Wilderness Preservation in an Era of New Conservation

Nathan Weller Butler University
Faculty Sponsor(s): Kaitlyn Creasy Butler University
With each passing year, humans appear to wander further down the path of anthropocentric domination over the other-than-human natural world. We find ourselves in the midst of an environmental crisis, characterized by mass plant and animal species loss, unending agricultural and commercial development, and of course, global climate change. Amid all of these changes, we are inevitably left to decide what course of action is appropriate in moving forward to correct the harmful practices that have led us to such a state. To address this concern, I turn to the concept of wilderness preservation, asking what place, if any, it has in developing sustainable conservation strategies for the future. In comparing wilderness preservation to environmental approaches based on active management of the land, namely the New Conservation movement, I aim to highlight the need for wilderness preservation when creating conservation plans. For guidance, I turn to a variety of written works that discuss the use of wilderness preservation strategies within the modern age, with a particular focus on Mark Woods’ Rethinking Wilderness. In comparing these ideas with those of active management plans, I contend that the use of wilderness preservation provides us with greater insight into our relationship with the natural world, allows us to support the value-adding qualities inherent to wilderness, and avoids the damaging habits and attitudes that New Conservation may lead us toward. In this way, I hope to show why conservation strategies for the future should consider wilderness preservation as a priority among many others.
Philosophy & Religion
Oral Presentation

When & Where

11:15 AM
Jordan Hall 336C