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All you ever wanted to know about rewilding with Rebecca Wrigley from Rewilding Britain
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Rebecca Wrigley

August 26, 2021

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show notes

  • What is Rewilding?
  • What does biodiversity actually mean?
  • What is biodiversity resilience?
  • Trophic cascades and keystone species, all the jargon explained
  • The removal of predators in Britain and whether we will reintegrate them
  • How global warming impacts the planet
  • What economic opportunities rewilding could bring
  • The mental benefits of spending time outdoors and why we need to use that to effect change
  • What's the story with government on rewilding?
  • What resources to use to educate on rewilding and ecology
  • Book: Rebirding: Rewilding Britain - Benedict Macdonald
  • Book: Wilding: The Return of Nature to a British Farm - Isabella Tree
  • Rewilding criticism
  • Book: The Shepherd's Life - James Rebanks
  • Agricultural transformation
  • How people can support rewilding
  • Garden rewilding
  • Newsletter sign up

FULL transcription

Rebecca Wrigley
I think rewilding is challenging to many people, and particularly those that live on and work the land because it's a challenge to the way things are done. I mean, I think there are far more people now including many people that work the land farmers and foresters, who are there's much common ground that hasn't been discussed. There's a tendency to sort of polarize and put rewilding on one side and farmers and land managers on the other. What we're discovering now is that there's much more common ground and it isn't as black and white as I think some people like to paint it.

George B
Hey, it's George, and welcome to the call to adventure podcast. We are on a mission to help create happier people and a healthier planet. So let's get after it.

George B
Hello, hello, and welcome to another episode of the call to adventure podcast with me the founder of call to adventure, George Beesley, as many of you know, our mission here is to help create happier people and a healthier planet through adventure and community. adventure and environmentalism go hand in hand. And one of our core beliefs is that we protect what we love. So our aim is to help you guys fall in love with the outdoors. So you get to enjoy all the great things that come with that, but also, so we do a better job of protecting nature along the way. As a planet, we face some truly epic challenges from global warming to biodiversity loss, chemical pollution to soil degradation, and rewilding is seen by many as one part of the solution to many of these challenges. The movement is really gathered steam lately, and today we're chatting with Rebecca Wrigley, who's head of rewilding Britain. rewilding, Britain aims to tackle the climate emergency extinction crisis, reconnect people with the natural world and help communities thrive. So without further ado, Rebecca, thanks for taking the time. It's my pleasure. I think before we dig into it, let's just kick off with what is rewilding, I'm sure you've been asked this question a bazillion times where I still think it's useful just to frame it for the listeners.

Rebecca Wrigley

Well for us, rewilding is the large scale restoration of ecosystems. And that's largely focused on reinstating natural processes. So that includes certain ecosystems are in their natural form, naturally functioning ecosystems, dynamic and complex web of life, really. And it's that complexity that gives them the biodiversity but also the resilience. So those natural processes include things like free flowing rivers, and natural balance between herbivores and carnivores say a fully functioning sort of food web trophic cascades, which is the way in which different species interact from carnivores, to predators to create that kind of web and complexity. So we need to reinstate a lot of those processes because they're missing a lot of a lot of our ecosystems which are incredibly simplified. So that can involve as I said, reinstating rivers or blocking up drainage channels, or Marlins and peatlands, or reintroducing missing species to sort of kickstart those natural processes and naturally functioning ecosystems. But for us, rewilding is also about people. Because people are part of nature. We're not apart from it. And it's the balance between people and nature that is as important. So we think rewilding is about connecting communities and placing communities centrally in decision making about human health and well being but also about livelihood. So we feel that rewilding can be about ecological and economic change and provides opportunities for both.

George B

You mentioned that it's a bit about biodiversity there. So biodiversity is a term that we hear a lot, can you just define what's meant by that? And then we'll go into kind of why it's important then dig into the food web after that. So what is biodiversity? Well,

Rebecca Wrigley

I mean, if you think of the many of the places that we see on kind of David Attenborough Living Planet type programs, most ecosystems are real complex mix of species and plants and animals and fungi and bacteria and you know, across the whole of the living world, and most healthy functioning ecosystems have intricate connections between all of those species that are constantly sort of responding to change in disturbance and creating these really dynamic mosaics of life, really. So that's what bio diversity is, and why naturally functioning ecosystems are much more bio diverse than say, Well, actually, a lot of the ecosystems we have in Britain, which are much more simplified have fewer species are predominated by just one or two often compared with, say, a rainforest in Brazil, but you know, we also should have our own rain forests in Britain. So we have made many wonderful native habitats that just aren't a lot of them around still.

