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.




This  entry is an editorial, ‘The New Conservation”

published on-line in the Society for Conservation Biology, 19 September, 2013.


Herein, Soule speaks out in response to a postmodernist approach to conservation. He points out that ninety eight percent of charitable contributions in the US target humans and human issues “that may seem more tangible to the average citizen than Earth’s unravelling ecological fabric.”  If the “new Conservationists” can be taken seriously, it appears that humanitarianism should take prominence over Nature and the other-than-human beings that have become before us and to whom we owe our very existence and continuance as a species. Soule speaks of how this new movement seeks to “replace the biodiversity-based model of traditional conservation with campaigns emphasising human economic progress.”  Under the new regime, humans will makeover the so-called “failed” efforts of conservation measures and manage the Earth as a garden for human use and welfare. Perhaps Erle Ellis puts it succinctly: “Nature is gone.”


“The manifesto of the new conservation movement is “Conservation in the Anthropocene: Beyond Solitude and Fragility” (Lalasz et al. 2011; see also Kareiva 2012). In the latter document, the authors assert that the mission of conservation ought to be primarily humanitarian, not nature (or biological diversity) protection: “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, especially the poor” (emphasis added). In light of its humanitarian agenda and in conformity with Foreman’s (2012) distinction between environmentalism (a movement that historically aims to improve human well-being, mostly by reducing air and water pollution and ensuring food safety) and conservation, both the terms new and conservation are inappropriate.


Proponents declare that their new conservation will measure its achievement in large part by its relevance to people, including city dwellers. Underlying this radically humanitarian vision is the belief that nature protection for its own sake is a dysfunctional, antihuman anachronism. To emphasize its radical departure from conservation, the characters of older conservation icons, such as Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, and Edward Abbey, are defamed as hypocrites and misanthropes and contemporary conservation leaders and writers are ignored entirely (Lalasz et al. 2011).”


“(1)  The new conservationists assume biological diversity conservation is out of touch with the economic realities of ordinary people, even though this is manifestly false. Since its inception, the Society for Conservation Biology has included scores of progressive social scientists among its editors and authors (see also letters in BioScience, April 2012, volume 63, number 4: 242–243).


(2) The new conservationists also assert that national parks and protected areas serve only the elite, but a poll conducted by the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association and the National Park Hospitality Association estimates that 95% of voters in America want continued government support for parks (National Parks Conservation Association 2012).


(3) Furthermore, Lalasz et al. (2011) argue that it should be a goal of conservation to spur economic growth in habitat-eradicating sectors, such as forestry, fossil-fuel exploration and extraction, and agriculture.


(4) The key assertion of the new conservation is that affection for nature will grow in step with income growth. The problem is that evidence for this theory is lacking. In fact, the evidence points in the opposite direction, in part because increasing incomes affect growth in per capita ecological footprint (Soulé 1995; Oates 1999).”


© 2013 Society for Conservation Biology

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cobi.12147/full  Contains full article