General | People

John Muir’s Last Stand

On Christmas Eve, one hundred years ago, John Muir’s spirit left his body and set off into the pathless wild. Muir and his conservation legacy have been criticized recently, but we believe the man and his legacy should be celebrated on the centennial anniversary of his death, and into the future through the resurgence of a parks and wilderness movement focused on protecting the wild.

We invite you to read this thoughtful editorial by Tom Butler and Eileen Crist, “John Muir’s Last Stand,” which touches on the present philosophical dustup in conservation.

Best wishes for a happy and WILD new year!

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Comments

  1. I’ve just read read “Muir’s Last Stand” and couldn’t agree more. I live and work in Mongolia but travel throughout Asia, assisting with protected area management projects and issues. Tom Butler’s and Eileen Crist’s editorial describes precisely what I have seen with big international conservation NGO’s who have programs here in Mongolia and in other parts of Asia. Their partnerships with mining companies and other extractive industries has improved their bank account bottom line, but has made them beholden to corporate interests with nothing very substantial taking place on the ground. They have become little more than highly paid conservation departments and apologists for the extraction industry.

    All the buzzwords, “ecosystem services, biodiversity offsets” and others are thrown around the many glossy reports, seminars and policies they help to create with vague explanations as to what this really means for wildlife, their habitat and wild lands needed for our survival as a species. Reports that support the degradation of large swaths of land, wildlife and habitat and the people who live there with the justification that another small piece of land will be protected somewhere else. A biodiversity offset. When we see Goldman Sachs advocating for biodiversity offsets as an investment opportunity, alarm bells should start ringing everywhere. The cynicism of it all is beyond me.

    What your organization does is an example that should be followed everywhere. “Rewilding” of large parts of our planet is a great and noble cause that I fully support and will do my best to work towards. Conservation of wilderness, the old way, is the only way forward.

    Please pass on my thanks to Tom Butler and Eileen Crist for this piece.

    • jesser says:

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful response, Keith. We obviously have similar concerns. I’ve passed along your comments to the authors and am sure they will appreciate your words, just as we appreciate your support of our wilderness protection efforts. –Jennifer

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