George B

So biodiversity is that interplay between lots of different types of species and genetic diversity. And you mentioned it before resilient. So the kind of why is it important? Why does it matter? And how does it help having lots of different variety within an ecosystem,

Rebecca Wrigley

one of the things I would recommend to listeners is to watch a documentary called the Serengeti rules, because it's a wonderful explanation of what trophic cascades are, and why they're so important to the health of our biodiversity and of our habitats. And it explains why there are certain species like keystone species that are critical. And if you take those keystone species out, it's almost like the whole system collapses and downgrades as they describe it. And our understanding of that is only relatively recent. And what is necessary to, as it were, upgrade our ecosystems into much more bio diverse places, is to put back in those keystone species to help kickstart that process and build that complexity once more. And and that's what brings the resilience because complexity has low, it's like we've got loads of different niches that as things change, and disturbances happen, they can respond by changing also, they're not dependent on one species that might be sort of wiped out by a heating climate, for instance, or by disease or by invasive species. So that's how that complexity brings resilience.

George B

I'm sure a lot of listeners who stopped biology at GCSE they kind of remember these terms. So trophic cascade and keystone species. Yeah, please go for it.

Rebecca Wrigley

Well, the idea of trophic cascades and the Serengeti rules, kind of tells that story through the four or five key scientists that actually discovered and describes trophic cascades. And it's the sense that it's not, you don't have the apex predator predators at the top and the kind of plants at the bottom and that it's a sequential pyramid, almost, it's much more interconnected and dynamic. And it isn't necessarily just the predators at the top, and there's no kind of almost climax vegetation. As as a lot of people think there are, it should be a much more dynamic process with disturbances and you know, potentially fires or floods that shift things. And then new species can can move in. And it's constantly changing and evolving. And the keystone species. I mean, as the name suggests, it's a bit like an arch in a church. I don't know if you know much about architecture. But the way an arch works is it's completely dependent on the Keystone in the middle. And if you take that Keystone out, the whole strength of the structure collapses. It's the same with the ecology, if you take those keystone species out, and they may be a predator, but often they're not. So for example, in sea otters, which obviously is a predator on the coast, western coast of America, and how when the population of sea otters collapse, the whole ecosystem collapse, because what sea otters do is they eat sea urchins. And what ch ins do is they eat sea kelp. And so if the otters disappear, the CH and population expands, eats all Cal from the kelp provides the structure into which all the other animals find shelter. And so it's all interconnected and interrelated in a incredibly dynamic way.

George B

And so rewilding can help with that. And is that because it's restoring that complex natural balance. So in the UK, for example, where we've removed wolves, they used to eat lots of deer, and keep the and, and foxes and keep those species at a kind of natural equilibrium. But when you remove those, then you end up having no natural predators, and then those populations swell, and then they end up grazing a lot more than they would do otherwise. And that has all sorts of knock on impacts in terms of resilience to flooding. And it's the it's the knock on effect of removing one part of the very intricate and interconnected ecosystem.

Rebecca Wrigley

Absolutely. Wolves are the ones that often cited. But there are many other species that we're missing from kind of tree for frogs to species of funghi to our own native rain forests, which, you know, still existed in small pockets, but only a minimal part of what their range should be. So yeah, I mean, wolves as an example, but there are many others like pine Martens, for instance, or wild cats, which were once common across England and Wales, for example, and not just in sort of remnants of Scotland. So all these species that we once had in in huge numbers,

George B

there's been a lot of talk and I think like you just kind of mentioned there, there's a lot of focus on the kind of bigger predators and almost sexier species like the Lynx and the Wolf, how is that going in terms of general acceptance and where's the general feeling and Zeitgeist Bringing back bigger predators like that.

Rebecca Wrigley

What's vital and you know, as I described at the beginning is communities need to be involved in this process of rewilding. And in Britain that probably with species like wolves quite a long way off, but there are other species like pine Martins being reintroduced beaver being reintroduced quite successfully. And with a lot of public support. I mean, there are places in Europe, for instance, species are coming back, there's a wildlife come back just happening naturally, you know, there are human predator conflicts to an extent, but there's also a lot of acceptance of that. So it's a very mixed picture. But for us, again, this has to be a sort of locally led process that is accepted by communities. Otherwise, it's not just going to be contested, but it's also not going to be successful because because that community involvement both in in the reintroduction process, but also in the potential benefits of that can bring is is fundamental.

