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Minteer, Ben A.

The Fall of the Wild

Extinction, De-Extinction, and the Ethics of Conservation


    24,95 € / $27.99 / £22.00*

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    December 2018
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    Aims and Scope

    Ben A. Minteer calls for reflection on the ethical dilemmas of species loss and recovery in an increasingly human-driven world. He probes the tension between our impulse to do whatever it takes and the risk of pursuing strategies that undermine our broader commitment to the preservation of wildness.


    25 b&w illustrations
    Professional and scholarly;General/trade;

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    MinteerBen A.:

    Ben A. Minteer is professor of environmental ethics and conservation and the Arizona Zoological Society Endowed Chair in the School of Life Sciences at ASU, a position established by the Maytag family when they founded what is now the Phoenix Zoo. His work grapples with two big questions: What obligations do we have toward species and wildlands in a rapidly changing and increasingly human-shaped environment? And how can a better understanding of the American conservation tradition enhance our efforts to secure a biologically and culturally rich environmental future? His writing is grounded in the tradition of American Pragmatism, especially its moral, scientific, and civic traditions. He is also a Fellow at the Center for Humans and Nature (Chicago).
    Professor Minteer has authored or co-authored more than 70 articles, essays, and book chapters and his work has appeared in Science, Nature, PNAS, BioScience, Conservation Biology, Environmental Ethics, Slate, and Earth Island Journal among other outlets. He has also published many books, including After Preservation: Saving American Nature in the Age of Humans (University of Chicago Press) and The Landscape of Reform: Civic Pragmatism and Environmental Thought in America (MIT Press). His next book, The Ark and Beyond: The Evolution of Zoo and Aquarium Conservation (University of Chicago Press), will appear in the spring of 2018.Ben A. Minteer holds the Arizona Zoological Society Endowed Chair at Arizona State University, where he is a professor of environmental ethics and conservation in the School of Life Sciences. He has authored or edited many books, including The Landscape of Reform: Civic Pragmatism and Environmental Thought in America (2006) and The Ark and Beyond: The Evolution of Zoo and Aquarium Conservation (2018).


    Curt Meine, author of Aldo Leopold: His Life and Work:
    In this pithy set of essays Minteer tackles some of the thorniest questions we face as caring citizens and dwellers on the Earth. As human environmental effects accelerate and our technological capacities expand, we face complex decisions involving where and when and how to intervene in ecosystems in the name of conservation. With clarity and circumspection Minteer examines our assumptions about wildness, our human capacity to live with it (or without it), and the far-reaching ethical implications of our choices.

    Harry W. Greene, author of Tracks and Shadows: Field Biology as Art:
    The central ethical question addressed by Minteer is not only how far we might go to prevent biological extinction but also how far should we go. He comes to this conundrum as a distinguished environmental philosopher with a broad and deep record of thoughtful scholarship, as well as the heart of someone who obviously cares about the future of nature. And most importantly, at a time when answering the question is ever more urgent, he plots a carefully explicated, cautiously hopeful course forward.

    Gary Paul Nabhan, author of Food from the Radical Center: Healing Our Lands and Communities:
    In a kind of writing that has become rare today because of its mix of honesty, eloquence and compassion, Ben Minteer has done us all a favor by giving us a clear-headed, full-hearted perspective on where the conservation movement can and should move in the future. In doing so, he joins the ranks of other great thinkers who changed the course of conservation history during their all-too-brief sojourns into Arizona's deserts and mountains, from Aldo Leopold and Joseph Wood Krutch to Ed Abbey and Paul Martin. Minteer bravely takes on the many facile assumptions of conservation's technofixologists and misanthropes alike to offer us a humbler and hopefully more effective way to save and to savor the presence of the remaining living riches of the "natural" world.

    Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History:
    What to do—and not to do—about the biodiversity crisis that we ourselves are engineering? In The Fall of the Wild, Ben Minteer takes us through the options. His assessment of the situation is balanced, clear-sighted, and humane.

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