Looking for nature in a post-wild world

In the book Rambunctious Garden: saving nature in a post-wild world, Emma Marris points out that nature is more than the pristine, protected wilderness that is officially identified as β€˜nature’. This attachment to an untouchable nature, somewhere far away, blinds us to the fact that nature is all around us. She puts forward the idea that while nature is being lost physically, through the decrease in untouched habitats, it has also been lost metaphorically as we fail to recognise fragments of nature in the developed world (Marris, 2011, p.1).

The untouched beauty and wilderness that Marris feels we yearn for are present all around us. As she says, it is everywhere from the avocado tree sprouting in the compost to the bees whizzing through Manhattan (Marris, 2011, p.2). These fragments are as equally important as the pristine tracts of wilderness that many people associate with true examples of nature. While we should recognise and nurture the protected patches and those between our urban centres, we should not mourn that which is not yet lost.


A bee takes the flower for what it is, rather than putting limitation on the definition of nature


By opening our minds to the nature surrounding us, letting it exist and expand without trying to control its expression, we will allow ourselves to find nature again.


Like the avocado tree sprouting from the compost heap, this pumpkin vine grows from the compost to create a patch of wild nature – one that brings beauty to my day, food for my family, and shelter for the guinea pigs


Marris, E. (2011). Weeding the jungle, Rambunctious Garden: saving nature in a post-wild world. Bloomsbury, New York.


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