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The Fall of the Wild


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Table of Contents

1. Our Vanishing (and Reappearing) Wildlife
2. A Bird in the Hand
3. The Call of the Quasi Wild
4. Elephants Somewhere
5. Promethean Dreams
6. Heaven and Earth
Further Reading

About the Author

Ben A. Minteer holds the Arizona Zoological Society Endowed Chair at Arizona State University, where he is a professor of environmental ethics and conservation in the School of Life Sciences. He has authored or edited many books, including The Landscape of Reform: Civic Pragmatism and Environmental Thought in America (2006) and The Ark and Beyond: The Evolution of Zoo and Aquarium Conservation (2018).


Wise and subtle book on the ethics of modern wildlife conservation. -- Jennie Erin Smith * The Wall Street Journal *
What to do-and not to do-about the biodiversity crisis that we ourselves are engineering? In The Fall of the Wild, Ben Minteer takes us through the options. His assessment of the situation is balanced, clear-sighted, and humane. -- Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History
In a kind of writing that has become rare today because of its mix of honesty, eloquence and compassion, Ben Minteer has done us all a favor by giving us a clear-headed, full-hearted perspective on where the conservation movement can and should move in the future. In doing so, he joins the ranks of other great thinkers who changed the course of conservation history during their all-too-brief sojourns into Arizona's deserts and mountains, from Aldo Leopold and Joseph Wood Krutch to Ed Abbey and Paul Martin. Minteer bravely takes on the many facile assumptions of conservation's technofixologists and misanthropes alike to offer us a humbler and hopefully more effective way to save and to savor the presence of the remaining living riches of the "natural" world. -- Gary Paul Nabhan, author of Food from the Radical Center: Healing Our Lands and Communities
The central ethical question addressed by Minteer is not only how far we might go to prevent biological extinction but also how far should we go. He comes to this conundrum as a distinguished environmental philosopher with a broad and deep record of thoughtful scholarship, as well as the heart of someone who obviously cares about the future of nature. And most importantly, at a time when answering the question is ever more urgent, he plots a carefully explicated, cautiously hopeful course forward. -- Harry W. Greene, author of Tracks and Shadows: Field Biology as Art
In this pithy set of essays Minteer tackles some of the thorniest questions we face as caring citizens and dwellers on the Earth. As human environmental effects accelerate and our technological capacities expand, we face complex decisions involving where and when and how to intervene in ecosystems in the name of conservation. With clarity and circumspection Minteer examines our assumptions about wildness, our human capacity to live with it (or without it), and the far-reaching ethical implications of our choices. -- Curt Meine, author of Aldo Leopold: His Life and Work

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