Wadas, and Amy
Krynak for their guidance and support. Robin Anders, you know how
to edit and critique like nobody else. Thank you. Thank you also,
Kathryn and Jamesie Spicer, for your editorial assistance and for
giving me the crumbs and long mornings and afternoons to meet
my ants. Neil McCoy, thank you for your creativity, which helps to
sharpen and enliven ideas. Holly Menninger, your powers of coor-
dination and organization are unparalleled. Thank you, Alex Wild,
for using your skill and vision to make giants of ants, for showing us
how beautiful their
. Shilton. People of
craft and care, you make my writing better.
To friends who encouraged the emergence of this book—John
Hausdoerffer, Liam Heneghan, Christie Henry, Julian Hoffman, Lau-
ren Markham, Lilian Pearce, Arthur Pearson, Bob Pyle, and Andreas
Weber. People of skill and creativity, you nurture my thoughts.
To Keara McGraw—whose alchemical artistry brings Chicago’s
wildlife to life in these pages.
To the people and places that provided hospitality, a writing nest,
and hummingbirds— Tony Anella and Cara McCulloch, who helped
democracy. A renewable-
energy economy will only be built through the renewable energy of free
and self- organized citizens and communities. The transition beyond oil is
not merely a technological transition— it is above all a political transition
in which we stop being passive and become active agents of transformation
by recognizing that we have the capacity, the energy, and the creativity to
make the change.
230 V a n d a n a S h i v a
Life is based on the self- organizing energies of the universe, from cells
to Gaia, from communities to countries. We as living
anthropomorphism to suggest
that this emergence of new form reveals a kind of
spontaneous creativity in nature. The world uses
simple principles to bring forth variety and riches,
Darwin’s “endless forms most beautiful.” Some of
that beauty is captured here.
Certain forms, shapes,
and patterns recur again
and again in the natural
world, in systems that
seem to have nothing
to do with one another.
Waves of growth are one
of them, as can be seen
in this piece of agate.
form of poems and confessions
left at the grave, grave-topping toys and objects—more often echoes
the handmade and homemade creativity associated in an earlier cen-
tury with rural and poor communities—with “folk art”—than it does
the quiet restraint and uniform gravesites of the now-popular style of
human “memorial park.”35 The cemetery-design movement of the lat-
ter half of the twentieth century in the United States has led to acres
of close-clipped grass and fl at tombstones that interrupt neither the
mechanized mower nor the eye of the visitor with
environment. Mourning cloak but-
terflies squeeze into the crevices of bark and hide out for the winter. And while
many butterflies build chrysalises, others literally hibernate right before our
eyes. Indeed, insect ingenuity helps them survive life in the city. There is much
to be learned from the creativity of insects, and their mimicry skills might even
be understood as a form of performance art. Moths appear to have big eyes and
therefore seem larger than they are. Beetles have patterns on their backs that
help them blend into the earth. And some butterflies
new paradigms for agriculture, looking to wild systems as a standard for
creativity, complexity, and diversity; the second is a conversation about the
merits of a future “Island Civilization” and whether humans can be “house-
mates” or merely remote neighbors when the “self- will” of the land is the
What the reader will find across these diverse geographies of the wild
continuum, from the near- at- hand to the planetary, are experiences
grounded in everyday lifeways that respect, learn from, and provide for the
agency of nonhuman beings
the radical natural park folks. I’d like to see more creativity, more visceral
expressions, of commercial farming order not only coexisting with wild sys-
tems but actually enhancing them. Can this be done?
Even in the pages of ACRES USA we see pictures of clean tillage with
mono- crops. Using compost and foliars, eco- farmers outperform their
chemical- based counterparts. That’s good and I’m glad. But can we do
A couple of years ago, I visited Colin Seis’s farm in Australia. Standing in
a two- hundred- acre field of oats ready to combine
holds precedence in inclusiveness. We are embedded within it.
3. It holds precedence in complexity of organization. It is far more complex than
4. It is more creative. Its evolutionary creativity has given rise to all biota, in-
5. It has precedence in diversity.
In our educational efforts on Earth Island, we teach the young that nothing
is more important than to comprehend the overarching supraorganismic
reality we call the Ecosphere. To act on that ecology— to work with and cul-
tivate this wild process— is central.
creativity. They were often included
in portraits and almost always with a woman, perhaps because they can be trained
to talk, which is itself a miracle, just like the virgin who gave birth to Christ.
History painting was viewed as the most important genre from about the
sixteenth to the nineteenth century. The subject matter, from classical history,
mythology, and the Bible, typically depicted an important event or action. Other
forms of painting that developed in Antwerp were gallery and collection painting
– the painting of collectibles ensconced in a wall cabinet