Building a Backbone for European Wilderness

Examples from New Mexico, USA (summary of Jim O’Donnell presentation at the European Wilderness Days, 2014)

In the Western United States period about 1970 to the early 1990s we endured what has been termed “the Wilderness wars” as environmental activists fought what seemed like endless battles with ranchers, mining companies, conservative ideologues as well as the land management agencies such as the forest service.  A lot of us who were pretty young and fired up at the time got a taste of Wilderness activism through acts of vandalism. I don’t know if that really got us very far.  By the late 1990s what we found was that there was a hard core group of New Mexico Wilderness activists.  But there was no general constituency for Wilderness among the general population.  And so we began talking about how we could change the societal perception of Wilderness and put the demand for more Wilderness in the hands of the larger population.

How did we do that? That is what I’d like to share with my new European Wilderness companions. Europe will of course have its own strategy and everything that worked for Wilderness in U.S. will not work for Europe.  But I want to share what we did and learned and we all can take the parts that experience for our work.

Jim O’Donnel
New Mexico, USA

This was an introduction of Jim O’Donnell presentation at the European Wilderness Academy in 2014. Jim’s presentation gave us an unique opportunity to learn, compare and think about similarities and differences in situation with Wilderness conservation between U.S. and Europe… Unique opportunity to learn and understand that we European Wilderness supporters are not alone!

His presentation can be read here: here

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