Patrick Donnelly, Nevada State Director , works to defend the wildlife and wild places of Nevada, with a focus on carnivores and endemic species. Patrick spent over a decade leading young people in hands-on conservation work and on extended outdoor education trips; before joining the Center he was executive director of the Amargosa Conservancy, where he defended groundwater resources and successfully advocated for the designation of three California desert national monuments. Patrick has a bachelor's in environmental science and policy from the University of California Berkeley.
Looking back through the last page or two, I see that I have made it appear as though my motives in writing were wholly public-spirited. I don't want to leave that as the final impression. All writers are vain, selfish, and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives there lies a mystery. Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand. For all one knows that demon is simply the same instinct that makes a baby squall for attention. And yet it is also true that one can write nothing readable unless one constantly struggles to efface one's own personality. Good prose is like a windowpane. I cannot say with certainty which of my motives are the strongest, but I know which of them deserve to be followed. And looking back through my work, I see that it is invariably where I lacked a political purpose that I wrote lifeless books and was betrayed into purple passages, sentences without meaning, decorative adjectives and humbug generally.
Trump, in his climate-change denialism, makes explicit his contempt for the natural world – mere Earth – and seeks the unbridled technological artifice of colonising space. Flight is at the heart of it. The flight from Earth to space: the libertarian off-ground ideology of unlimited, unrestricted freedom, echoing Marinetti’s line: ‘Hurrah! No more contact with the vile earth!’ Contemporary libertarians venerate flight too, from libertarian writer F M Esfandiary, author of a crypto-evolutionary tract called Up-Wingers (1973), to Elon Musk’s off-world ambitions to colonise Mars. The Futurists were obsessed with the rhetoric of flight, and ‘Aeropainting’ was a major expression of Futurism. One Futurist manifesto speaks mockingly of ‘the reality traditionally constituted by a terrestrial perspective’; in contrast, painting from an aerial perspective ‘requires a profound contempt for detail’. (The contemptible details of my own terrestrial perspective, for example, might include lizard, pine marten and tomato; grace, ice and plurality.)