Book Review – Crow Planet

crow planet

Crow Planet by Lyanda Lynn Haupt

A long-time “big W” wilderness advocate, I know the power of wild places to transform lives, my own included, in specific and significant ways. So when I read the subtitle of Haupt’s book, Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness, I reacted to what I perceived was an oxymoron. But Haupt’s case for “urban wilderness,” and its power to change us, is passionately and convincingly argued through her careful observations of crows (among other creatures) – the most common of birds among us. Haupt’s ultimate plea is for living differently. She challenges us to “act against a prevailing culture” of materialism and greed, enabled by the wild in our everyday world, a wild that’s accessible even to the most urban of dwellers, a wild that teaches us to act “from a sense of rootedness, connectedness, creativity, and delight” to “truly conserve this earth.”

Haupt gives us her generously personal story, her keen observations of the world at our doorsteps, and the tangible hope for living in communion with a natural world that brings wonder without obvious grandeur. She writes, “This is one of the blessings of the urban nature project: without the overtly magnificent to stop us in our tracks, we must seek out the more subversively magnificent. Our sense of what constitutes wildness is expanded, and our sense of wonder along with it.” And it is that sense of wonder that creates deeply caring love for the dazzling intricacies of a natural world, so immediate even in urban environments, that we are joyously compelled to “liv[e]ing intelligently in its midst.”

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