophy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • Anthropocentrism
  • Conservation
  • Eco-Modernism
  • Heritage
  • Wilderness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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