On March 6, 2018, John Hausdoerffer presented a talk at the Wilkinson Public Library in Telluride, Colorado on the subject of “Wildness.”
Hausdoerffer is the dean of the School of Environment & Sustainability at Western State Colorado University in Gunnison, where he also directs the Master in Environmental Management program and serves as a professor of Environmental Sustainability and Philosophy. He is also a fellow with the Center for Humans and Nature in Chicago, where his co-editor Gavin Van Horn works. Wildness features creative nonfiction essays that explore the spectrum of wildness found in wilderness areas, on working landscapes and in urban communities. The book merges culturally diverse voices to delve into the evolution of “wildness,” including Hausdoerffer and Van Horn, as well as Gary Snyder, Vandana Shiva, Wes Jackson, Robert Michael Pyle, Robin Kimmerer, Aaron Abeyta, Winona LaDuke and Roderick Frazier Nash. In addition to selections from his book, Hausdoerffer shared mountain-focused scenes from his co-produced documentary series “Wildness.”
Hausdoerffer was joined in Telluride by Western State climate action specialists Corrie Knapp and Abel Chavez, as well as representatives of the the Aspen International Mountain Foundation (AIMF) and the Telluride Institute. This newly fashioned team (collectively called the Mountain Resilience Coalition) actively builds an energized network to connect mountain communities for the sharing of resources and solutions to urgent problems.
Thanks for joining us! Thanks to Dean Rolley for his beautiful image of the Wilson massif near Telluride, Colorado.
It is in vain to dream of a wildness distant from ourselves.
—Henry David Thoreau
Cultures around the globe have long looked to the mountains for inspiration. Mountain regions provide the basis for human livelihood and ecosystem services, making up twenty percent of the earth, thirteen percent of human communities, up to eighty percent of water consumed by humans, and twenty-five percent of biodiversity. Yet these pinnacles of vision and sources of life are in danger, with glaciers melting, over thirty percent of mountain people suffering from food insecurity, and clean water at risk. In this era of climate disruption, it is time to look again to the world’s mountain communities as beacons of a more resilient story, stretching from the planet’s headwaters to all communities downstream.
The Aspen International Mountain Foundation, Telluride Institute, and Western State Colorado University’s (Western) School of Environment & Sustainability have formed a triad of Colorado-based organizations called the Mountain Resilience Coalition. The Mountain Resilience Coalition partners with the vulnerable yet visionary places that form the United Nations (UN) Mountain Partnership’s North and Central American and Caribbean region. We seek to give voice to all communities in the region and to model positive change at the table of UN events dedicated to mountain community health. This intersection of nonprofit and university commitments offers communication networks, expert research, and get-it-done project collaboration across cultures.