The Environment
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The Environment

Responding to Tiago Miranda’s Article About Wilderness

I think I’ve been to a place or two that were largely undisturbed by the human part of the ecosystem. But I see your point.

Ha ha, ha ha ha. But it became disturbed when the coast guard came. And those look like roads. . . . Image by Julius Silver from Pixabay

Well first, here’s the brilliant article I’m talking about: Wilderness’ Misconception

And for sure, it’s the indigenous people who educated me the most in my wanderings. I always knew that in California, where I did most of my wilderness exploring, that the natives had terraformed or at least changed the plant and animal ecosystems from fires they’d set and walked away from.

This is how all humans lived on Earth before it got overpopulated. It just didn’t matter in any important way back then, when at times the human global population was only a few million.

I guess in that way I haven’t lost my own definition of wilderness.

For me it’s the least-recently occupied tracts of land or water that were affected by human carelessness. They still exist in some areas, but they won’t be for long.

Some are surprisingly locked into blocked-off parts of cities. I call those wildernesses, because they have that feel.

But say, as the experts say, that 35,000 years ago there were 10 million humans on Earth. (I’m pretty sure it was more like 4 million when we almost went extinct.)

But compare the numbers:


Ten million then, 7.9 billion now, at a time the Earth can’t support them. You have to be a mathematician like me to see the absurdity.

I think that in the next several decades we’ll have plenty of wilderness again, and far fewer people. I won’t be here, but it feels good to know this.

One thing I learned from wildernesses, which I mostly explored alone, is that you can easily die in them. (Hence being connected to indigenous folk.) I think it was 3 or 4 times I laid down and let nature decide.

Thank you for reading, and take care.
~ Fred Ermlich

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