Editor’s Note for Issue #2: First Steps

Issue #2: First Steps is now available. Here’s the editorial note:


This is an issue full of clarifications. For a long time now, the environmentalist movement has hosted a faction known to some as “wilderness purists” or “wildernists.” Whereas other environmentalists accented clean urban areas, biodiversity, or ecological integrity, the ethic of the wilderness purists has been bound by the value of wildness. Individuals in the wildernist current have been some of the most important defenders of the natural world, and we survey a few of them here. Doug Peacock, the inspiration for Edward Abbey’s Hayduke! in The Monkey Wrench Gang, tells us what he’s been up to since his spiritual renewal in the wilderness and the founding of Round River Conservation Studies. Dr. Reed Noss, the former editor of the scientific journal Conservation Biology and a former editor of Wild Earth, explains the ecological effects of roads, writing “the bottom line is that no new roads should be built, and most existing roads…should be closed and obliterated.” And don’t forget the interview with Dave Foreman in our last issue.

But even as the wilderness ethic achieves great things for our Earth, industry continues to tear it apart at an alarming rate. Jamie Pang from the Center of Biological Diversity writes that even though the ESA has been 99% effective, we remain in the midst of a 6th mass extinction. And Stephanie Zimmerman points out in “A World Without Bees” that the yellow insects, as is much wildlife, are suffering from industrial practices—and that humans seem to be creating the conditions for our own demise because of it. So if we had the opportunity to cut at the root of the problem—industry—shouldn’t we?

This is the idea behind Wildism, an ideology introduced in Issue #1. Inspired by the ethic of the wilderness purists, the editors of this magazine have joined up with other groups so that we can outline a coherent value system that truly puts the wild first. One of our editors, John Jacobi, outlines our first step toward this end in “A Sketch of Wildism in Contrast to Leftism,” and he clarifies the difference between Wildism and wildernism in a reply to a letter from a reader in Colorado. Finally, the whole editorial team worked out a 2015 reading list for those who want to join the conversation, but don’t know where to start.

If you like this issue of The Wildernist, let us know! We love feedback and are looking forward to many more reader responses in the future.

For the wild,
The Wildernist Editorial Team

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