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Jack Turner at THE

A guide for decades in the in Yosemite and the Grand Tetons who also hiked the mountains of Peru, Nepal, Pakistan, China, Tibet, and India, Jack Turner is skeptical of the idea of wilderness arguing that humans have put their mark on the most remote of places, but he still believes that human interaction with the animal world is meaningful.


In his essay, “The Song of the White Pelican,” he explains why, taking on the pathetic fallacy that the Otherness of animals completely separates them from us. “Some people fear that extending a human vocabulary to wild animals erodes their Otherness,” he explains. “But what is not Other? Are we not all, from one perspective, Other to each and every being in the universe? And at the same time, and from another perspective, do we not all share an elemental wildness that burns forth in each life?”


“The Song of the White Pelican” is part of a collection of Turner's essays called The Abstract Wild. It was reprinted in American Earth: Environmental Writing Since Thoreau, an anthology that we have featured this month at The Humble Essayist. Check it out at www.the-humble-essayist.com.—THE

Pic: Brian Simms CC

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