This week’s featured wilderness thinker is Jeff Baldwin, Associate Professor of Geography at Sonoma State University. Jeff’s paper reminds us that non-human actors have shaped wilderness for millennia and that we should consider them as important partners in the ecosystem we share. Jeff proposes a thought experiment; to reflect and reconsider our position and move away from an anthropocentric perspective reminding us of the potential of the constant “processes of organization, self-organization, and decay in hybrid human-nature combinations” (Radkau, 1978: 308-325)
The article is in part a response to recent calls in the environmental history literature both to engage more fully with social theory and to re-invigorate an examination of human-environment dialectics. Through a re-visitation of Marx’s work on material historicity in light of recent research on animal behavior, the article provides a theoretical framework through which non-human beings can be understood as historic actors, in and of themselves. That argument provides a theoretical framework to support practical projects which seek to ‘partner’ with non-human actors in efforts to modify and/or restore landscapes and ecosystem services. Read More….
Digital image still from featured video work, Down, Up, Down: Pine Mountain Breathing (2014)
This week’s featured wilderness thinker is Zoé Strecker, artist, writer and art professor. Zoé’s ‘multi-modal thinking’ is consolidated through her durational exploration of Pine Mountain, a ridge in the Appalachian Mountains that runs through Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee. Pine Mountainrepresents the last great contiguous stretch of unfragmented forest in Kentucky, breached only by six roads in 110 miles and is also a significant unprotected wilderness area.
Zoé’s engagement develops a mindful ecology around Pine Mountain extending her wilderness thinking into other communities through the students and volunteers with whom she works and collaborates, which includes SITE, an arts-led interdisciplinary educational collaboration with philosopher, Prof. Peter S. Fosl at Transylvania University, Lexington, Kentucky. This exploration of Pine Mountain generates creative and scholarly responses along with Zoé’s personal arts practice, which celebrates the exceptional biodiversity of Pine Mountain in southeastern Kentucky. Read More….
Sundews, Prince William Sound. Image: Marybeth Holleman
This weeks featured thinker, writer and teacher Marybeth Holleman grew up in North Carolina’s Appalachian mountains and transplanted to Alaska’s Chugach mountains after falling head over heels for Prince William Sound. “As a writer,” she says, “I owe it all to natural places.” It’s there that we meet the real world unmediated by daily distractions, and rediscover our proper scale in the greater scheme of life. Art, in all its forms, can help lead the way, and wilderness, as this week’s featured thinker reminds us, is an inspiration. Read more….
Wilderness Research, Ian Sanderson and Nathan Wooldridge, 2015
This week’s featured thinker is Ian Sanderson, a recent high school graduate, living in Taos, New Mexico. Ian’s recent research for a high school environmental science class took him winter camping with Nathan Wooldridge to William’s Lake to study the relationship between snow pack and its importance in the planning and safety of snow sports. William’s Lake is an alpine lake in Taos, New Mexico located high in the Sangre de Christo mountains below Wheeler Peak in the Wheeler Peak Wilderness of Carson National Forest. Read more….
This week’s featured thinker is John Bailey, BLM manager of the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. As Senators Udall and Heinrich introduce a bill to protect special areas as wilderness within the northern New Mexico national monument it seemed timely to feature John’s presentation from the Thinking Wilderness Pecha Kucha event in partnership with Pecha Kucha Taos.Read more……
View over Northern part of the Lairig Ghru. Image: Nigel Brown, 1996 Geograph.org.uk
This week’s feature takes a slightly different format as we wanted to introduce you to a wilderness thinker we have selected in memoriam, Nan Shepherd (1893 – 1981). We introduce her work, The Living Mountain, through a re-reading and link to a radio broadcast by Robert Macfarlane, an english scholar who writes about landscape, place, travel and nature. The broadcast includes extracts from Shepherd’s work alongside Robert Macfarlane’s narration of his ‘poetic pilgrimage’ to her beloved Cairngorms.Read more……
Tobi Luck is a gardener, living and working on the edge of the wild Atlantic, in County Sligo. His garden exists in a constant dynamic; the gentle sensitive cultivation and management of growing food against an uncontrollable elemental backdrop of an edge-dwelling location.
Between land and sea, Tobi has created a niche that exists alongside wilderness. This week’s featured thinker reminds of our interdependence with a system that does not rely on us. Read more….