This book focuses on Yellowstone: the park, the larger ecosystem, and even more so, the “idea” of Yellowstone. In presenting a case for a new conservation paradigm for the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE), including Yellowstone National Park, the book, at its heart, is about people and nature relationships. This new paradigm will be truly committed to a healthy, sustainable environment, rich in other life forms, and one that affords dignity for all: humans and nonhumans. The new story or paradigm must be about living such a commitment and future for GYE in real time.
To do something and understand about the present erosion of nature and growing unsustainability, particularly the GYE situation, the book offers a heuristic for problem solving, learning, and discovery. The heuristic in four general terms, People, Meaning, Society, Environment, takes into account both the content (biophysical substance such as wolves and bears) and process (people, social relations, and decision-making) of conservation and sustainability in our communities, society, and in our daily living. It calls for an explicit integrative approach to this relationship for GYE. It acknowledges that Yellowstone will be different in the future from what we have experienced in recent decades. It also asks how and why it will be different and whether we’re ready for it. To examine these and related questions, and deeper questions, it probes the future. As well, it reflects on the changing narratives, policies, and actions of different sets of residents and outside influences. The book presents a well-developed theory for interdisciplinary problem solving that is grounded in practice.