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What is Re-Wilding and why are we doing it?

Updated: Jul 27, 2021

We believe that time spent in the nature is critical to the human spirit, but that simply recreating in wilderness maintains the modern 'humans vs nature' culture. We believe that we all need deeper, integrated relationships with the land in which we live.

Most modern humans, especially those of us living in post-industrial countries, have grown up with a world view that humans are separate from nature. Our sciences, industries and religions separate the human from the animal. Conservation efforts work to eliminate human impact in wild places, seeing humans as not an integrated or integral part of nature. When you studied ecology in high school, did anyone ever talk about the human's place in the ecosystem?

It makes sense that conservation efforts work to eliminate human impact in wild places, because there are so few wild places left. The vast majority of land is overrun with farming, cities, suburbs and industry. The areas we have reserved for 'wilderness' are tiny refuges for animals and native plants to exist and because they are so precarious, we realize the need to eliminate human impact. Industry turns our natural world into resources to extract and exploit for profits. Wild spaces are only useful to globalism so long as they make money. We justify saving wilderness by creating an economy out of recreation.

Humans belong in nature. We are wild animals living in a captivity we have created for ourselves. We used to be integrated into the land and ecosystems before we began to see our place as managers and extractors of resources. Our bodies and brains are wired to thrive in the wild- specifically within the context of a tribe or community. For our brains and bodies to truly thrive, we need deep connection with others, self, and nature.

Modern humans are suffering from a lack of connection- in both depth and breadth. Our social structures make building and maintaining tight knit community challenging. Most of us do not get enough daily movement, and our bodies suffer the toll of repetitive or chronic lack of movement from the jobs that dominate our waking hours.

Recreation in nature is absolutely necessary for our mental and physical health. But we believe that recreation is not enough.

Through re-wilding we seek to reconnect with our true humanity through integration with natural spaces. In practice, this looks different for each person. Some love walking barefoot, practicing stealth craft and animal tracking. For others, the joy of exploration and play brings them fulfillment. Holistically, re-wilding means to shed the stories we have been told about ourselves by those looking to profit off of us, and opening our minds and bodies to connection with wild places.

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