Rewilding the Future

As much as I enjoyed reading George Monbiot’s book, Feral, there were times when I felt despair.  Now, before I put you off reading it, I must qualify that.  The book is beautifully written, his descriptions of the Welsh landscape are poetic.  His sense of feeling alive during his brush with danger in Cardigan Bay is invigorating.  Despair did not arise from anything he had to say personally, in fact he provides some wonderfully intriguing theories and an insightful perspective on the landscape of Britain, long past, and what could be.

This is illustrated in this radio programme where the host joins George for a walk.  In it, he expresses some of the best of his thoughts in Feral.

George Monbiot in Search of the Wild

However, I felt despair as he described the completely non-sensical conservation policy that drives approaches to land management across Europe.  Imagine someone asking you how your relationship is going.  You reply “we’re conserving it nicely, it’s sustainable.”  I don’t think I’d be getting an exciting picture of your relationship.  That pretty much sums up the state of conservation policy.  We’re conserving something that is already dead.  Or at least almost.

Wouldn’t it be exciting if you instead replied, “We’re finding ways to regenerate our relationship, to bring it alive again”?

Recognising that his articles are quite despair inducing, George is beginning to talk solutions in an occasional series he is writing for The Guardian.  He’s looking for those pockets of regeneration.   Links to the first three are below, but I’ll add others as they arise, mostly as I don’t want to lose them between all the other articles he writes.

No. 1: The case for despair is made.  Now let’s start to get out of the mess we’re in.

No. 2: Our democracy is broken, debased and distrusted – but there are ways to fix it.

No.3: This is how people can truly take back control: from the bottom up

 George Monbiot mentioned the poet John Clare.  My investigation led me to “Winter Walk”, which reflects the day here in Yorkshire and the adoration of the holly tree encountered on their walk in the radio programme.

The holly bush, a sober lump of green,
Shines through the leafless shrubs all brown and grey,
And smiles at winter be it eer so keen
With all the leafy luxury of May.
And O it is delicious, when the day
In winter’s loaded garment keenly blows
And turns her back on sudden falling snows,
To go where gravel pathways creep between
Arches of evergreen that scarce let through
A single feather of the driving storm;
And in the bitterest day that ever blew
The walk will find some places still and warm
Where dead leaves rustle sweet and give alarm
To little birds that flirt and start away.

(John Clare)

So, I’ve not quite given you a film for the future today, but I hope I’ve presented good course for the feast I’m trying to provide.


Featured Image: By Yathin S Krishnappa (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

Winter Walk by John Clare


2 thoughts on “Rewilding the Future

  1. Not sure what’s up with the editor today, but can’t seem to fix the paragraphing in this post. The spaces are there in Html form, but not showing for some reason. Any ideas? WordPress glitch? 😦


    1. Well if anyone else comes across this problem – try going to the html editor and replace every div you see with p and that seemed to solve the problem. Why the html reverted to div instead of p for paragraph I’m unsure, so will update if I figure out that bit.


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