Jim Sterba, author of "Nature Wars" will speak Wednesday October 23 at 7:30 p.m.
Published:4 years 9 weeks ago
If you are among the more than four thousand drivers who will hit a deer today, or your kids’ soccer field is an unplayable mess of goose droppings, or a coyote has snatched your cat, or beavers have flooded your backyard, or wild turkeys have attacked your mailman, or bears have looted your bird feeders, you might be wondering why. As award-winning journalist and reporter Jim Sterba explains, “It is very likely that more people live in closer proximity to more wild animals and birds in the eastern United States today than anywhere on the planet at any time in history.” The trouble, Sterba tells us, in "NATURE WARS: The Incredible Story of How Wildlife Comebacks Turned Backyards into Battlegrounds" (Crown; November 13, 2012), is that modern Americans have become so estranged from nature that many of them don’t know how to cope with the wild bounty in their midst. So they battle one another over what, if anything, to do as conflicts between wildlife and people mount.
Four hundred years of colonial expansion culminated in an “era of extermination” in the late 1800s—a crescendo of forest and wildlife destruction so egregious that it spawned a backlash, the conservation movement, and an incredible turnaround. As trees took back farm land, conservationists nurtured numerous wild populations back to health. All the while, Americans were moving out of urban settings into new suburbs and beyond. By 2000, more than half the population lived neither in cities nor on farms but in a vast tree-filled in-between that demographers call sprawl. Today, as Sterba shows in "NATURE WARS", more people live in forested sprawl than anywhere else, and they coexist—not always blissfully—with growing populations of wild animals and birds. But unlike their farming forebears, modern Americans typically get their nature indirectly, from film and television shows in which wild creatures often act like humans worthy of protection even as their populations grow, causing billions in damage, degrading ecosystems, and polarizing communities.
"NATURE WARS" offers an eye-opening look at Americans’ interactions with nature and animals, illustrating how we’ve failed to be responsible stewards despite our best efforts and intentions. A deeply researched, eloquently written, counterintuitive, and often humorous look at relations between humans and nature—and the deepening chasm between the two—"NATURE WARS" will be the definitive book on how we created this unintended, sometimes disastrous, mess.
Jim Sterba will also participate in a public Deer Management Panel Discussion sponsored by Cornell Plantations and Cornell's Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future to begin a dialogue about coordinated deer management within Tompkins County. The panel will feature a moderated panel discussion with experts, including Mr. Sterba, on Thursday, October 24 at 7:00 p.m. in the Ithaca High School cafeteria; the panel discussion is free and open to the public.
About the Author
Jim Sterba has been a foreign correspondent, war correspondent, and national affairs reporter for more than four decades, first for the New York Times and then for the Wall Street Journal. He lives in New York City with his wife, the author Frances FitzGerald.