We live in a shadowland, a dim flattened relic of what once was. Rewilding offers us a fantastic opportunity to restore systems. Reintroducing missing plants and animals then stepping back and letting nature get on with itGeorge Monbiot
This heart-warming animation gently brings into focus one of the major problems we have in our understanding about what rewilding means — we’ve forgotten what the wilderness looks like. We don’t realise that we are living in a ‘shadowland’ because we have never known the environment in any other way.
George Monbiot, environmentalist and writer for The Guardian, narrates this animation in which our attention is drawn to wonder about the resilience of trees and what could have provoked this resilience.
Could it be elephants? 🌳 🐘
Just image: elephants and huge other mega-sized beasts roaming the cultivated hills of Europe. It seems absurd and yet that is indeed what happened (though Europe would have been somewhat lacking in cultivation at the time). As recently as 40,000 years ago, a mere blink of an evolutionary eye, huge mega-fauna (truck size beasts) roamed across our ‘shadowlands’, pushing all sorts of trees and foliage over in their paths and inspiring the evolutionary resilience that we see in trees today.
It’s not just the big beasts that occupied these lands. Their actions triggered a ripple effect creating vast, buzzing ecosystems alive with life and enabling countless other species of smaller animals to thrive.
So when it comes to rewilding it might be appropriate for us to consider our own record in protecting or allowing wild spaces to simply exist. Granted we have a long history of human habitation to contend with, however the UK is a key player on the world stage, lobbying nations with greater wildernesses, along with the rest of Europe, to protect their natural spaces.
But in a time when we can no longer even imagine the wonders of our natural past is it time for us to recreate some of the enchantment that comes in a world buzzing with life?
Rewilding offers us more than just the restoration of the ecosystem. It brings back into our lives a lot of thrill and wonder and enchantment.George Monbiot
Perhaps, as Monbiot suggests, we should be more ambitious, we should think about bringing back the big beasts, the natural ghosts of the past, in order to enrich our time here on Planet Earth. After all when it comes down to it it’s more than just creating space for other creatures to survive and thrive, it’s about what kind of experiences of life we want to have ourselves
And, in case you have lingering doubts about the beneficial effects of creating huge, open, messy, wild spaces, it’s worth remembering…
Rewilding the ecosystem offers us a chance to rewild our own lives as well.