George Monbiot’s 2013 publication Feral: Rewilding The Land The Sea And Human Life was inspired by a pioneering movement to rewild Britain and has since become a catalyst resulting in the creation of the charity, Rewilding Britain. Organisations like Rewilding Britain are joining a growing global conversation that are encouraging the questioning of an anthropocentric perspective and positioning, increasingly dominating ecosystems.
So what is ‘Rewilding’?
In its broadest sense, Rewilding Britain defines it as the ‘restoration of habitats, [to] bring back living systems and repair ecological damage’. You can explore a range of projects in Britain engaged in this effort here or watch a short video about rewilding here.
Rewilding Britain has produced a mini-manifesto, a useful starting point for people to engage with rewilding activities and ideas. It will not be easy there are often conflicts between humans and their wild neighbours, the on-going evolutionary conflict over resources. Increasingly studies are considering the imbalance and decline of apex predators and how this impacts on an ecosystem.
Museums and media are popularising the debates and drawing attention to and sharing accessible information about what happens when apex predators disappear or indeed considerations about the re-introduction of such predators. Science blogger Alex Reshanov has commented on a recent report from the University of Arizona that positions us as somewhere in the middle of the trophic levels in an ecosystem.The challenge to humans will be to reduce our impact by reconsidering our consumption and how we can contribute positively to an ecosystem.
Organisations such as Rewilding Britain look to help with that challenge by seeking to ‘inspire, inform and build a wider movement for rewilding’. Their aim is not to design physical processes and ecosystems but to take an active role in contributing to the conditions to help redress the balance and to minimise our negative impact. Rewilding Britain’s launch adds to the ongoing discussions around deep ecology that emphasise an ecocentric value system and part of an ongoing exploration of a diverse human-Nature context and relationship (Drengson, 1999). Rewilding Britain is not all about apex predators such as Lynx or Wolves, rather it addresses the decline in the UK’s biodiversity using a systemic, ecocentric approach.
We hope you will join the conversation. You can share your opinion, expand the Thinking Wilderness project by sharing information on individuals and organisations working on behalf of wilderness in your area or nominate yourself or someone else who might be interested in becoming a featured Wilderness Thinker.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Rewilding Britain is a charity set up by people with a passion for nature. We believe rewilding provides hope for the future for people and nature. Through rewilding we can start to reverse centuries of ecological damage. We can re-establish natural processes, reconnect with nature and regain wonder for the natural world.