We had a wonderful time at the Lewis & Clark Library with guest scholar Christopher Preston. Our evening involved a blend of author readings & community discussion.
Over the course of our gathering, Christopher shared insights and perspectives about the people and wildlife he encountered while researching species recoveries. His encounters with whales, wolves, sea otters, and bison – as well as the scientists that study them – suggest that better ways to think about animals are close at hand.
About the Book
Tenacious BeastsWildlife Recoveries that Change How We Think About Animals
An inspiring look at wildlife species that are defying the odds and teaching important lessons about how to share a planet.
The news about wildlife is dire—more than 900 species have been wiped off the planet since industrialization. Against this bleak backdrop, however, there are also glimmers of hope and crucial lessons to be learned from animals that have defied global trends toward extinction: bears in Italy, bison in North America, whales in the Atlantic. These populations are back from the brink, some of them in numbers unimaginable in a century. How has this happened? What shifts in thinking did it demand? In crisp, transporting prose, Christopher Preston reveals the mysteries and challenges at the heart of these resurgences.
Drawing on compelling personal stories from the researchers, Indigenous people, and activists who know the creatures best, Preston weaves together a gripping narrative of how some species are taking back vital, ecological roles. Each section of the book—farms, prairies, rivers, forests, oceans—offers a philosophical shift in how humans ought to think about animals, passionately advocating for the changes in attitude necessary for wildlife recovery.
Tenacious Beasts is quintessential nature writing for the Anthropocene, touching on different facets of ecological restoration from Indigenous knowledge to rewilding practices. More important, perhaps, the book offers a road map—and a measure of hope—for a future in which humans and animals can once again coexist.
(Book description from MITPress)
About the Author & Philosopher
Christopher Preston, PhD is a professor of philosophy at The University of Montana. His areas of specialty include environmental philosophy, climate ethics, the ethics of emerging technologies, rewilding, and feminist philosophy. A native of England – who has studied and worked in Colorado, Alaska, Oregon, Washington DC, and South Carolina – his life in the US is oriented in many ways around the power of wild landscapes.
In addition to being a professor, Christopher has worked as a commercial fisherman, a tool librarian, and a backcountry Park Service Ranger. Christopher has published extensively on climate engineering, synthetic biology, and the new epoch of the Anthropocene, and finds significance in both the new, and the traditional, wild.