George B

Most people agree that human action is accelerating climate change and global warming. But why does that matter for the planet?

Rebecca Wrigley

There's two things there's the ecological emergency, an extinction crisis, and then there's the climate emergency and they're completely interlinked. why it matters is that the natural world is our life support system as it were, and if we damage it beyond repair, that will damage our ability to exist beyond repair. So there's two significant ways in which rewilding can help both mitigate the climate heating that is happening and also help us to adapt, in addition to helping reverse the extinction crisis. So the first one is that we know that naturally functioning ecosystems, healthy ecosystems sequester more carbon, and there's been a lot of emphasis on tree planting and the carbon that that can, can draw down from the atmosphere. I mean, what we we would like to see is that happen on a massive scale, but largely through natural regeneration, because funnily enough, trees are quite good at planting themselves, but in a sort of mixture, or a mosaic of different habitats that might be woodland intermixed with wood pasture, intermixed with peatlands, so that we can draw down as much carbon as possible from the atmosphere as quickly as possible. But also, we now know that the in terms of the climate heating that it's already built in, I mean, at the moment of sort of climate zones in which animals and species can live, are moving at least five kilometers a year moving north, which obviously in you know, in one year, that's five kilometers, but in 10 years, that's 50 kilometers. And if you think, again, what an impact that will have on species ability to survive is quite significant. Because if they stay at the same place, it might be that it becomes too hot or too dry, or the conditions just aren't there for them to thrive. So what species will need to do is, is move and adapt to that change. And we know that the thing that will support them to do that is being able to disperse into habitat that they can move into it. So it's the connectivity and quality of that habitat, that's going to make the biggest difference. And if we create and help rewild, much larger areas of Britain, we will help to provide almost corridors, what we're calling climate corridors, into which those species can can move and adapt as the climate heat. So we would like to see at least 30% of Britain in a process of rewilding and nature's recovery by 2030, in response to that climate and ecological crisis, and of which that sounds like a huge task. But of that, we'd like to see 5% what we're calling kind of call rewilding areas where we leave nature to with minimal human intervention. And probably 25% of that, again, a kind of rich mosaic of land and marine uses that could and can be productive uses, but which enhanced nature. And I think we get to start to be able to demonstrate that, again, that could work ecologically but could provide alternative livelihoods economic thing,

George B

there's obviously the impact that this will have on rural communities and setting aside larger areas. And one important point is that it's not just saying that we're going to use loads of farmland and all of a sudden not do anything with it. There's lots of other land like golf courses and lots of land that's not actually used in food production, but instead is just kind of not being used to its full capacity. And especially on the as we've talked about, on the eve of a climate crisis, it's far more important to protect the future of humanity than have a few more places to play golf. So let's dig into the effect on jobs and what kind of economic opportunities rewilding could bring. There's also

Rebecca Wrigley

grab smalls, for instance, in Britain, of which we've got 1.4 million Hector's and if we consider that the UK is 24 million hectares, that's quite a significant percentage. Then if you look at deer stalking estates, that's 1.8 million Hector's So between the two of them that's 3.2. So that's over exact math in my head, but there's about 15% of Britain is already in a land use that produces minimal amounts of food then you add on the golf courses and areas of really marginal agricultural productivity. We start to see that we can we can start to rewild, large areas of land without impact on availability of food. So that's really more of a decision. You know, it's taking standing back and saying, Okay, what are we asking for the land and sea for both our future but for also for for the climate and for for nature? And starting to address that question. And we see that rewilding needs to be a sort of mainstream part of the answer to that question.

George B

And then I suppose the fourth part is the the aspect of reconnecting people with nature and a more wild countryside right now, we don't really have any wilderness left in the UK are very small parts. And I think we're all now pretty much beginning to agree that there is huge mental and physical benefits of spending time outdoors, but especially in wild places. So how do you think about the benefits that rewelded could bring that I think

