Rewilding, thankfully, is moving more and more into mainstream consciousness. About time too. But what is it, and why do we Wildcraft it so much? It really is a huge area of study, and given my love for writing a lot of words (when maybe slightly less would do), I am going to really work hard at making this brief….
Nature Conservation is the ‘traditional’ name for a small band of folk trying to save what teeny wee bits of ‘high value’ nature we have left. As I write this, trying to scan the internet for an easy definition, its well, not so easy.
But a Conservation definition I found is: The act or process of conserving. Preservation or restoration from loss, damage, or neglect. The protection, preservation, management, or restoration of wildlife and of natural resources such as forests, soil, and water.
The key message has always been: ‘we are losing it’, ‘we must protect’, and we will ‘manage’ it. I worked for over 16 years for Nature Conservation Charity, studied it (and Ecology itself) to Postgraduate level, trained other people in it, (from ecological basics to most forms of practical management), and we worked to that definition.
The trouble is we are still losing species and connection at an alarming rate, and both globally and UK wide. The UK is one of the most nature depleted countries in Europe.
So fast-forward to Biodiversity, one of my favourite words (but not one, funnily enough, that you will hear that often bantered between folk on the bus, in the pub etc). The term ‘Biodiversity’ came out of the Rio Earth Summit in the early 90’s. A summit that came up with so much globally good ideas and action plans it really is worth a mention.
The importance of the definition and the new Biodiversity approach – by carefully looking at all species, not just the rare and the favourites of humans, was at last music to my ears. We were now looking at managing our natural wealth based on scientific fact and not just ‘tradition’. And that has to be the way it should be. This is important because Nature Conservation itself, hugely important and facts based a lot of the time had practices based on forestry and land management approaches.
And this is a key point that I want to emphasise: we have to be able to connect to nature from a deep personal and cultural point of view, it gives support to our minds, bodies and heart. We also need to be able, as individuals, communities and as a society, to be able to understand our basic Ecological systems and how they work, and why they are so important. And finally we must be able tell the difference between the two and when it is ok to mix them together and when it is not.
Rewilding understands that we need large scale areas where nature is ‘self-willed’, doing its own thing. And that we have to change our land management practices in the UK and throughout the world to increase the size, connectedness and quality of our Natural Habitats and Ecosystems. Maybe we help nature to a point where it looks after itself. And that will in itself work to reduce the negative impact of climate change and of course give us more wild land to explore and be human in, more resources on the fringes of Rewilded areas to continue to live sustainably.
So a few of my personal connections and sources to share with you for more information:
Scotland the Big Picture https://www.scotlandbigpicture.com, beautifully set out and researched. Treat yourself to the book ‘A Rewilding Journey’. Although based around Scotland its all transferrable elsewhere. I attended one of their talks in Edinburgh a few months back, and even with my experience I learned, and It was so accessible.
‘A Manifesto for Wildlife’. http://www.chrispackham.co.uk/a-peoples-manifesto-for-wildlifeFronted by Chris Packham, with many, many, contributors this lays out all the Wildlife and related issues we could take on board now.
Wildcraft have been developing and delivering projects with our colleagues at Climate Action North East (CANE) http://www.climateactionnortheast.org.uk, since 2016.
As part of that CANE hosted 3 rewilding seminars in the North East, which I attended and delivered a session at. There were lots of great projects, too many to mention here, including the rewilding in Northumberland https://www.visitnorthumberland.com/news/2018/01/new-year-new-wildwood-project-for-kielder. I have picked this link to showcase it because it focuses on the truly great part of Rewilding …visit Northumberland. Rewilding will work for communities and people as well as the bits of nature that are not obviously us.
There were also presentations by Mark Fisher and Steve Carver if you want to go into more depth, explore critiques of current practices, and propose proven ways to Rewild, at http://www.self-willed-land.org.ukand https://wildlandresearch.org
Visit Carrifran, http://www.carrifran.org.uk, which is only slightly more awe inspiring than the people who have made it happen. I volunteered on one of the tree planting days they regularly hold, last spring. I will be going again and again. You can too J
And keeping it in Scotland of course, the inspirational Trees for Life project:https://treesforlife.org.uk
And a good read to go with all that? Then try ‘Rewilding’ by George Monbiot.
So that’s Life, the Earth, the Universe and pretty much everything covered, for the time being anyway.
Yours in Wildcraftynation