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.
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.
© 2022 Year of Rewilding