I am a big fan of eco-journalist George Monbiot . Many of his essays, (as well as “The Patterning Instinct” by Jeremy Lent ) have influenced and sharpened my world view of Nature and helped me develop the theme of this web site that everything in Nature, including humans, is interconnected and interdependent. I recently read Monbiot’s book called ” Feral: Rewilding the Land, the Sea, and Human Life
George Monbiot Is An Environmental Thought Leader
He is an advocate for changing mankind’s worldview about Nature. He defines the idea of “rewilding” in terms that are completely in agreement with the theme of this web site. In this essay, I offer some of Monbiot’s quotes from his book and references to some of his essays. It is my hope that his words will stimulate you into thinking about your relationship with Nature in a way that will help build your legacy that passes on a deep consciousness of Nature and her interrelationships with others.
The classic definition of rewilding is large-scale conservation aimed at:
- Restoring and protecting natural processes and core wilderness areas.
- Providing connectivity and energy flow between such areas.
- Protecting or reintroducing apex predators and keystone species.
Monbiot describes rewilding as a new human activity that promotes interconnectivity and interdependence in Nature.
Monbiot goes further. He uses the term “rewilding” as a metaphor to describe the necessary change in mankind’s worldview about Nature if humanity is to survive. The dictionary definition of feral is: “In a wild state, especially after escape from captivity or domestication.” Monbiot’s “Feral” metaphorically applies this definition to the hopeful escape of mankind from the damaging world views about Nature that possess and hold captive the lives and the future of human beings. Monbiot then goes on to describe rewilding as a new human activity that promotes interconnectivity and interdependence in Nature.
Amazon offers the following description of Monbiot’s book:
“Monbiot takes readers on an enchanting journey around the world to explore ecosystems that have been “rewilded”: freed from human intervention and allowed―in some cases for the first time in millennia―to resume their natural ecological processes…. Through his eyes, we see environmental success―and begin to envision a future world where humans and nature are no longer separate and antagonistic, but are together part of a single, healing world. “
Quotes from George Monbiot’s book “Feral: Rewilding, The Land, Sea,and Human Life”
.“Rewilding, to me, is about resisting the urge to control nature and allowing it to find its own way. Some people see rewilding as a human retreat from nature; I see it as a re-involvement.”
“The rewilding of natural ecosystems that fascinates me is not an attempt to restore them to any prior state, but to permit ecological processes to resume… Rewilding recognizes that nature consists not just of a collection of species but also of their ever-shifting relationships with each other and with the physical environment.”
“The ecosystems that result are best described not as wilderness, but as self-willed: governed not by human management but by their own processes”
“Rewilding has no end points, no view about what a ‘right’ ecosystem or a ‘right’ assemblage of species looks like. It does not strive to produce a heath, a meadow, a rainforest, a kelp garden or a coral reef. It lets nature decide. The way they [the ecosystems] evolve cannot be predicted… While conservation often looks to the past, rewilding … looks to the future.”
“Rewilding is not about abandoning civilization but about enhancing it. It is to ‘love not man the less, but Nature more’.”
“The environmental movement up till now has necessarily been reactive. We have been clear about what we don’t like, But we also need to say what we would like. We need to show where hope lies. Ecological restoration is a work of hope.”
“The more we understand about how ecosystems work, the less appropriate certain conservation policies appear. As I have explored the powerful effects that some species exert on animals and plants to which, at first, they have no obvious connection, I have begun to understand the extent to which the farmed and managed systems, that many conservationists defend, are empty shells. They have lost not only their physical structure – the trees, shrubs and dead wood – but also many of the connections between the species which build an ecosystem. Most of the strands of the web of the life in these places have been broken “
“Rewilding is to restore, to the greatest extent possible, ecology’s dynamic interactions. In other words, the scientific principle behind rewilding is restoring what ecologists call trophic diversity. Trophic means relating to food and feeding [ energy flow]. Restoring trophic diversity means enhancing the number of opportunities, for animals, of life. It means expanding the web of life both vertically and horizontally, increasing the number of trophic levels (top predators, middle predators, plant eaters, plants, carrion and detritus feeders) and creating opportunities for the number and complexity of relationships at every level to rise.”
“Ecologists are not always aware of the extent to which the systems they study have been altered by humans: that the life they describe has been greatly simplified and diminished.” (Note: referred to as Shifting Baseline Syndrome)
‘Rewilding experiments are likely to present stiff challenges to current scientific knowledge. Many of the places ecologists have studied have been radically altered by human intervention, and many of the processes they have recorded, and which they assumed were natural, appear to have been shaped as much by people and their domestic stock as by wild animals and plants.” (Note: So what baseline do we use for a restoration project?)
Some Essays and Videos by George Monbiot
Why Do I Write These Essays?
Nothing in Nature exists in isolation. The movement of life’s energy, which originates in the sun, takes place because everything is interconnected and interdependent. Your consciousness of interdependence in Nature means that, every time you engage Nature, you ask yourself how a creature, a plant, yourself, or a natural object is connected to another and to Nature’s greater scheme of things. With this awareness you are prepared to protect Nature’s environment that sustains you. And, you create your legacy by encouraging others to do likewise.
If, after reading my essays, you find yourself embracing these ideas, I am thrilled in knowing that I’ve played some small part in setting this world view in motion in your mind.
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My name is Bill Graham. As a Marine Biologist who has worked in the US and Mexico for 30 years, I am a student of Nature, a teacher, a researcher, and a nature photographer. Through my work, I have acquired an ever growing passion for how everything in Nature is connected. Today, I travel extensively contemplating about, writing about, and photographing Nature’s connections. I also work with conservation projects in the USA and Mexico and mentor talented youth.