What’s with Ozymandias?

Roman-era historian Diodorus Siculus, who described a statue of Ozymandias, more commonly known as Rameses II (possibly the pharaoh referred to in the Book of Exodus). Diodorus reports the inscription on the statue, which he claims was the largest in Egypt, as follows: “King of Kings Ozymandias am I. If any want to know how great I am and where I lie, let him outdo me in my work.” (The statue and its inscription do not survive, and were not seen by Shelley; his inspiration for  [the sonnet]  “Ozymandias” was verbal rather than visual.)  http://www.poetryfoundation.org/learning/guide/238972   View Shelley’s sonnet here.

This paper is a commentary on the book; Keeping the Wild:  Against the Domestication of Earth

The book is Edited by George Wuerthner, Eileen Crist, and Tom Butler. Published by the Foundation for Deep Ecology in collaboration with Island Press, 2014, Washington D.C.



Continuing from the article by Paul Kingsnorth


“The neo-greens do not come to rejuvenate environmentalism; they come to bury it.” Paul Kingsnorth


“This is what intelligent green thinking has always called for:  human and nonhuman nature working in some degree of harmony, in a modern world of compromise and change in which some principles, nevertheless, are worth cleaving to.  Nature is a resource for people, and always has been; we all have to eat, make shelter, hunt, and live from its bounty like any other creature.  But that doesn’t preclude our understanding that it has a practical, cultural, emotional, and even spiritual value beyond that too, which is equally necessary for our well-being.

The neo-environmentalists, needless to say, have no time for this kind of fluff.  They have a great big straw man to build up and knock down, and once they’ve got that out of the way, they can move on to the really important part of their message.  Here’s Kareiva, with fellow authors Robert Lalasz and Michelle Marvier, giving us the money shot in their Breakthrough Journal article:


‘Instead of pursuing the protection of biodiversity for biodiversity’s sake, a new conservation should seek to enhance those natural systems that benefit the widest number of people….Conservation will measure its achievement in large by its relevance to people.’

[from  Conservation in the Anthropocene  Beyond Solitude and Fragility  Authors:   Robert Lalasz, Peter Kareiva, Michelle Marvier.  Lalasz and Kareiva work for the Nature Conservancy and Michelle Marvier is professor and department chair at the Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences at Santa Clara University.]


There it is, in black and white: The wild is dead, and what remains of nature is for people.  We can effectively do what we like, and we should.  Science says so!  A full circle has been drawn, the greens have been buried by their children, and under the soil with them has gone their naïve, romantic, and antiscientific belief that nonhuman life has any value beyond what we very modern humans can make use of….The neo-greens do not come to rejuvenate environmentalism; they come to bury it.”


I can think of nothing further to add to this horror story.  Paul has summed it up so nicely.  Again, I say, this excellent article is well placed as an introduction to a series of articles written as a defence of what love of the Earth is all about.