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The Myth of Wilderness

By Heather

In society today we place a high value on the concept of wilderness. A wilderness is a region of the landscape that we perceive as pure, pristine, and untouched by human influence. We like the idea of the wilderness. We like the idea that, even as our cities grow larger, there is still a part of the world that remains wild, separate from the worries of our everyday lives. But, like it or not, there is no true wilderness left anywhere on the planet. And maintaining this ideal of wilderness in our interactions with nature only serves to further disconnect us from it.

Once upon the time, everything in the world was wild. Humans were wild too. We didn’t perceive any separation between ourselves and the plants, animals, and other beings who provided us with food, clothing, fuel, inspiration, and so much more. But, somehow, things changed. The development of written alphabets, the spread of agriculture, trends in religion and philosophy, the rise of the scientific method, urbanization, the increase in technologies that isolated humans from the non-human world – all of these (and likely more) have served to increasingly separate us from the rest of nature.

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