The Philosophy of Rewilding

Lucy Weir
3 min readJul 7, 2022

Ukraine. Covid. Democracy under threat. These are the hot topics of the day (though Medium is also full of narcissism, looking deep into its own reflection and asking how it can convince its contributors to feed the ego — and then there’s sex, because, well, sex sells…).

Beyond and surrounding all this is Climate Change, the poster child of the existential threat we’re all facing in this, The Anthropocene. But Charles Eisenstein, among many others (Robin Wall Kimmerer, Wendell Berry, Gary Snyder, Warwick Fox ….) recommends that instead of focusing on the numerical contortions demanded by CO2 emissions, we turn our attention to what we can do locally, on the ground, where we live. That includes the keystone step: rewilding.

Rewilding aims to allow rural regions — and even, in a micro-sense, urban ‘pockets’ — around the world to gradually revert to wilderness, to let native species re-establish themselves. In areas where there is enough space for this to happen, this includes allowing natural migration of species — plants, animals, birds, and of course, most vitally, and often most overlooked, microorganisms — to those areas that where they were once native.

Across the globe, from Chile to Scotland, and from Indonesia to the Netherlands, projects abound. Against a backdrop of ecological annihilation through logging, mining, bombing, burning and flooding, the little acts of many nurture the seeds of recovery. The EU plans to link wild areas in individual countries across mainland Europe and create migration routes for species and habitats. This will create ribbons between wild parks in a number of countries so that wild species and native habitats re-establish themselves. Even the seas are considered corridors for letting natural migration routes blossom again into being.

Originally, rewilding was seen as a ‘bottom up’ affair: begin with the small species, the simplest plant life, and work up. Sadhguru’s Save Soil is a good example of this. But the practice includes ‘top down’ too: begin with the key predators, and they will alter the behaviour (in an ‘ecology of fear’ sense, changing where they feed and therefore what they feed on) of prey. In the complex network of interrelationships within ecosystems, this alters growth patterns of other species. These can then begin to re-establish themselves as…

Lucy Weir

What if words shape ideas and actions? The ecological emergency is us! Connection matters. Yoga, philosophy, Top writer, Climate Change