The pandemic has shown us a lot of deer and dolphins in clear view again. But are we learning what we need to?
We choose waiting for elevators when stairs exhibit an easy and a sustainable option. Oops, did I just blabber a cliche word? After all, we only like to talk about ‘on the records’!
Rewild, a simple word that defines serenity! It is reversal of the destruction of the natural world and is an attempt on the mass restoration of ecosystem. It gives nature the chance to come above to the surface to breathe and mend itself. A way to rewind, to restore is – rewilding. If I can take the liberty of digging into my poetic tangents again, I would call it the reinstalling of rhythms on the barren post slash-&-burn barren field and letting them on their own. This helps so that our upcoming generations have a better landscape in real life than on their laptops.
And we, as just yet another foot-ninjas in this marathon of outshining others, don’t really get to do anything more than only ‘thinking’ about this beautiful reconditioning! It would be right if I say; we have this strange tendency to cut down the natural beauty in order to earn enough and travel to see magnificence of nature. How ironic!
From Then to Now
Aren’t trees so amazingly resilient! No matter how harsh we get towards them, trees come swaying back to us. You can smash, twist, splinter them but they always hobble back to us -cute yet tough! Ever thought why underground things like boxes and weight are so much unwieldy than the big trees like oak & peach and ash in the forest canopy.
The search for the answer to the – how’s & why’s, makes me go back in the past when humans weren’t the monsters of earth that they are today. Way back in the history, giant animals like elephants were all over the place and if trees were strong enough, they would have been easily wiped out. Along with elephants were rhinos, lions & hippos. These eventually migrated to southern Europe due to the Ice Age – persisted about 40 thousand years ago but eventually got wiped out by human hunters, as stated by The Guardian International Edition under the environment blog.
About some twenty-five years ago, wolves were reintroduced in America’s first ever national park, Yellowstone that had almost got extirpated. From 1870s onwards, hunted to eradication were those packs of wolves that roamed from the Arctic to Mexico. Back in 1926, the very last ones were killed in Yellowstone as a part of a policy then which stated something about the need to eliminate all predators.
From Now to Then Again
Urban life is all about ‘me’ while rewilding is all about ‘us’. Producing more than required and buying more than one needs, we switch ourselves in this loop every now and then. Coming to production, it is startling to know that agriculture occupies 50 percent, i.e., 51 million km2 of the earth’s land surface, i.e., 149 million km2, out of which just 104 million km2(71 per cent) is habitable land. And this makes agriculture half of the world’s habitable land!
Agriculture transforms habitats & pressurizes biodiversity and the way it expands turns out to be one of humanity’s largest impacts on the environment. Out of 28,000 species threatened with extinction on the IUCN Red List, agriculture is listed as a menace for 24,000 of them.
Talking about agriculture, let us take an overview of the food waste globally which, each year, turns out to be1.3 billion tonnes, reported by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations on Sep 12, 2018.
We show remorse about the extinction of species of animals but forget that preserving them can only happen if we safeguard their habitat. Any alteration to it can exterminate that species.
Rewilding can happen easily through involvement of local communities and guiding them through this journey. We have crossed this bridge and have gone from rural life to urbanism but along the way of crossing the bridge, we have only reached a higher level of ignorance. Conversation has been cut down to texting, colourful butterflies have been eradicated by repeated and anxious phone-checking, meals are just a click away, (e)books are without odour – and what not!
Back to the Stair-case
We live in a shattered land, in a dim flattened remnant of what there once was. This is why rewilding offers us this fantastic opportunity to start restoring the systems or the least – of allowing them to restore themselves. The pandemic has started something in that direction, let us not interrupt a good thing – nature’s resilience and revival -when it is in progress. It is about reintroducing plants and animals by stepping back and letting nature get on with it. Not just that, it also brings back lot of enchantment and thrill and wonder to even imagine how amazing it would be if everybody could have serenity at their doorsteps!
By Hridaya Khatri