The Bill McKibben Reader is fast becoming one of the best collections of essays concerning stewardship that I have encountered. McKibben’s essays are poignant, engaging, powerful, and inspiring. I found the following paragraph from his essay “Human Restoration,” to be particularly relevant to my own thoughts regarding the importance of contact with wild places.
He writes, “Contact with the natural world is one of the two forces potentially powerful enough to break through the endless jamming static of our culture and open us to other, wider possibilities. (The other force is contact with the nonpossessive forms of love, be they found at Fredericksburg or in Mother Teresa’s hospice.) I have seen this effect in enough people, myself sometimes included, to be confident of its truth. Show me an environmentalist who did not start with an encounter with the more-than-human world, and I will show you an exception to the rule. And try to find someone who has had such an encounter without it changing her politics, her priorities, her very sense of self.”