Climate change has grown into a contentious issue worldwide, with activists like 16-year-old Greta Thunberg championing for change on a global platform. Most discussions you’ve probably been a part of or seen on TV tend to be about the disastrous effects that industries have on the environment. At this point, human intervention has led to the global collapse of two-thirds of the world’s ecosystems over time. However, despite this gloomy statistic, the outcome does not necessarily have to be apocalyptic and we don’t need to learn to live without certain species and natural spaces. There are still ways to repair these damaged ecosystems and restore biodiversity; otherwise knowns as “rewilding”.
Rewilding has only recently become a term that is popularly used but the concept behind it is actually an age-old one. Nature has always found ways to regenerate, whether it be after an ice-age or volcanic eruption, these are all natural cycles that the earth moves through. However, through human intervention, these cycles become disrupted and fall out of balance. This is where rewilding comes into play.
Rewilding has only recently become a term that is popularly used but the concept behind it is actually an age-old one. Nature has always found ways to regenerate, whether it be after an ice-age or volcanic eruption, these are all natural cycles that the earth moves through.
However, through human intervention, these cycles become disrupted and fall out of balance. This is where rewilding comes into play.
In theory, if people have taken certain natural elements away, they can also put them back. The first step towards rewilding would be to stop the current process of destruction before beginning to reintroduce keystone species of plants and animals. Once all of the “ingredients” are in place, humans can step back and let nature take control of the situation, repopulating depleted ecosystems and habitats.
Some cases of rewilding are already evident in areas like Siberia and Ukraine where animals like wolves and tigers have started to roam in bigger numbers again. This resurgence is thanks to better conservation laws and anti-hunting policies that have been put into place in these regions. People living in these countries have also started to combat illegal deforestation and overfishing which affects the existence of these larger creatures. Other more controversial changes suggested by rewilding enthusiasts include the removal of dikes and dams as well as stopping the active management of wildlife populations.
Environmentalists believe that if we start with these vast landscapes and coastlines that are largely unpopulated by humans, we can start to see real change.
Unfortunately, not many people realize the far-reaching effects of plastic, smog and other waste on even the most remote regions of the world. Once we make a connection between our daily lives and the effects that our actions have on the rest of the world, we can begin to take positive action.
Changing our behaviour would not only affect a variety of ecosystems but our lives as well. Being more immersed in nature has proven to lead to better social and psychological functioning, with studies showing that people who have not been exposed to any natural elements showing signs of emotional and mental decline. The more obvious result of rewilding would be an improved quality of life as the earth’s resources grow richer and are better utilised in future. This would mean better air quality, fresh water and plentiful food sources.
What are your thoughts on rewilding? Do you think that nature has the power to heal itself or do we need to do more to help? Comment below to share your thoughts with us.