Home Conservation Reviews Book Reviews State of the Wild 2006: A Global Portrait of Wildlife, wildlands and oceans


State of the Wild 2006: A Global Portrait of Wildlife, wildlands and oceans

With the publication of this book, the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society has launched a new series – State of the Wild.

The series will embrace the challenge voiced by George Schaller in the introductory chapter: “We all live under the same sun. It is everyone’s task, each in his or her own way, to assume the role of preserver with clarity of purpose, passion, and perseverance.”
Some of the world’s most renowned conservationists, (many of whom, fortuitously, happen to be some of the world’s best writers), appear in this large, glossy-covered volume (printed on 100 per cent recycled paper), including George Schaller, Alan Rabinowitz, Liz Bennett, Sylvia Earle, Rick Bass, Bill McKibben, Tom Lovejoy, Dan Wharton and many others. The book contains a special section on hunting and the wildlife trade, and a lively section titled “Conservation Controversies,” in which several of the book’s contributors have been allowed to have a dialogue by responding to each other’s essays and ideas.

State of the Wild 2006 contains a comprehensive, eight-part analysis of the current state of wildlife and wildlands, and though it contains grim statistics, history, and commentary, it also provides inspiration and hope in accounts of success stories and detailed prescriptions for how humanity can learn to “live and let live.” Topics include “State of the Wild,” “Global News Highlights,” “Hunting and the Wildlife Trade,” “Wildlife,” “Wildlands and Oceans,” “People and Culture,” and “The Art and Practice of Conservation.”

As Kent Redford explains in his Foreword, State of the Wild seeks in part to “explore both the successes and shortcomings of current conservation measures, providing a self-critical voice for – and from – the field.” At the back of the book, Bill McKibben tells readers that, “The battle for the future is precisely between those who are willing to engineer every organism and every natural process for our convenience, who will countenance the radical change of our climate… and those who are willing to say there is something other than us that counts.” Anyone, be it a scientist, conservationist or a layperson, will find this book a must-read, and will eagerly await the next installment in 2007.

By the Wildlife Conservation Society, Published by: Island Press, 2006, Edited by Sharon Guynup, Hardcover; Price $50.00

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