Rebecca Wrigley

were really interesting country because we are one of the most nature loving countries on Earth, the combined membership of the National Trust. RSPB wildlife trusts, woodland trust, are huge in their millions, many millions. And we watch programs by David Attenborough or donation programs, again, in our in our many millions, but we're also one of the most nature depleted countries on Earth. A recent study showed that with I think, 189,218 countries in terms of biodiversity intactness, which is pretty depressing statistic and kind of doesn't fit with our nature loving psyche, I think. And there's something there's a disconnect between our love of nature and looking out the window and going out into the countryside in Britain and not recognizing that it is nature depleted. In most parts of Europe, for instance, the uplands are still the sort of last vestiges of wild nature and of forests and Wilder places whereas you look at our uplands and they are heavily grazed and the regeneration of ecosystems is controlled. So you don't see a lot of naturally functioning or or intact ecosystems in our uplands. They're, in effect bear ecological deserts. So I think it's about shifting mindset about what wild looks like in Britain and then ensuring that people have increased access to that. So what we'd like to see is sort of rewilding, that goes from people's doorsteps. So you can do rewilding on a small scale, maybe neighborhood rewilding schemes where people come together and do small actions in the garden. And that starts to combine into bigger actions, maybe leading into influencing councils and getting larger areas of our parks realities, and then seeing where those can connect into corridors, like river corridors, or even canal systems out into the countryside so that people can feel that connection from their doorstep, right into those more remote areas. And we have a long tradition of hiking and outside pursuits in in Britain, but it'd be great for everyone to be able to access a bit of wild nature.

George B

Absolutely. I mean, I've long been a believer in the benefits the outdoors, not all the kind of mental benefits that go along with that as well that the de stressing and connecting to something bigger than yourself and I'm based up in Shropshire, and we have lots of nice hills around and Snowdonia is the kind of local playground but I've never really lived actually in the proper countryside. Until now we're I'm living in Sweden, and I live right on the edge of a forest next to the sea. And I've got to say my mental health is just so much better here. Not that it's something that I've struggled with just like kind of thinking about my baseline, being able to go for a walk in much more wildwoods than I'd seen at home within 30 steps of the front door has just had a huge effect. And it's something so small, just going for a walk for half an hour before work and seeing all the different types of species and trees. And it's it really made it real for me thinking about the impact that that could have on so many people around the UK if we weren't really worried to embrace this idea at home and kind of do that citizen rewilding and then group things together. As you mentioned there, I think it's a really exciting prospect.

Rebecca Wrigley

Absolutely. And I think what the whole world has been going through in the last eight months with COVID-19 has really accentuated that. I think it's been more and more important with for people's mental health to connect with nature. And I think people are realizing more and more that we have to reset our relationship with nature for many reasons. So I think it's there's far more consciousness, I think now. And also, there's been some interesting statistics about 90%. I can't remember exactly the stats, but a huge percentage of people don't want to go back to the way things were before. And so there's an opportunity to again to step back and ask ourselves, what do we want the future to look like? What do we need from the London seas and how can we reset that relationship we have with nature,

George B

I think on that point, whilst we won't get into the kind of politics of it in the truest sense think Brexit has brought About an opportunity for Britain to really do something. And I think there's been noises made in government for a bill that was initially drafted a year and a half ago or something, but it now it's had some revisions to it. And I believe that it may give us the freedom to now that we're not in the cap, it will give us the opportunity to pay farmers and landowners to use land for more than there's no longer the incentive just to have the largest farm possible to receive the biggest subsidies. But instead to do what's good on a kind of holistic basis of us keeping some land says that it's not to be farmed not to be used and can be rewilding. So what's the story in the government? And what can we expect to come?

Rebecca Wrigley

We agree that there are many things that Brexit might bring, but in this case, it's a potential opportunity. So the replacement for the Common Agricultural Policy is called the that is proposed is called the environmental land management scheme. And it proposes to reward landowners by paying public payments for public goods, public goods, meaning the wider benefits that you just mentioned. So it's not just about food production, it's about all the other things that the environment and nature provides for us, like clean air, clean water, carbon sequestration, flood mitigation, pollinators, that on which our agriculture depends, for example, that's just a name, name a few. So that is an opportunity for landowners to be supported to use their land in a different way. And we, in the last month or so established a rewilding network for all those landowners who have been contacting us and saying, you know, we want to reweld our land or some of our land, how do we do that. So people are looking for practical advice. And so this network was set up to support those people and connect them. And we've got a, you know, a collaborative learning platform, so they can learn from each other as much as learn from us. So we know that there's an upswell of interest. And for multiple different reasons, some some landowners are coming to us, because they're seeing it as an opportunity for economic diversification. Some because they simply want to reward their land for more its intrinsic benefits. But the proposed environmental management scheme could help support that. So we're kind of cautiously optimistic about that. I mean, it will also it will need to be followed up with strong regulatory framework that is in enforced in, for example, with our rivers at the moment, there is strong regulatory framework through the EU water Framework Directive, but it's not being followed up or enforced. And so now, I think none of our rivers are in good ecological condition, which is, again, is a sort of desperate statistic, to think that all of our rivers are in bad ecological condition, even though there is a strong regulatory framework. So they're it's a good start. And it's an opportunity. And in his 10 point plan that was introduced a couple of weeks ago, Boris Johnson, one of those points was to start pilot rewilding projects. So it's now becoming far more complex discourse. We just need to turn it into action.

