Melissa Memory’s presentation during the first Ensayo:
For much of the history of humans,
People have used the landscapes around them to achieve their own ends.
As people began to build cities, the wild places disappeared within
and along the edges. Until all of the big trees, all of the buffalo, and the stars and the quiet was gone.
Pinchot and others thought that some trees and wildlife should be spared,
so that there would be some left for future humans. An American Idea.
As these ideas evolved, a land ethic
By Leopold and others
Perhaps these wild places had an intrinsic value
Even if humans did not consume them now or in the future.
Championed in art and literature,
Bierstadt, Emerson, Thoreau,
Wilderness was a human necessity.
A creation of culture
to escape the trappings of the civilized.
The creative turned political,
The Wilderness Act of 1964,
Poetic legislation with almost absolute
Now a network of millions of acres,
of American wild places. For themselves,
managed with human restraint and humility.
But also denied the human story,
of the human millennia before.
Another way to obscure
The creativity and complexity
of the Non-European new world.
An ambivalent now.
What is natural? What is Wild?
Where do humans belong?