The New Wild: Why Invasive Species Will Be Nature’s Salvation

Fred Pearce

Fred Pearce is a freelance author and journalist based in London. A former news editor of the UK-based New Scientist magazine, he has been its environment consultant since 1992, reporting in that time from 87 countries. He also writes regularly for the Yale e360 web site, the Guardian and other newspapers in the UK, as well as irregularly for many other outlets, including the Washington Post and New York Times. His recent books include The new wild: Why invasive species will be nature’s salvation and Fallout: A journey through the nuclear age. Others include: The Land Grabbers, When the Rivers Run Dry and Confessions of an Eco Sinner. His books have been translated into 23 languages.

Comments 3

  1. Thank you Fred for leading off the final week of the conference with an entertaining and compelling argument about the need to re-think traditional perspectives on alien species. We’re really thrilled to have you here as part of the Feral event, and I would urge anyone interested in these questions and debates to check out The New Wild (

    As with the previous talks, at this stage I’d like to invite questions and comments from conference ‘attendees’ and other participants in response to this presentation. I also have a question of my own to get things started: I’m really interested in how questions of purity and nativism can move between ecological and political conversations as you gestured to in your talk: have you encountered any ecological analogues or references in the recent UK discussion around Brexit? Do you think the turn to local and nationalist populisms has the potential to present challenges to the adoption of new forms of post-conservation ecological thinking?

    Once you’ve watched this week’s keynote presentation, I would also encourage everyone to check out some of the other panels that are active this week, as well as our panels in previous weeks that are remain open.

  2. Thank you Fred, for writing this book.

    I like your term the new wild better than all this talk of feral, for a new wild includes the native and asserts the natural, whereas the feral is always from elsewhere and other to the indigenous.

    My only reservation with your analysis is that you choose to single out New Zealand as a place where your observations might not apply. This is not fair of me, you mention Australia too, but you also present examples from there that support hope for a positive new wild. We are at war here (I am sure you have read the propaganda) and to oppose it feels like treason (and that hopefully answers Nicholas’ question). Your new wild does exist here, however, and is flourishing where it can. So the war goes on…and we hide : )

  3. Thank you Fred. I really enjoyed this.

    My question relates to the questions of purity and nativism that Nicholas refers to. I’m interested in linguistic ecology, and in different approaches to the conservation of indigenous languages. I realise this is a very different area to debates around alien species, but there have been some similar ideas shaping conservation responses, particularly in the past: ideas of purity, authenticity, language as a sort of static artifact. Are there any useful parallels to be drawn here?

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