has a long history. Questions about the value and role of wilderness and nature in human life have been
asked for thousands of years, if not since the very early stages of the homo
can be found within a variety of fields. For example:
There are several key North American nature
philosophers such as
Thoreau (famous his transcendental wilderness writings, social commentary, &
living for 2 years in a hut he built at Walden Pond),
(founder of the Sierra Club),
Aldo Leopold (famous for his work in practice and
philosophy in forestry and wildlife ecology - read biography) and
(especially his classic Wilderness and the American Mind).
are quite insightful and relevant to the relationship between nature and human
psychology and human society today.
- founder of the Appalachian Trail
Current literature in
park management, outdoor recreation,
leisure, therapeutic recreation, and outdoor education often utilizes and
develops understandings of the relationship between humans and wilderness. For example,
see "Values and Benefits of State
Parks" (National Association of State Park Directors, USA).
Leo McAvoy is famous
for his article on "rescue-free wilderness", in which he advocates the somewhat
radical perspective that there be areas of wilderness deemed rescue-free - in
other words, go in at your own peril, in order to preserve a more natural
"wildness" to the experience of the wilderness.
Short discussion thread about no rescue wilderness on the AEE-listserv.
emerged in the last couple of decades, as the specific study of the relationship
between natural environmental and psychological processes and experiences.
Google search for "ecopsychology". Also environmental
Ethics of wilderness
usage has become an increasingly prominent topic, especially in North America
where there is significant recreational pressure placed on wilderness areas.
For more information, go to
Ethics & Moral
Development in Outdoor Education.
To explore wilderness
philosophy more, try these
"wilderness philosophy" and