On 20th March, 2022, the Spring Equinox, I began research for my Ph.D. dissertation Toward a Truly Restorative Ecology: Rewilding landbase and self through co-operative research with more-than-human beings. During a year of rewilding, spanning from Spring 2022 – Spring 2023, I will eschew all consumer products and only consume nourishment grown in cooperation with the landbase where I live and the immediate ecoregion, defined as the French Broad River (a.k.a. “Tah-kee-os-tee”) watershed. At the same time, I will work cooperatively with the colonized and degraded land community where I live to rewild itself toward ecological health.

Why Do This?

Why do this? The burgeoning global environmental cataclysm, known as the “Anthropocene,” threatens all life on Earth, including human life, with extinction (Gee, 2021; Kolbert, 2014). In response to this impending doom, the United Nations General Assembly has declared the decade spanning from 2021 – 2030 as “The Decade on Ecosystem Restoration” (Cross, Nevill, Dixon, & Aronson, 2019; UN, 2019), seeking to restore globally degraded habitats in order to “provide the goods and services that people value” (MARN, 2018, p. 1). The problem with this objective is that it reflects the human exceptionalism and anthropocentrism that has fomented the Anthropocene in the first place. As long as humans view themselves as apart from and superior to an enlivened, sentient world, which Western humans treat exclusively as goods and services to satisfy their wants and needs, global ecocide will continue.


For more than 30 years as a professional environmental scientist, I have used the prescribed tools and rules passed down to us from Socrates, Bacon, Newton, and Descartes to attempt to reverse the trajectory of human ecological destructiveness, all the while bearing witness to the agony of incremental ecological destruction. In my opinion, the horrors of the Anthropocene will not relent until humans reclaim their wild belongingness and begin to re-establish relationships within the more-than-human world, based on respect and reciprocity. Only then can true restoration begin.

Looking Ahead

By undertaking a year of rewilding, I want to examine radical alternative restoration methods in order to challenge the orthodoxy espoused by the UN’s declaration and explore a case study in restoring a land community and myself to ecological flourishing.

All humans and more-than-humans are welcome to join me in this adventure. Check in at the “About” page. Tell us about yourself and your relationships with the more-than-human world. Feel free to submit stories, artwork, poems, resources, and whatever else sparks your inspiration. My hope is that this website will serve as a meeting place for a growing community as we co-learn with each other and the more-than-human world and work together to restore ourselves and our beloved Earth home.


Cross, A. T., Nevill, P. G., Dixon, K. W., & Aronson, J. (2019). Time for a paradigm shift toward a restorative culture. Restoration Ecology, 27(5), 924-928.

Gee, H. (2021, November 30). Humans are Doomed to Go Extinct: Habitat degradation, low genetic variation and declining fertility are setting Homo sapiens up for collapse. Scientific American.

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Wasps, Ticks, and Lessons on Balance from Land

During the summer, I stumbled into a Yellow Jacket Vespula maculifrons nest. I was already aware of two other nests, which, tucked out of the way, were easily avoided. But this one, perched along the border of an Apple permaculture guild, loomed threateningly, with its inauspicious and well-trafficked location. As I nursed my angry welts, I worried about Goober the Dog entangling with them. I struggled with the rewilding rules, devised with more-than-human co-researchers, to abide all beings who contribute to the community, despite my western human discomforts.

Six Months of Rewilding – Beauty, desire, and their impoverished alternatives

I see a Bee. She moves gracefully from Flower to Flower. She is busy, but her affect lacks the frenetic haste that characterizes harried human schedules. Her acute ultraviolet-sensing vision allows her to see vibrant patterns directing her to the object of her desire. As she gently probes the Flowers with her proboscis, Flower and Bee engage in an intimate relationship, forged through millennia of deep time where each co-creates and enhances the existence of the other. As the Bee completes her embrace with one Flower and flies off to the next, she is shrouded in pollen, thereby directly participating in the sexual liaisons of beings that symbolize romantic love and affection.

