A paradigm shift is roiling the environmental world. For decades people have unquestioningly accepted the idea that our goal is to preserve nature in its pristine, pre-human state. But many scientists have come to see this as an outdated dream that thwarts bold new plans to save the environment and prevents us from having a fuller relationship with nature. Humans have changed the landscapes they inhabit since prehistory, and climate change means even the remotest places now bear the fingerprints of humanity. Emma Marris argues convincingly that it is time to look forward and create the "rambunctious garden," a hybrid of wild nature and human management.
In this optimistic book, listeners meet leading scientists and environmentalists and visit imaginary Edens, designer ecosystems, and Pleistocene parks. Marris describes innovative conservation approaches, including re-wilding, assisted migration, and the embrace of so-called novel ecosystems.
Rambunctious Garden is short on gloom and long on interesting theories and fascinating narratives, all of which bring home the idea that we must give up our romantic notions of pristine wilderness and replace them with the concept of a global, half-wild rambunctious garden planet, tended by us.
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Very bad book
Inaccurate. Patronizing. Very bad science. Ignorant. I was very hopeful that this would be an interesting approach to a very serious subject, but I was bitterly disappointed.
- L.E. Winter
Conservation at the Cusp of Change
The storytelling and site-specific descriptions make this scientifically rigorous book unusually memorable and meaningful.
Marris extracts from the polarized advocates (human manipulation v. hands-off of nature) direct quotes that vividly show the deep emotions and uncertainties in this unusual time of worldviews in collision.
Anyone concerned about climate change will find the science stories in this book deeply disturbing, in that humans will have to get extensively involved in helping plants move north faster than they are capable of doing on their own.
- Michael Dowd