The Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World

The Rambunctious Garden Saving Nature in a Post Wild World 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 h

  • Title: The Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World
  • Author: Emma Marris
  • ISBN: 9781608194544
  • Page: 321
  • Format: Paperback
  • 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that our goal is to preserve nature in its pristine, pre human state But many scientists have come to see this as an outdated dream that thwarts bold new plans to save the environment and prevents us from having a fuller relationship with nature Humans have chanA paradigm shift is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that our goal is to preserve nature in its pristine, pre human state But many scientists have come to see this as an outdated dream that thwarts bold new plans to save the environment and prevents us from having a fuller relationship with nature Humans have changed the landscapes they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.

    One thought on “The Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World”

    1. Rambunctious Garden represents a kind of postmodern coming-of-age for the restoration ecology movement. Most readers interpret the book as a straightforward critique of the movement and its ideas, and the often condescending tone Marris takes lends itself to that reading. Viewed through that lens, most of the book seems to be looking down on someone, but it's never clear on whom and from where. It's each of the critiques that Morris explores was developed by a member of the conservation communit [...]

    2. The seeds of a good book are here, but too often the writer misunderstands human impact on nature as human control of nature:We are already running he whole Earth, whether we admit it or not. To run it consciously and effectively, we must admit our role and even embrace it. [p.2]Unintended consequences, anyone? The idea that because humans are arguably part of "Nature," anthropogenic change of pretty much any kind is no problem leads to some real clunkers, like the author's conviction that it is [...]

    3. The pristine wilderness notion is a historically created idea about what ought to count as nature, and there is no reason we can’t change it. Just as the definition of citizen has changed to include more kinds of people as political ideas changed, so could nature expand to include more kinds of areas. Many ecologists today argue that we have to expand it, as our increasing understanding of history and atmospheric chemistry has left us with no areas at all that have not been altered by humans. [...]

    4. Well told and very convincing. A few passages I liked: "Everything has been tainted. Nature as a separate thing has ended. For environmentalists like McKibben, the pristineness rule has been made very strict. A single rusty hubcap tucked under the ferns, a wildfire observation station visible on the horizon, a species moved, an atmosphere heated, a forest felled two hundred years ago—it doesn’t take much to chase away 'nature' if nature must be perfectly 'untouched' or 'pristine.' Having ere [...]

    5. Well done, indeed. It's one of those "everything you know is wrong" books, and it lays out fact after fact to help convince you. Perhaps the most striking revelation for me (and I'm admittedly slow to notice stuff) was that the "pristine wilderness" concept of conservation is a myth. And has been a myth since the ascent of man. So much so that any return of the wilderness to a pristine state is completely out of the question because there's no way to know what it looked like then. The case for m [...]

    6. A thought-provoking read on ecology and the stewardship of our earth. It never occurred to me before to question the philosophy that nature would be best if humans had never touched it—to try to get it back to some sort of pre-European state. But perhaps the goal of having most of the world as untouched wilderness is impossible, and I love the alternatives that Emma Maris points out in this book.

    7. I’ve been reading a lot of “post-modern ecology,” books lately, and this one is probably the most comprehensive and concise of them.

    8. This book is controversial, but deliberately so I think, in trying to attract attention from conservationists and more readers. The premise is that we should not only concentrate on preserving so called pristine wilderness areas, as firstly there is really no such thing in the Anthropocene where human activities have impacted every inch of the planet. Reading the negative reviews before reading the book, I started with some trepidation, but it ended up being not as bad as I thought. Yes, 'true' [...]

    9. For someone like me, who came of age celebrating the idea of wilderness, this book was a refreshing rethink of the relationship humanity has to nature. The book is not a scientific tome (though it is referenced) and its short length and journalistic writing makes for a quick read; but the return on the time spent is high. Emma Marris provides a quick review, and debunking, of the notions of unchanging and pristine nature that have dominated much of our thinking for at least the last 50 years. Sh [...]

    10. A clear and thoughtful book that has complicated my thinking about landscape. Recommended to me by an ornithologist and a journalist (both great readers of fiction), I find myself thinking about Marris as I bike through town, hike through thoroughly-used subalpine forest, and "tend" my struggling lawn. What might I do to create a more "rambunctious" space for other species? Pure wilderness doesn't truly exist, so what can any of us actually *do* during the short span of our lifetimes to support [...]

    11. I really loved this book. It opened my eyes to a new way of thinking about conservation and I'm really excited to explore these ideas further.

    12. This is one of those rare books where the author discusses controversial and somewhat complex ecological ideas in a way that is clear but engaging, and neither overly technical or in an overly literary style. Novel ecosystems are one of my central research interests these days, and Marris manages to capture the main points of the concepts relating novelty, wilderness, nativeness, etc. with just the right the level of detail. In a fairly brief book, she manages enough history and science to provi [...]

    13. I like Marris' thesis, and the writing is pretty good too. For some reason though, I still didn't find it very engaging. I noticed a lot of connections to sociological evolution of thought (which created the sub field of environmental sociology) to the new ecological thoughts Marris introduces.

    14. It's a super interesting topic and I loved listening to her speak, but I just couldn't get into her writing style. Sentences were very long and a little hard to follow.

