Emma
Author of Environmental Nonfiction
Journalist
Travels from: Seattle, WA or Paris

“Eloquently, skillfully, Emma Marris wrestles with the dilemmas that define our relationships with animals and the environment, emerging with provocative but necessary answers. — Douglas W. Smith, Senior Wildlife Biologist, Yellowstone National Park

Emma Marris is a writer and author originally from Seattle, Washington. She has written about the entanglements between humans and nonhumans for many magazines and newspapers, including National Geographic, Wired, The New York Times, Nature and The Atlantic. She has a Master’s in Science Writing from Johns Hopkins University.

In her first book, Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World, Emma Marris asks a provocative question: what do we mean when we say we want to preserve nature? What counts as “nature” in the 21st century? For decades people have unquestioningly accepted the idea that our goal is to preserve nature in its pristine, pre-human state. But many scientists have come to see this as a category error that thwarts bold new plans to save the environment and prevents us from having a fuller relationship with nature. Humans have changed the landscapes they inhabit since prehistory, and climate change means even the remotest places now bear the fingerprints of humanity. Rambunctious Garden is short on gloom and long on interesting theories and fascinating narratives. Readers meet leading scientists and environmentalists and visit imaginary Edens, designer ecosystems, and Pleistocene parks. Marris describes innovative conservation approaches, including rewilding, assisted migration, and the embrace of so-called novel ecosystems.

In 2021, Emma published her second book, Wild Souls: Freedom and Flourishing in the Non-Human World. Transporting readers into the field with scientists tackling profound challenges, Emma tells the affecting and inspiring stories of animals around the globe–from Peruvian monkeys to Australian bilbies, rare Hawai’ian birds to majestic Oregon wolves. And she offers a companionable, easy-to-understand tour of the philosophical ideas that may steer our search for sustainability and justice in the non-human world. Revealing just how intertwined animal life and human life really are, Wild Souls will change the way we think about nature-and our place within it.

Emma lives in Oregon with her husband—with whom she occasionally co-authors environmental philosophy papers—and their two children.

Emma’s Authors Outside Profile: 

Forthcoming Books:

Wild Souls: Freedom and Flourishing in the Non-Human World

Bloomsbury Publishing |
Nonfiction

From an acclaimed environmental writer, a groundbreaking and provocative new vision for our relationships with–and responsibilities toward–the planet’s wild animals.

Protecting wild animals and preserving the environment are two ideals so seemingly compatible as to be almost inseparable. But in fact, between animal welfare and conservation science there exists a space of underexamined and unresolved tension: wildness itself. When is it right to capture or feed wild animals for the good of their species? How do we balance the rights of introduced species with those already established within an ecosystem? Can hunting be ecological? Are any animals truly wild on a planet that humans have so thoroughly changed? No clear guidelines yet exist to help us resolve such questions.

Transporting readers into the field with scientists tackling these profound challenges, Emma Marris tells the affecting and inspiring stories of animals around the globe–from Peruvian monkeys to Australian bilbies, rare Hawai’ian birds to majestic Oregon wolves. And she offers a companionable tour of the philosophical ideas that may steer our search for sustainability and justice in the non-human world. Revealing just how intertwined animal life and human life really are, Wild Souls will change the way we think about nature-and our place within it.

Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World

Bloomsbury USA |
Nonfiction

“Remarkable . . . Emma Marris explores a paradox that is increasingly vexing the science of ecology, namely that the only way to have a pristine wilderness is to manage it intensively.” –The Wall Street Journal

A paradigm shift is roiling the environmental world. For decades people have unquestioningly accepted the idea that our goal is to preserve nature in its pristine, pre-human state. But many scientists have come to see this as an outdated dream that thwarts bold new plans to save the environment and prevents us from having a fuller relationship with nature. Humans have changed the landscapes they inhabit since prehistory, and climate change means even the remotest places now bear the fingerprints of humanity. Emma Marris argues convincingly that it is time to look forward and create the “rambunctious garden,” a hybrid of wild nature and human management.

In this optimistic book, readers meet leading scientists and environmentalists and visit imaginary Edens, designer ecosystems, and Pleistocene parks. Marris describes innovative conservation approaches, including rewilding, assisted migration, and the embrace of so-called novel ecosystems.

Rambunctious Garden is short on gloom and long on interesting theories and fascinating narratives, all of which bring home the idea that we must give up our romantic notions of pristine wilderness and replace them with the concept of a global, half-wild rambunctious garden planet, tended by us.

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What Is Nature?

For many of us, “nature” is the opposite of “human.” But humanity has been deeply interwoven with other species for millenia. In this accessible talk, informed by the latest ecology, paleontology, and environmental history, Emma Marris asks us to consider how our relationship to the nonhuman world might change if we leave the human/nature binary behind.

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Coping with Eco-Anxiety

Each week, new headlines about climate change, pollution, and extinction plunge us into fresh despair. It can seem like it is “too late” for Planet Earth. In this calming–and ultimately inspiring–lecture, Emma Marris shares best practices for dealing with eco-anxiety. It is not “too late.” And we can still find joy as we fight to create a greener world.

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The Best Case Scenario

Tired of environmental doom and gloom? So is Emma Marris. This talk, based on her National Geographic cover story marking the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, paints a portrait of one possible future: the one where we learn how to live well on Earth. Using the latest science and social science as a starting point, this vision of what we are fighting for is realistic, achievable, and inspiring

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Gardening/Landscaping Design for a Changing World

As the climate warms and species move, old landscaping paradigms are shifting. What does it mean to plant “native species” when those ranges are shifting? Should our gardens speak to the past we have lost or a future we might hope to achieve? What’s the role of spontaneous vegetation in our cities? Are empty lots more wild than Yellowstone? This talk is perfect for urban planners, landscape designers, gardeners and horticulturists–anyone who manages the natural world.

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The Wolf

Drawing on over a decade of reporting on wolves in the American West, Emma Marris explores how this iconic predator can be a lens through which our relationship with nature can be examined.

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Writing for the Public: A Workshop for Scientists

Emma Marris has worked as a science journalist for 15 years, writing for general public magazines like National Geographic as well as for the scientific journals Nature and PNAS. In this interactive workshop, participants will learn how to communicate their research clearly and engage general public audiences, as well as how the science news cycle works. Participants complete a short pre-workshop assignment and receive individual feedback, as well as completing short exercises during the workshop, both individually and in short groups. Can be tailored for scientists in different fields and at different career stages.

Emma’s Books

Emma’s Journalism

Honors, Awards & Recognition

Emma is an award-winning journalist whose writing on science and the environment has appeared in:
The
New York Times
The Atlantic
National Geographic
Wired
Outside
High Country News
Best American Science and Nature Writing

Rambunctious Garden, was the subject of her TED Talk, which has over 1.4 million views. She was also featured on the TED Radio Hour and the series Adam Ruins Everything.

Awards

Winner of the 2022 Rachel Carson Environment Book Award | Society for Environmental Journalists
Winner of the 2022 Science in Society Journalism Award (Books) | National Association of Science Writers
Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize (Science)

Media Kit

By clicking the link below your will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

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