“In wildness is the preservation of the world” said Henry David Thoreau, but was he right? Does the idea of the wild instead enshrine outdated thinking that works to prevent the West from addressing the wicked problems of a warming world? Is wildness better dispensed with? This lecture addresses these questions as the globe grapples with a series of profound and indeterminate risks created by humans themselves – war, unprecedented inequality and the extinction of the earth’s vital natural producers- the birds, amphibians, mammals, reptiles and fish that have declined 68% since 1970. It considers the role for wildness in the coming era of synthetic biology where nature will routinely be altered by humans at the genetic level and it explores the role that conservationists anticipate “wild” Indigenous peoples will play in helping to restore the biodiversity without which our species cannot survive.
Porter, J. (2022, April). Alan Graham Memorial Lecture: Wildness and Indigenous American Futures. Presented at Irish Association of American Studies Annual Conference 2022: America Gone Wild, Dublin City University