Bill McKibben and the idea of Wilderness and the Wild

Theme park, Langford


From the book The End of Nature  by Bill McKibbon written in 1989:

‘But the west has been a pasture  so long that practically no one notices……..”Thats the problem”Jacobs said ,stopping the van. “When you look at Western panoramas,you don’t look down – your eye is trained to think this desert is normal.You tend to look at the mountains and the blue sky above them, and the clouds.”

‘The idea of wilderness, in otherwords, can survive most of the *normal” destruction of nature . Wildness can survive in our minds once the land has been discovered and mapped and even chewed up. It can survive all sorts of pollution, even the ceaseless munching of a million cows. If the ground is dusty and trodden we look at the sky; if the sky is smoggy, we travel someplace where its clear; if we can’t travel someplace where its clear, we imagine ourselves in Alaska or Australia or someplace where it is,and that works nearly as well. Nature, while often fragile in reality, is durable in our imaginations. Wildness or the idea of wildness, has outlasted the exploration of the entire globe’.