In an era of global warming, natural disasters, endangered species,
and devastating pollution, contemporary writing on the environment
largely focuses on doomsday scenarios. Eben Kirksey suggests we
reject such apocalyptic thinking and instead find possibilities in
the wreckage of ongoing disasters, as symbiotic associations of
opportunistic plants, animals, and microbes are flourishing in
unexpected places. Emergent Ecologies uses artwork and contemporary
philosophy to illustrate hopeful opportunities and reframe key
problems in conservation biology such as invasive species,
extinction, environmental management, and reforestation. Following
the flight of capital and nomadic forms of life-through fragmented
landscapes of Panama, Costa Rica, and the United States-Kirksey
explores how chance encounters, historical accidents, and parasitic
invasions have shaped present and future multispecies communities.
New generations of thinkers and tinkerers are learning how to care
for emergent ecological assemblages-involving frogs, fungal
pathogens, ants, monkeys, people, and plants-by seeding them,
nurturing them, protecting them, and ultimately letting go.
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