Writing Westward Podcast Episode 044
The Return of Bears to a Crowded American West
University of Washington Press, 2020
Robert Chaney is a journalist based in Montana and the managing editor of one of the region’s major newspapers, The Missoulian. Much of his work in the past decades has focused on the environment and the thorny issues of managing our public lands and resources in the West. In his new book, The Grizzly in the Driveway: The Return of Bears to a Crowded American West (University of Washington Press, 2020)., Chaney traces the recent history of Grizzly Bear reintroductions to different regions in the Northern Rockies, the complicated intersecting issues of the ACTUAL role they play in their ecosystems, and the fears we have about them, imagined malicious personalities we project on them, and resulting politics that often overshadow science in policy-making concerning their management. As an apex predator of immense size and with immense destructive and deadly capacities, Grizzly Bear encounters are not something to be taken lightly. However, as Chaney illustrates from various angles, successful balancing of ecological needs and human activities in the Mountain West must be driven by more than our fear of them. With more and more people venturing into Grizzly habitats for recreation, work, or residence, these are issues that must be weighed carefully. Chaney helps us start a number of these crucial conversations.
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- Host and Producer Brenden W. Rensink is Associate Director of the Redd Center, an Associate Professor of History at BYU, General Editor of the Intermountain Histories project, and author of the 2018 book Native but Foreign: Indigenous Immigrants and Refugees in the North American Borderlands.
- Podcast Music was written and recorded by local Provo composer by Micah Dahl Anderson.
- Episodes are recorded via Skype or in person and amateurishly engineered and produced by Professor Rensink.
- To submit a book to be considered for a podcast episode, email firstname.lastname@example.org.