Five Months of Becoming Wild – Summertime Changes in Self and Land

This past week marked five months of rewilding. Almost half the year has slipped into the deep time of history at timescales raging from the flap of a Hummingbird’s wings to the lethargic flow of a sludgy River. Generally, these past five months seem fleeting, not long enough to do everything I think I should be doing and achieving. Linear time within the confines of one year seems too short now to allow for a thorough transformation of self and Land.

100 Days – Rewilding Land and Self

Tuesday marked 100 days of rewilding. For the past six weeks or so, writing duties nagged at the back of my mind – I should be writing a blog post and working on dissertation research – but the draw of the outdoors proved irresistible. As the world started to awaken and burst forth at Beltane with the exuberance of late spring, a primal urge to dig in dirt, plant seeds, and generally spend most waking hours outside overtook all my best scholarly intentions. I wonder if my rewilding psyche, withdrawing from an unhealthy addiction to electronic stimulus and other continuous distractions, now yearns to align more naturally with seasonal cycles. The Birds and Squirrels reported that late spring and early summer demand time for doing. Spending each day within the flesh of my body’s physicality, as I worked with more-than-human co-researchers to rewild the Land, felt like an imperative, not to be ignored. So, I went with it. As the wheel of the year turns again, and we enter the long, warm days past the Summer Solstice, the heat of midday once again drives me indoors. The computer and the research now seem approachable. The weeds, unlike the planting of seeds, can wait. Urgency fades, and I find myself moving again towards writing. Where to begin?

Week 7 – Staying with the trouble of ecological “discomforts”

As Lawn morphs into Meadow (probably much to my neighbors’ chagrin), Wild Ones move into this suburban Asheville Land. Rewilding seems to be working from an ecological standpoint, and the fecundity of late spring ushers in a flurry of Animal activities amongst the Wildflowers, Grasses, Clover, and more than a few invasive species. As I wander, admiring the diverse varieties of pollinating Bees and Butterflies, I disturb a nest of tiny Eastern Cottontail Bunnies Sylvilagus floridanus. I quickly back away, fearing that Goober, my Canine friend (who is an unfortunately avid hunter of little furry beings), might notice my discovery. Later, I observe their mother enjoying the Lettuces, Cabbages, and Kale in the raised garden beds.

Week 6 – The world is not broken

The wheel of the year turned this week. To the ancient Celts, May 1st or Beltane (which translates as “bright fire”) was a celebration of the beginning of summer. The fires of Beltane symbolize and rejoice in Earth’s Northern Hemisphere’s shift toward the Sun and the promise of the abundance of Earth’s fecundity. Here in the mountains, the drizzly, unpredictable days of early spring have passed into the certainty of above-freezing temperatures.

Week 5 – Trees and Toilet Paper

The most common question I get regarding the year of rewilding lifestyle pertains to toilet paper (or lack thereof in my case). At the risk of generalizing, I call attention to the frantic hoarding of toilet paper at the beginning of the pandemic as an indicator that the typical Westerner cannot conceive of life without this commodity. The US is the largest consumer of toilet paper in the world, with the average US American consuming three rolls per week (Dobush, 2019). Multiplied by the 2020 US population (329.5 million), this translates to the consumption of 51.4 billion rolls of toilet paper in the US alone every year. With each person consuming 12,293 rolls across an average lifetime (78.8 years).

One Month of Rewilding – A typical day in the life

Today marks the completion of an entire month of rewilding. Many people have asked me questions about the practical aspects of this project, such as: What do you eat? What do you actually do every day? What about toilet paper? etc. So, I have decided to take a break from philosophizing for this post and outline a typical day in my progressively rewilding life.

Reflections on Week Three – Lessons from “Native Science” and Black Locust

In the specter of global ecological cataclysm, Bill Plotkin (2013) implores humans to remember our true, ecological natures. Although Western philosophical thought attempts to firmly establish humans as exceptional among and separate from the wild world, “we, too, are expressions of nature’s qualities, patterns, and motifs…” (p. 2).

Time and Other Constructions – Reflections on Week Two

The relationships between spatial and temporal dimensions clarify when one ditches the automobile in exchange for feet and a bicycle.

© 2022 Year of Rewilding