Key takeaways from a recent virtual event on rewilding, in support of 1% for The Planet and co-hosted by Springwise.
This year has seen the topic of rewilding and the preservation of nature receive renewed attention in discussions around the climate crisis, bolstered by Sir David Attenborough latest film A Life On Our Planet. In it, he states: “The living world is a unique and spectacular marvel, yet the way we humans live on Earth is sending it into a decline… We need to learn how to work with nature rather than against it.”
This important sentiment was at the heart of a recent digital discussion on the issue of rewilding, in support of 1% for The Planet and co-hosted by Springwise. It featured Springwise Chair and Re_Set Co-Founder James Bidwell, who introduced Rebecca Wrigley, Chief Executive of Rewilding Britain. She presented on a range of topics from the most effective approaches to successful rewilding to how the business community can best support rewilding efforts, including the development of nature-based economies.
Rewilding Britain is an NGO dedicated to promoting the rewilding of the UK, and exciting things have been happening within the organisation recently, including the launch of both a new website and the Rewilding Britain network, a “platform for pioneering change-makers to connect, share, learn and get inspired about how to act wild on the ground”.
For those who were unable to attend the event, you can watch the recording and see our five key takeaways below.
1. Preserving and reestablishing natural ecosystems has the greatest effect
Rewilding can be defined as the “restoring [of] ecosystems to the point where nature can take care of itself, and restoring our relationship with the natural world.”
To this end, Wrigley said we must focus on both the bigger and smaller picture. The large scale preservation of ecosystems and natural processes is the goal, rather than a focus on individual species.
To do this, we must reinsert natural food web and ecosystems, employ flood mitigation and clean water. We must allow species to move around, taking down barriers to this and connecting up habitats, reversing our ever-increasing biodiversity loss.
2. Support people in order to create resilient, nature-based economies
Humans are a part of nature, not apart from it, and an ecosystem cannot flourish without an equally flourishing quality of life for mankind.
By rewilding, we can draw carbon down from the atmosphere, help wildlife adapt to climate change and reverse biodiversity loss, which at the same time, will help to support diversified nature-based economies and improve our health and wellbeing.
Rewilding Britain has made it their goal to achieve a 30 per cent upscale of rewilding by 2030. Of this, 5 per cent will be left entirely to nature, and the other 25 per cent will be land and marine habitats that aim to enhance nature process, which can be achieved by humans and nature working together.
Springwise has spotted several innovations where humans and nature are aided by technology to support biodiversity, including a mapping technique that helps create wildlife corridors. The process rates the strength of legal authorities and the importance of the restoration of the land, helping experts decide on resourcing.
3. The role governments should play
According to Wrigley, there has to be motivation — other than the obvious impending climate crisis — behind the rewilding movement, and funding and incentive for this kind of large-scale change comes from the top.
With the financial and moral support of our governments, who can support farmers facing land losses, and who can implement beneficial agricultural policies, we can influence impactful change without major losses.
Large areas of the UK, for example, aren’t being used to produce food, and could instead be used as rewilding areas. Holding our governments to account on how they use our land is valid and valuable, and contacting your local council on these points could help to draw attention from a local to international level.
4. The importance of urban rewilding
Although city-dwellers may feel that the rewilding effort is an abstract concept, this is where many people’s connection to nature starts. Rewilding is a spectrum, and any natural process that can be reinstated is helpful.
If we start connecting our cities to wilder areas, allowing the two to intermingle, we can have a big impact. There is always green space available: whether it’s a small garden, a city park or a friend’s allotment, everyone can play their part in their own land, to make large scale change.
In line with this idea, Springwise recently spotted the Sugi urban rewilding project that aims to clean and cool city air by creating small-plot, ultra-dense forests that are planted with native species.
5. How to be a catalyst for change
The best way we can help with the rewilding project is to drive momentum. We can upscale our pace and ambition of change by supporting smaller movements, investing, growing our networks, calling upon the government and joining the call to get behind the 30 per cent by 2030 initiative.
We can use whatever land we have access to and inspire the people around us to do the same. Without doing this, we face a bleak future.
The amazing community of 1% for The Planet business and individual members are taking action every day to work towards solutions to protect our home planet. Do you know someone who may be interested in joining 1% for the Planet? Please support us in spreading our mission by recommending them to join our global movement.
3rd November 2020