Gardening: Reasons to Garden #5

The fifth "reason to garden" is an appeal (originally to students in my wildlife and environmental science classes) to save wild places and wild organisms.

Wilderness preservation and wildlife conservation are daunting tasks, and the challenge seems overwhelming. But, the simple act of tending a small garden, has the potential to begin to address the challenge.

To Save Wilderness

The Earth's human population currently exceeds 7 billion people, and it is increasing by more than 200,000 people per day!  To feed the expanding human family, modern industrial agriculture is causing serious environmental impacts.  Ironically, agriculture may not be sustainable as it is currently practiced. Furthermore, to propose that we must plow every square food of remaining wild land to feed the additional three billion people on Earth by 2050 is a plan of desperate human arrogance. Such a plan is the ultimate condemnation of everything that is wild and free on this oasis planet. W may be able to save wilderness by grow an increasing share of our food in places where people already live-- cities, towns, settlements, neighborhoods. Here,gardens offer the graceful possibility of living with, rather than to the exclusion of, the other five million species of organisms with which we share the planet.

Illustration from Gardening: An Ecological Approach. © Fred Montague

Illustration from Gardening: An Ecological Approach. © Fred Montague