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Jim Sterba

Award-winning journalist for The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, and author of Nature Wars

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  • About Jim Sterba

    Jim Sterba has been a foreign correspondent, war correspondent, and national correspondent for more than four decades, first for The New York Times and then for The Wall Street Journal. He covered the war in Vietnam, and reported from Asia for more than 30 years, including conflicts in Afghanistan and throughout the region, as well as the Chinese crackdown on demonstrators in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. He also wrote for the Science Times section of The New York Times.

    In his book Nature Wars, Sterba asserts that it is very likely that more Americans now live in closer proximity to more wild animals and birds in the eastern United States than anywhere on the planet at any time in history. He describes how 20th century wildlife restoration successes have given way to mounting people-wildlife conflicts and deep divisions among modern Americans – most of whom live in forested sprawl – over how to cope with the natural bounty all around them.  Sterba offers an eye-opening look at community battles, pitting neighbor against neighbor, that have erupted over how to deal with too much of a good thing.

  • Speaking Topics

    How Wildlife’s Comeback Turned Backyards into Battlegrounds

    Burgeoning conflicts with wildlife have touched off battles in hundreds of American communities over what to do – or not to do – about growing populations of wild birds and animals in their midst. Mounting threats to safety, health and ecology have torn towns apart, pitting neighbor against neighbor. Comebacks of once-threatened deer, geese, wild turkeys, beavers, coyotes, bears and other critters represent a miraculous conservation success story gone awry. People divide over whether to let nature be or manage it as responsible stewards. Take white-tailed deer: 3,000 to 4,000 deer-vehicle crashes PER DAY; record cases of Lyme disease and other deer-tick spread infections; billions in crop and landscape damage; and tens of millions of acres of forests turned into eco-slums unable to regenerate because of browsing by overabundant whitetails. Instead of 15 deer per square mile, a biologically reasonable number, many areas have 100 or more: with virtually no predators (except the family car). In his lecture, Jim Sterba uses history and humor to recount how conservation successes gave us too much of a good thing, and how Americans went from hands-on agrarians to denatured sprawl dwellers.

  • Praise for Jim Sterba

    Praise for Nature Wars

    Jim Sterba employs humor and an eye for the absurd to document the sometimes bizarre conflicts that arise as a consequence of America’s transformed relationship with nature. . . . An eye-opening take on how romantic sentimentalism about nature can have destructive consequences.

    Kirkus, starred review

    This is an excellent introduction to a ‘problem’ that is often one of human perception.

    Booklist, starred review

    Sterba provocatively and persuasively argues that just at the moment when humankind has distanced itself irrevocably from nature, its behavior patterns have put people in conflict with a natural world that they don’t know how to deal with. . . . A valuable counternarrative to the mainstream view of nature-human interaction.

    Publisher’s Weekly
  • Books by Jim Sterba

  • Media About Jim Sterba

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and Availability

  • 212 572-2013
  • Jim Sterba travels from New York, NY

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