Rewilding, essentially creating a wilder planet, is one of the most cost-effective tools we have available today to combat the climate crisis. Simultaneously, by restoring damaged ecosystems, we can protect biodiversity and avert a sixth mass extinction event. While rewilding alone is not enough to save our planet without slashing our emissions, such natural climate solutions are crucial to securing a future of clean water, air, and healthy soil. With so much at stake and only 2% of the climate budget going to nature-based solutions, there’s no better time to find out how rewilding can help save the planet.
Our impact as humans has unequivocally been felt across the planet’s ecosystems for a prolonged period of time. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a landscape that has not undergone any form of human impact over the course of the last few thousand years. The rate of deforestation in tropical forests is estimated at 30 football pitches per minute. Around a third of the world’s soil is now degraded, and up to 200 species are going extinct every day.
The value of healthy natural systems can’t be overstated: they purify our air and clean our water; provide us with materials, food, and medicine; protect us against natural disasters; improve our soils; and mitigate climate change by sucking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and storing it safely. Now, more than ever, we need to protect nature where it’s vitally important. Not only this, but we must also fix the broken ecosystems we’ve destroyed. This is where rewilding, a modern approach to nature restoration, is inspiring a hopeful future by repairing our relationship with nature. Early successes have already shown that, in a relatively short period of time, we can help nature transform impoverished landscapes into thriving and functional ecosystems.
The concept of rewilding essentially involves relinquishing control back to nature, letting go of desired outcomes, and allowing it to shape its own direction. The thriving of nature can be observed when we eliminate pressure and grant adequate time and room. Setting nature on the path to recovery and then stepping back is rewilding in its simplest form.