RambunctiousGardenChanging Our Ideas About Nature Isn’t Easy


By Emma Marris
Bloomsbury, $17.00, 210 pages

Rambunctious Garden by science writer Emma Marris is an annoying protest against the wellspring of the Environmental Movement. Marris argues that we have moved beyond the notion of Nature because nothing is really pristine anymore. She sure seems to have an axe to grind against Ecologists. Sadly missing here in what is supposed to be an environmental book is an appreciation of the goals of Preservation. Global Warming has resulted in the loss of the pristine, but at the same time there is still a lot of the wild out there if one looks for it. It also still needs our protection.

“Rambunctious gardening is proactive and optimistic; it creates more and more nature as it goes, rather than just building walls around the nature we have left.”

Instead one finds here derision, errors, opinions, insults, and maybe even threats. The book is harrowing for those environmentalists who might be afraid that this writer will be making decisions about where the field is going. She is also not the first to argue that we need to move beyond Nature. She is tough arguer, but some of her points are deranged. Things have changed, but we need not give up on Preservationism and related definitions of Nature, which were really an accomplishment. Marris is not herself a villain, but some might find that she can be helping them in this field. She could be the Environmentalists for Land Developers, Farmers, and Animal Rights Activists, who need one.

Reviewed by Ryder Miller

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