Through the process of rewilding, cities can improve both human and environmental health.
The idea of grizzly bears prowling sidewalks in Chicago may not appeal to the average citizen (or indeed the animals themselves). However, recent years have seen numerous projects seeking to use aspects of rewilding to help nature claw back some of the urban environment.
The concept of rewilding emerged in the early ’90s, and has since led to the reintroduction of gray wolves to Yellowstone National Park and wood bison to the boreal forests of Alaska. The original idea, according to conservation organization The Rewilding Institute, was to reintroduce “apex predators and highly interactive species” to large wilderness areas to restore natural ecosystem balances. The benefits of reintroducing these keystone species include stabilizing populations of other species and reducing overgrazing of native vegetation.
But of course our cities were once wilderness too.
In the U.K., conservation charity Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust is hoping to make Nottingham the country’s first “rewilded city,” starting by transforming what was a massive concrete shopping mall built in the 1960s, Broadmarsh, into a haven for wildlife.
“There’s a lot of talk about sustainable cities—clean energy, carbon reduction, sustainable transport,” says Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust’s Broadmarsh campaign leader Erin McDaid, “but the missing link in these plans is green space itself. To have proper green recovery you have to have restoration of the natural environment.”
The Champs-Élysées committee has been campaigning for a major redesign of the avenue and its surroundings since 2018.
“The legendary avenue has lost its splendour during the last 30 years. It has been progressively abandoned by Parisians and has been hit by several successive crises: the gilets jaunes, strikes, health and economic,” the committee said in a statement welcoming Hidalgo’s announcement.
“It’s often called the world’s most beautiful avenue, but those of us who work here every day are not at all sure about that,” Jean-Noël Reinhardt, the committee president said in 2019.
“The Champs-Élysées has more and more visitors and big-name businesses battle to be on it, but to French people it’s looking worn out.”
The committee held a public consultation over what should be done with the avenue. The plans include reducing space for vehicles by half, turning roads into pedestrian and green areas, and creating tunnels of trees to improve air quality.
Read the article by Kim Willsher at The Guardian:
As a consequence of the pandemic, radical alterations in lifestyle have affected the lives of people all around the globe. This planetary “time-out” is providing the world with both a need and desire to change how we will move into the future. Consider all the faults of the current worldview that are now coming into focus: religious and racial strife, economic disasters, global health crises, environmental pollution, and world hunger to name a few. Yes, it’s bad out there, and yet, it is also good.
How can a failure of civilization be a GOOD sign? Without it, we would not be able to evolve. We cannot build a sustainable future on the cultural, political, and economic foundation of today’s civilization. Humanity has reached the end of its voracious caterpillar phase and is now undergoing a metamorphosis to evolve into the light-touch offered by the butterfly phase. We are all active participants in the evolutionary metamorphosis the Earth is now experiencing. Each of you is a Cultural Creative engaged in creating a civilization that we not only survive in, but one we all can thrive in!
Why would we want to serve life? Unlike self-preservation, that desire can only come from love.
Let let us consider one more dimension of extinction. Above I posed a scenario in which nature dies while humanity survives. To even state this, though, implies the separability of humanity and nature. In fact, we are inseparable; we are nature’s expression. Therefore, we cannot actually be “just fine” when the rest of life is dying. It is not necessarily that we cannot survive as the rest die. It is that with each extinction, with every ecosystem and place and species that passes, something of ourselves dies as well. With the shriveling of our relations, we become less whole. We might continue to progress in GDP, in miles traveled, in years lived, in floor space and AC units per capita, in educational attainment, in total consumption, in terabytes, petabytes, and exabytes, yet these endlessly swelling quantities will only mask and distract from a ravening spiritual hunger for all the things they have displaced: connection and belonging, a familiar birdsong that is a little different each time, the smell of spring, the swelling of the buds, the taste of a sun-drenched raspberry, the grandfathers telling stories of a place that the children know well too. With each step into an isolation chamber of our own making, so sharpens our suffering. We see already the symptoms of extinction in ourselves, in rising rates of depression, anxiety, suicide, addiction, self-harm, domestic violence, and other forms of misery that no amount of material wealth can assuage.
In other words, the depletion of life on earth accompanies a depletion of our souls. As we destroy beings, we destroy our own beingness. No longer enmeshed in a web of intimate, mutual relationships, no longer participating in life around us, surrounded by contained, dead things, we become less alive ourselves. We become zombies, wondering why we feel so dead inside. This is the ultimate source of the protests. We yearn to recover life. We want to overturn the Age of Separation.
Read the whole article by Charles Eisenstein in https://charleseisenstein.org.
After watching this short video from Amazing Plants, you have to wonder – do plants feel pain?
If you want more information about plants you can watch the documentary – The Secret Life of Plants based on the book with the same title. Even on the lower levels of life, there is a profound consciousness or awareness that bonds all things together. Published in 1973, The Secret Life of Plants was written by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird. http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/the-secret-life-of-plants/
Al Gore got stuck on a scissor lift. Studio execs fell asleep at a screening. And everybody hated the title. The amazing true story of the most improbable — and important — film of our time.
A decade ago, climate change was a huge problem with a small audience. Unless you were among a handful of brave policymakers, concerned scientists, or loyal Grist readers, it’s fair to say the threat of a rapidly warming world took a back seat to High School Musical, MySpace, and whether or not Pluto was a planet (yes, those were all a thing in 2006).
Then, An Inconvenient Truth happened.
Somehow, a film starring a failed presidential candidate and his traveling slideshow triggered a seismic shift in public understanding of climate change. It won Oscars and helped earn Al Gore a share of the Nobel Peace Prize. It injected the issue into policy debates and dinner-table conversations alike.
Did any of this actually “save the world?” OK, you got us. Ten years after the movie’s release, climate change is still a growing threat and a polarizing issue, with record-breaking heat unable to stop skeptics from tossing snowballs on the Senate floor. But we’re also seeing corporate, political, and societal mobilization against the crisis on a scale that would have been hard to imagine 10 years ago, and there’s no question the film played a big part in getting us there…
Interviews by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong, Amelia Urry, Eve Andrews, and Melissa Cronin.