Rewilding. What does it mean and why does it matter?
Updated: Oct 22, 2020
This week I would like to talk about rewilding. Rewilding is a concept that I only came across last year during my degree in a class called "Value of Nature". This particular class has been my main inspiration for starting this blog and particularly after learning about rewilding. It made me realise and think differently about how I (and humans in general) fit in with the natural world. As I am sure many of you are aware, our beloved David Attenborough has released a new documentary called A life on our planet. After watching it my thoughts around rewilding have come flooding back. It is more important than ever to realise our place in the world and how we fit in with natures processes.
So what is rewilding? Rewilding Britain describes it saying "Rewilding is the large-scale restoration of ecosystems where nature can take care of itself. It seeks to reinstate natural processes and, where appropriate, missing species – allowing them to shape the landscape and the habitats within". Humans have encroached on nature so much that we require a return to the wild in many areas around Britain in the hopes it will restore some balance. It is about having a balance or harmony with nature in order for every living part of this planet to thrive. I have quickly realised that humans in general no longer value nature and see it as a resource to help us survive, rather than be grateful that it has given us the advantage to thrive as we have. Maybe I will be dismissed as just another Hippie or eco-warrior for this next bit, but after looking at natures value from an academic perspective I really agree that we have to accept that in order for humans to survive (even before we can thrive) we must learn to live in harmony with the earth. Many people apricate nature for its aesthetic beauty, I am certainly one of these people, but take a minute to think about how you fit in.
Humans are very advanced and intelligent beings, but we are still only able to exist because of what the earth provides. If we take too much we will no longer exist but the earth with finding a new harmony. Being eco-friendly and sustainable is not a fad and it is not about just loving the planet, it truly is about the survival of the human race. The natural world is so beyond us that it will restore itself to a different balance and harmony even after humans no longer exist. So what can we do to start living in harmony with nature?
Rewilding is a perfect place to start because it is a matter of land management and is only possible if people have a different perspective on how to use the land around us. It doesn't need to be maintained and should be left to go where ever nature decides to take itself. This idea is that we have a selected space to just go wild. Rewilding gives nature an opportunity to recover from the damage humans have done but also creates new opportunities for us to learn from nature. "Rewilding isn’t a replacement for farming, forestry or activities such as hunting and fishing. It produces a rich mosaic of habitats that supports an increasingly rich mosaic of economic activities. ".
It is about changing our perception of the human relationship with nature in order to revitalise natural spaces. Click here to see what rewilding can look like in different places. I think it is important to note that rewilding is a strategy for returning harmony to the earth, and the term 'wild' often brings to mind thoughts of something that is uncontrollable and overrun. This not only demonstrates that humans have a desire to control nature for their benefit but also that perhaps we feel like if we let nature be it might move forward without us. This is why understanding where we fit in a realising that it is a relationship with the wild and the planet that we need to maintain and nurture, rather than a relationship we need to control.
Rewilding our hearts:
As cringe-worthy, as it might sound rewilding our hearts, is the way to start. Because before we can commit to restoring nature through the process of rewilding you have to fully buy into the concept of rewilding and realise we need to live alongside and in conjunction with nature, rather than living from nature as we are now. "Rewilding our hearts calls for a global paradigm shift, a social revolution, in how we interact with other animals and with other humans", in our current world unwilding spaces is the norm rather than the exception. We see on the news all the time how deforestation is destroying ecosystems, we are clearly aware that it is an issue but as a society, we haven't fought hard enough to break this cycle of unwilding in order to start rewilding.
What have I done/ do to rewild my heart and mind? If you follow my Instagram you will know I am a big fan of nature walks (and they can be especially romantic at this time of year if I make my boyfriend come along). I love admiring nature and take a moment to really look at what's going on. My friends and family call them my 'shiny' moments (like when a magpie spots a shiny object) and it is often when I see bumblebees or some flowers I think are pretty. I love to go walking in the woods and look at the trees and how the sun shines through the leaves, listen to the birds, or take a trip to the beach and watch the sea wash up by my toes. I really like to apricate the complexity of what is around me and take a moment to look further than just noticing its beauty. I am sure that rewilding your heart can come in many forms but this is what comes to mind for me.
The good news is that rewilding is something that is happening and just needs to be encouraged. Whenever you see a natural meadow on the side of a road or pavement this is evidence of rewilding. So don't get your self down that there is yet something else that needs to be done to save the earth, but have confidence that it is already started. Maybe it is a matter of rewilding your heart or just a space in your back garden. Essentially that's what a bug hotel is right? Maybe you have a little meadow. There is some many things you can do. Rewilding requires both a change in perception as well as a change in action and I hope this comes across in this blog.
Let me know how you rewild your heart in the comments below!