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Birds, Wildlife and Gardening

Rewilding A Nation

The Scottish Rewilding Alliance is calling on the Scottish Government to declare Scotland the world’s first Rewilding Nation. If you’re not familiar with the rewilding term, then I’ll share it with you. According to The Scottish Rewilding Alliance ‘Rewilding is a simple idea: let’s work with nature instead of against it. Rewilding helps restore biodiversity, mitigates climate change, supports rural communities, and brings wellbeing benefits. The Alliance is calling for Scotland to become a Rewilding Nation for many different reasons. But you can briefly see them below:

Biodiversity | Climate | People

Each of these topics is inextricably linked and monitoring our present and future influence on Earth determines all life on this planet. These three topics are explained further HERE.

So, what do The Scottish Rewilding Alliance mean exactly with their rewilding plans? This is what a #RewildingNation could look like!

Rewilding Nation Animation video by Scotland Big Picture and The Scottish Rewilding Alliance. Narration by Gordon Buchanan

I’ve had the opportunity to witness the benefits of rewilding at the Alladale Wilderness Reserve back in 2019, and at Knepp Wildland Project back in 2020. There is much hope in it indeed! However, many people are probably wondering how can we take this further and make the Rewilding Nation movement possible. I recently caught up with Peter Cairns, executive director at Scotland Big Picture and renowned conservation photographer through an online interview. We discussed the possibilities of rewilding, the issues that may prolong the process, and what is needed to be done by the younger generation to help achieve the goals originally set out by the brave rewilders that have a vision for a healthy planet. You can read of our discussion below on a Q&A approach:

Q: How important do you think rewilding is in general if we were to apply this work effort all across the globe?

Peter Cairns (PC): Although traditional conservation has notched up notable successes, it has failed to arrest and reverse ecological decline. Protecting individual species or isolated patches of habitat isn’t enough – we need to be much more ambitious and think holistically at a landscape-scale. Rewilding is founded upon the principles of restoration and recovery, not simply hanging on to the fragments of nature we have left.

Q: Some really rewarding rewilding work efforts have already begun in Scotland. What are the important steps for its continuity and for it to be beneficial for the future?

Peter Cairns (PC): The ecological benefits of rewilding are now well documented, but it also has to benefit people. Integrating new nature-based business models into extensive ecological recovery, will be a key component in moving rewilding forward.

Q: What does the younger generation of Scotland and beyond have to do to ensure that rewilding work efforts are taken seriously and applied properly?

Peter Cairns (PC): The impacts of global nature loss, as well as climate breakdown, will be felt by generations yet to come. I’m buoyed by the interest in rewilding across younger people and hope that they will accelerate the process. Simply having conversations around what is  possible in a nationwide programme of nature recovery, is helpful in mainstreaming a new approach to our relationship with nature.

Q: Why do you think rewilding work efforts has taken so long to be applied across our planet?

Peter Cairns (PC): For rewilding to be taken seriously as a solution, we first of all have to recognise there’s a problem. People love the beauty and drama of landscapes like the Scottish Highlands, without realising the land is ecologically depleted. We have lost so many species and with that, the contribution those species make to vibrant, healthy living systems. We are now starting to understand that our nature is denuded and damaged and that to address the dual crises of climate breakdown and global biodiversity loss, we have to roll up our sleeves and begin the journey of ecological restoration, or rewilding.

Stillness – One of my favourite photos captured during my time at the Alladale Wilderness Reserve

So, let’s see how this fantastic rewilding movement goes. Not only for Scotland but possibly to start occurring widespread across the globe. For now though, please share this post far and wide with your family, friends, and work colleagues. Also, if you live in Scotland, please do share it with your MSP.

For a great introduction to Scottish rewilding work efforts in book form, I highly recommend this book: Scotland: A Rewilding Journey. You can purchase your copy HERE

“All we require is the will. The next few decades represent final opportunity to build a stable home for ourselves and restore the rich, healthy and wonderful world that we inherited from our distant ancestors. Our future on the planet, the only place as far as we know where life of any kind exists, is at stake” – Sir David Attenborough


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