More about that photo shoot for Slate Magazine

December 5, 2012

A couple of weeks ago I posted a rambling blog stealing from the title of Emma Marris’s Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World.  Since that time I’ve been digesting what has turned out to be quite an interesting read.  Marris basically tosses the old paradigm of conservation onto the scrap heap:  no longer is it all right simply to return the environment to the way it was before Europeans saw it.  As Marris correctly points out, the great herds of buffalo and flocks of passenger pigeons may well have been sudden spikes in the population because of the elimination through smallpox of vast numbers of their main predator, Man.

Instead Marris provides a series of examples from all around the world of how ingenuity and effort have produced a new ecology which, while a bit heretical, may offer greater benefits than the back-to-Eden approach. For example there is a dry-land “wilderness” preserve in the Netherlands which lies 14′ below sea level. Feral versions of domestic animals have been enlisted to fill certain ecological niches.

I’ll get back to Marris once I have had time to think the book over.  In the meantime, Charlie rather excitedly emailed me that the Slate Magazine article by Marris, Hipster Hunters, has finally appeared online.  Vanya Rohwer is Emma Marris’s brother-in-law, and he responded to her request for photos to illustrate her article with the full-blown Charlie Croskery photo shoot mentioned on this page.


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