At the end of my book, The Synthetic Age, I told a story about a worker killed by a grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park. I wanted to emphasize that every attempt to control our surroundings falls short. The biological world still startles us. It retains the power to push back against our best-laid plans.
My new book takes this thought much further. Tenacious Beasts is filled with hope about wildlife recoveries. It profiles a handful of species recovering against the odds and asks what they can teach. Wolves in Europe, bison on America’s Great Plains, and humpback whales in the Pacific and North Atlantic are among the species experiencing a comeback. Through interviews, site visits, and detailed research, I explore how any of this is possible.
Returning animals are uplifting, for sure, but they also challenge us. They make demands on the mental habits of people accustomed to living without them. They force changes in perspective and shifts in values. This is no longer the nineteenth century when developing nations slaughtered wildlife without a qualm. People and attitudes have changed. The world is ready for a twenty-first-century concept of wildlife to emerge.
This book charts the contours of an optimistic future with wildlife. It envisions a fresh way to exist alongside the natural world. Tenacious Beasts is a blend of optimism and surprise about the future alongside our animal kin.
Image by Garrett Lau via Flickr