Rewilding is the hope-and-action-full theory that the reintroduction of historic and native megafauna is of key importance to large scale ecosystem restoration, global environmental regeneration, and widespread socio-emotional healing. Think predatory and keystone species: wolves in Yellowstone, bison on the great plains, who enable ‘passive management’, thus limiting the necessity for human involvement in basic ecosystem processes.

 

The rapid rate of landscape change over the last century, as well as narratives of scarcity, have eroded our collective understanding of the potential for ecological abundance. "Shifting baseline syndrome (SBS) is a cautionary tale referring to changing human perceptions of biological systems due to loss of experience about past conditions". Rewilding practitioners should have a knack for balancing a long duree view of ecological time with immediate localized needs of ecologies and communities.

Of rewilding, COA Professor Suzie O’keefe writes:

“Recognizing that the thinking which allowed Europeans to destroy the bounty of this land still dictates our problem solving, our economics and our imaginations, is an essential part of restoring the natural world, and by extension, our own wellbeing. This thinking deeply challenges us because our culture is based in ecological control, management and exploitation to maximize profit. Unlike many native communities and cultures, we do not see ourselves as one species within a community of species, but adhere to the construct of dominionism. If we were to see ourselves as members, not masters, of the life community (to quote Aldo Leopold) the destruction of the rivers, oceans, forests, grasslands, bays and all the bounty they did, and can again, provide, would be unimaginable. A question I ask myself often is, what if we saw the destruction of the natural world for what it is—a diminishment to the wellbeing, and quality of life for all? And what if each generation made it their priority to leave the next more wild beauty and abundance than they knew? If this could become our collective goal, where would we start, and how?”

Terns at Maine Coastal Island National Wildlife Refuge

There are environmental benefits to microalgae, the microscopic algae commonly found in marine systems. Of the different species of macroalgae, they type that can clean the water aren’t the types that you would eat. These are found in muck-holding environments, which are full of life. Because we have a lot of muck in the oceans, where microalgae are present, there’s an opportunity to regenerate the quality of our soil through restorative aquaculture by growing microalgae. They can be used to restore degraded land, such as the land along highways, in parking lots, and under power lines. These parts of our landscape have tremendous potential.

Algae can be grown on lines and then harvested, composted, and added to the landscapes. They can create healthy soil biology that can support a functioning carbon cycle with native plants.

Resources:

Ecosystem restoration camps
The Land Institute
Fish returning to Smelt Cove
250 Years of Dams: Rhode Island River Restored for Migratory Fish
Maine River Restoration Success
The Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet: Ghosts and Monsters of the Anthropocene

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