A Conversation Between William Cronon and Michael Pollan

The editors at ETR have been having an ongoing discussion about the role of wilderness in the human experience. It’s a multi-leveled discussion and one that won’t be answered in an article or two; however, it’s a discussion we think worthy of having. Nate Sell has been at the forefront of this discussion here at ETR, if you haven’t I recommend checking out his last column. Also, Nate Van Yperen has a great article just published on ETR touching on wilderness through the context of grizzlies and gratitude. Orion Magazine just published a conversation between two acclaimed authors, William Cronon and Michael Pollan, centering around wilderness and other related issues. In the piece Cronon and Pollan discuss the murkiness of “wilderness” and the common tendency to over-delineate the natural and the human while still upholding the value of the wild. The conversation also gets into issues of sustainability, the messiness but necessity of politics, and the importance of stories. It’s a great read and extremely informative.


Michael Pollan is a journalist and professor at the University of California, Berkeley and the author of a number of books including Cooked and The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

William Cronon is an environmental historian and professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and the author of such books as Changes in the Land and Uncommon Ground.

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