    15. 7/10. A very interesting and important read. I would recommend this to everyone on the grounds of educating ourselves about our world and the part we can play in furthering "nature". This was also a valuable read in the way of shifting paradigms- another reason everyone should read it. I thought the author did a good job of showing more than one side to the arguments she brought up, which is why I would recommend this, but I don't think she should have the last say. I would be more likely to use [...]

    16. A fascinating look at ecosystems in the world as it actually exists. The one where elk chose to give birth next to highways because of the lesser number of bears.All the difficulties in the classic model of an ecosystem that stays the same forever with interactions. Even the addition of "disturbance" with the theory that the forest could, say, have regions regrowing from forest fire was not enough. There are forests that look primordial, but have trees that could grow for a millennium, where non [...]

    17. DNFing 26% in. So far, the writing is repetitive, dry, and complete speculation. Nearly every other sentence refers to evolution as fact instead of the theory that it is.I was under the impression that this book offered some creative alternatives to standard conservation efforts and maybe that's included later in the book, but I just don't want to slog through any more of this to get to it.

    18. Grist wrote that Rambunctious Garden is “Potentially the most optimistic and controversial work about the future of nature to appear in years.” I don’t know about the optimistic part—pages of the book left me feeling utterly deflated, but I whole-heartedly agree with the controversial part. Reading Rambunctious Garden is akin to embarking on an intellectual and philosophical rumination over what comprises the concepts of nature, wilderness, and conservation. The ground Emma Marris covers [...]

    19. Another ecology book for me. I heartily enjoyed it. The book gave good overviews of current topics in ecology, which could have been the subtitle. It came to similar conclusions about the futility of "restoration ecology" as I had been cultivating in my own brain over the past year or so. If there was a downside to the book it was that most of the information came from interviews with researchers rather than from particular studies. I would have liked more research and data rather than just opin [...]

    20. "Restoring the complex ecosystems we have destroyed may be, at the moment, just too hard. We don't know enough about what they looked like or how they worked. Our restoration projects may be too small, in many cases, to capture the complex processes we have lost. We can't get the magic back. The alternative, says Palmer, is not to restore some notional and incompletely apprehended past but to design or engineer for specific, measurable goals"This is from the end part of a book that I found prett [...]

    21. This book opened my eyes in terms of thinking about how humans and nature can co-exist. Chapters two through five discussed issues in restoration – if trees are theatened by climate change, should we move them to a cooler habitat? - which I found mildly interesting and went through rapidly. But chapter one and the last few chapters explain in detail how we might look differently at “nature” and how a new understanding might enable us to save more and to enrich what we do have. If a still c [...]

    22. In the end, Emma Marris writes that she was was told not to write a book unless she was truly passionate about the subject. In reading "Rambunctious Garden" you can have no doubt about Marris's passionate for the topic of nature and wilderness in a world in which it is hard to find any corner left untouched by humanity. At the end of each chapter I found myself writing down places I wanted to visit and sensing a longing to join with the assorted crew of conservation biologists and ecologists Mar [...]

    23. I picked this book up because of my abiding interest in urban ecology and revisioning what we mean by the word "nature." I found Marris' writing to be very easy to comprehend, the flow was easy and built well, and each chapter tackled a different but complementary subject within the rapidly evolving world of ecology. She discusses much more than urban ecology but all of her topics (whether it's assisted migration or introducing cheetahs and elephants to North America) center around the topic of [...]

    24. The author discusses some very interesting points when it comes to natural resource management and our expectations and assumptions. Many important topics are covered. The examples were thought provoking and I can even say they shifted my view of managing lands and species to some extent. I'll be honest, the first half of the book was more fun to read than the second half. One thing that really bothered was that relatively early in the book the author mentioned the "flightless" nene goose of Haw [...]

    25. This is an excellent book. It is science, well researched, and written for a diverse and wide audience inclusive of those who simply appreciate nature, as well as home gardeners, land owners, farmers, city planners, landscapers, horticulturalists, environmentalists, conservationists right on up to ecologists. Even if you don't have a garden, indoor plants or green space of your own, I highly recommend The Rambunctious Garden to you for reading. It was a surprise to me when the book ended but tha [...]

    26. I love a lot of the big ideas in this book and it helped me wrap my head around the shift in conservation ecology and what a "natural" baseline for anything really is. But it was a "read in fits and starts" thing for me. I like a little more literary narrative in my non-fiction and the narrative here sometimes gets bogged down by information. I realize Marris is crafting an argument and, essentially, using quotes form scientists as her citations to uphold that argument, and I appreciate that - i [...]

    27. This is a wonderfully written book about far-reaching effects of how we, as a society, view "nature" and "wilderness". It is especially important as we start considering the remediation of post-industrial sites, large-scale conservation efforts, and the effects of climate change on ecological functions. Probing the current best practices of ecological remediation and conservation, Emma Marris questions what it means to "remediate" - to restore an area to past conditions. She proposes looking tow [...]

    28. Many scientists and environmental science writers that I respect suggested that this book was worth reading. They were correct. Marris provides a well-documented assessment of our perceptions of what "natural" areas are, and how those perceptions may not always be helpful to us as we try to decide on strategies to conserve or restore natural areas.She really makes you think about what the historical baselines actually mean, and asks us to consider other ways to live with our environment rather t [...]

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