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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 But many scientists have come to see this as an outdated dream that thwarts bold new plans to save the environment and prevents us from having a fuller relationship with nature.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, readers meet leading scientists and environmentalists and visit imaginary Edens, designer ecosystems, and Pleistocene parks. Marris describes innovative conservation approaches, including rewilding, 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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Emma Marris grew up in Seattle, Washington. Since 2004, she has written for the world's foremost science journal, Nature, on ecology, conservation Biology and other topics. Her articles have also appeared in Wired, the Christian Science Monitor, and Conservation. She currently lives in Columbia, Missouri, with her husband and daughter.Review:
“Potentially the most optimistic and controversial work about the future of nature to appear in years.” ―Grist.com
“Marris... challenges us to revisit the definition of nature in our increasingly unnatural world.” ―Nature
“Ms Marris's book is an insightful analysis of the thinking that informs nature conservation.” ―Economist
“May be the most important book about the environment in a generation.” ―Idaho Statesman
“Marris argues that the conservation and appreciation of nature can take place at far less exotic locations, such as backyards, city parks, farms, and even parking lots....This gracefully written and well-argued book deserves a wide readership.” ―Reason
“[Marris] doesn't just dwell in the imperfections of the past. She also offers forward-looking innovations.” ―Mother Jones
“Seamlessly intertwining lyrical travelogue with ecological science...[Marris] champions a controversial approach to conservation.” ―Discover
“Into her lively reporting, [Marris] weaves a fascinating story of the history of environmentalism and the controversies that occupy it today. It's a stimulating examination of the questions of stewardship and the future of our delicate planet that will challenge any simple answers.” ―Publishers Weekly
“Conservationists have long thought that the goal of ecological restoration should be a return to prehuman conditions, but, as Marris points out, this may not be the wisest course of action. Profiling a heroic new breed of conservationists who are exploring inventive methods for managing wildlife in all its forms, Marris showcases hopeful new concepts and constructive new practices.” ―Booklist
“Insightful, probing and well-written, Rambunctious Garden is a look at the often-overlooked players of the modern ecology and conservation movement.” ―Grid
“Covering the world of ecology and conservation from the ancient forests of Poland to the urban waterways of Seattle, Washington, Marris calls for a new kind of conservation that eschews the defensive stance of the past and embraces the challenges of acknowledging, understanding, protecting, and restoring the nature of the present and the future. This is a thought-provoking book that should be widely read and more widely discussed.” ―Kent H. Redford, director, Wildlife Conservation Society
“In Rambunctious Garden, Emma Marris weeds through a jungle of ecological dogma, yanking and hacking at our most cherished perceptions of Nature's purity. Marris asks us to look beyond the black-and-white world of pest and weed versus native and natural. And to humbly accept our duty, as tenders of a garden rambunctious beyond our ken, but not beyond our care.” ―William Stolzenburg, author of Rat Island and Where the Wild Things Were
“This is reality-based ecology at its best. It leads to far better science and conservation practices than the ideology of pristine ecosystems ever could.” ―Stewart Brand, author of Whole Earth Discipline
“Great environmental books tell a story and change our thinking―Emma Marris has written such a book. She shows conservation a way out of its sullen addiction to the parable of relentless decline, and offers instead a vision of a lively nature―poking itself rambunctiously into every human habitat and finding ways to run free in those rare places where humans do not step quite so heavily. I am hoping that everyone who works in conservation or somehow supports or cares about conservation and nature reads this book. It is Rachel Carson for the twenty-first Century.” ―Peter Kareiva, chief scientist, The Nature Conservancy
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