European Wilderness Society

Wilderness And Wildness Are Not Synonyms

For many non-native English speakers, Wilderness and Wildness sound similar and sometimes even identical. However, that’s a wrong impression. Wilderness is Wilderness and Wildness is Wildness. Two separate terms, two different meanings.

Differences between Wilderness and Wildness

To clarify this, Dr. John Hausdoerffer, Dean of School of Environment & Sustainability at Western Colorado University, shares his perspective and interpretation. His interpretation can be summarised in one sentence: Wildness is the essence of Wilderness but can be found everywhere. Wilderness is a place dedicated to the Wildness of nature. Dr. John Haudoerffer is also an editor of a book on this topic with the title Wildness: Relations of People and Place

In other words:

  • Wilderness is “self-willed” land.
  • Wildness is the basic ability of anything living to renew itself.
Wilderness can still be found in Europe

Please have a look how John analysed and explained meaning of these two words more deeply in the file below.

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