By Duncan Grossart
What is rewilding and why does it matter?
We are no longer separate nations each best served by looking after its own needs and security. We are a single truly global species whose greatest threats are shared and whose security must ultimately come from acting together in the interests of us all.”
There are several initiatives that are now focusing on rewilding. These include the UK’s 30by30 pledge to protect 30% of the UK’s marine and terrestrial wildlife and the world’s first ever Rewilding Day, that took place on 20th March this year. A month before the all-important UN Conference on Climate Change in Glasgow this November (COP26), China will host the COP15 Convention on Biological Diversity.
The wonderful world of rewilding
Bringing back the wolves also decreased the coyote population, allowing small mammals, such as mice, voles and rabbits to return. The changing habitat also enticed back the bears, who fed on new shrubs and berries, as well as carcasses left by the wolves. The more the trees, grasses and shrubs took hold, the greater the stability of the riverbanks. And so it went on in a virtuous cycle. The reintroduction of one apex predator set off a trophic cascade that affected the entire ecosystem for the better.
Since this, there have been so many positive rewilding stories, from the reintroduction of jaguars and giant otters in Argentina to bison in Romania to beavers in Scotland. The bison is a keystone species and landscape architect, spreading seeds and burrs in its fur, creating nesting material for birds, attracting insects with its dung and cutting up the ground with its hooves, helping nuts and seeds take root.
Rewilding can also bring about benefits for local economies and communities. For example, recent research by Rewilding Britain has shown that in rewilding areas there has been a 51% increase in employment and a tenfold increase in volunteering opportunities.
The main message I want to leave you with is that, although we, as human beings, have ruined many of the world’s ecosystems, it is not too late to reverse some of the damage. The restoration of our landscapes, habitats and biodiversity will help to mitigate climate change. Not only that, but rewilding also brings vibrancy, hope and positive livelihoods back into communities.
As George Monbiot says in his book Feral: searching for enchantment on the frontiers of rewilding: “Rewilding is not about abandoning civilization, but about enhancing it. It is to ‘love not Man the less, but Nature more’.”
Duncan Grossart is a Member of Green Angel Syndicate and Founder & Managing Director of Journeys with Purpose.
Green Angel Syndicate, one of the largest active angel syndicates in the UK and the only one specialising in the fight against Climate Change. For regular updates follow Green Angel Syndicate on LinkedIn and Twitter.