I highly recommend Paul Kingsnorth's provocative, impassioned essay in Orion Magazine: Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist. "I became an 'environmentalist,' " Paul writes, "because of a strong emotional reaction to wild places and the other-than-human world: to beech trees and hedgerows and pounding waterfalls, to songbirds and sunsets, to the flying fish in the Java Sea and the canopy of the rainforest at dusk when the gibbons come to the waterside to feed. From that reaction came a feeling, which became a series of thoughts: that such things are precious for their own sake, that they are food for the human soul, and that they need people to speak for them to, and defend them from, other people, because they cannot speak our language and we have forgotten how to speak theirs...."
Do you all know about the Dark Mountain Project? (Rima Staines posted about the group in July; and also about their Uncivilization Festival in September.) Dark Mountain is an inspired and inspiring creation, so if these folks aren't already on your radar, please go check out their website -- and the website for the group that David Abram is involved with, The Alliance for Wild Ethics.
If you're unfamiliar with Paul Kingsnorth's work, or David Abram's, then I also highly recommend their books, particularly Paul's Real England: The Battle Against the Bland, and David's The Spell of the Sensuous and Becoming Animal. Also Gary Snyder's classic book of essays, The Practice of the Wild, which Paul discusses in his blog post.
Images above: "Wistman's Wood" and "Archie Parkhouse in a wood near Dolton, Devon" by West Country photographer James Ravilious (1939-1999)