Philosopher and author Christopher J. Preston will discuss his book, Tenacious Beasts: Wildlife Recoveries That Change How We Think about Animals, in which he takes a look at several animal species that are defying the tendency toward extinction, at Livingston’s Elk River Books on Thursday, Nov. 30.
The news about wildlife is dire—more than 900 species have been wiped off the planet since industrialization. Against this bleak backdrop, however, there are glimmers of hope and crucial lessons to be learned from animals that have defied global trends toward extinction: bears in Italy, bison in North America, whales in the Atlantic Ocean. These populations are back from the brink, some of them in numbers unimaginable. How did this happen? What shifts in thinking did it demand?
Drawing on compelling personal stories from the researchers, Indigenous people, and activists who know the creatures best, Preston weaves together a gripping narrative of how some species are taking back vital ecological roles. Each section of the book—farms, prairies, rivers, forests, oceans—offers a philosophical shift in how humans ought to think about animals, passionately advocating for the changes in attitude necessary for wildlife recovery.
Preston is an English-born writer and philosophy professor based in Missoula. He has written on topics related to wildlife, environment, climate, and technology for venues that include The Atlantic, Orion, Smithsonian, Discover, the BBC, and the Wall Street Journal. His award-winning book, The Synthetic Age: Outdesigning Evolution, Resurrecting Species, and Reengineering Our World, has been translated into six languages. In early 2023, he won an annual award from the International Society for Environmental Ethics for his work as a public philosopher.
Elk River Books is located at 122 S. 2nd St. in downtown Livingston. The free event begins at 7 p.m., and a book signing and reception will follow.