At the very heart of American respect for nature, historically and philosophically, is the notion of the wild. This notion comes under scrutiny in "Wild Ideas", a collection of essays that bring a fresh and refreshing perspective to the wilderness paradoxically at the centre of our civilization. Blending well-known and new voices, the volume surveys classical and romantic concepts of wilderness, from the scary to the sublime, and shows why neither serves us anymore. Instead, the authors argue for a "wild culture", in which nature is not opposed to humanity, a mere matter of resources and consumers.
A cogent reassessment of the ideas that drive the conservation movement, "Wild Ideas" points out a new direction for future environmentalism. Among the topics discussed are the confluence of wilderness, empire, and race; the way the ecology movement uses language; gendered views of the wilderness; maps and topology, and how they affect our view of the wild; healing by the wilderness experience; and the idea of an urban wilderness.