George B

Yeah. Well, that's that's really good to hear. And yeah, I think we all need to do our bit to ensure that that goes as far as it should do. You mentioned before that you've launched that platform where people can learn a bit more about the the kind of practicalities of rewilding, what are the high level things that people should keep in mind if they're thinking they either already own land? Or they're thinking about potentially buying it? What should they keep in mind for rewilding? Is it as simple as just buying a piece of land and not do anything to it?

Rebecca Wrigley

Not necessarily. It depends what the condition of that land is already. But I suppose fundamentally, again, it's a mindset shift of thinking, How do I reinstate those natural processes so that nature can start to take care of itself, which is very different from potentially different from other forms of conservation, which often focus on individual species and how habitats can be managed to ensure that those species thrive. So you're sort of letting go a bit but you may need to kick start that process. So for example, with woodland expansion, up until now that's it's almost like woodland expansion has been synonymous with tree planting, people see that as the way to expand woodland and haven't just have not even noticed the way that Woodlands just naturally expand themselves in most situations. But there are circumstances where that can't happen. And that might be where a piece of land is so far from a seed source that needs a bit of a helping hand or that it might have a fixed water vegetation, like you know, a lot of aeroplanes for instance, that is so thick that the seeds can't get in to regenerate. So you might have to kind of mess things up a bit to kind of kickstart those processes. So it isn't simply about standing back and letting things happen. There are interventions that you can use, particularly initially just to kickstart that process, including reintroducing species that might be missing either wild native species or what they call proxy species. So for instance, you can't at the moment reintroduce wild boar, who are important species, particularly in that kind of dynamic process of messing things up once in a while. So in circumstances like initiatives like the net estate, they have been using time with pigs, for instance, as a proxy for the role that those those wild boar should be playing.

George B

And other than the platform, what are some good resources that people can use to educate themselves on rewilding, but also ecology more generally?

Rebecca Wrigley

Well, without giving too much of a plug to our new website, we have just launched a new website. And one of the aims of that was to address the sort of gap in and lack of information that there is out there about what rewilding is and how you can do it at different scales so and that will, will build on that more and more over the coming months and years, because we're seeing, we've seen that there isn't enough information, and particularly that sort of practical information about what to do. So there's lots of materials that we're putting out there. There's this rewilding network, which is about putting out materials but also connecting people up to the knowledge and expertise that they need and starting to generate new knowledge and expertise, because it's quite new to everyone This, this approach to the way that we manage the land and sea. So those are two things that we're trying to help with in addressing that kind of gap of information.

George B

The new website looks great, by the way, really good design, giant pictures, loads of great stuff on there. So yeah, I recommend people go and dig in. I also just finished a really great book, if people are looking for something just kind of from the scientific perspective of ecology more generally. And there was one book and it's just called ecology. I just put that in on Amazon. I'll put the link in the show notes. But that was great. That was just kind of a quick run through everything and, and a bit of a revision. So if you're interested, but it's been a little while or you never really learned about all this kind of stuff. I can highly recommend that one.

Rebecca Wrigley

Now that you've so there are obviously other books like Wilding, by Isabella tree. And I know that she's coming out next year, I think, with a follow up to that, looking at more to sort of practical end elements of rewilding, and there's another great book called read birding by Ben MacDonald, that focuses more on birds within ecosystems so that they're great resources. And of course, I'm going to plug again, the Serengeti rules, which is a full length feature documentary. So there are all kinds of resources and and inspirations out there.

George B

Yeah, I'll check those out. Could it get Serengeti on tonight? I think we're we're certainly both in the same boat here. And I just think rewilding is an amazing way to take much needed action. But we don't want to just take the easy route of preaching to the choir. So so it's certainly not everybody's cup of tea. And I won't read the whole excerpt now. But I've only really heard positive stuff about rewilding, but that's mainly because of the circles that I'm in. But there was a letter in the economist the other day, and I'll just read you a little bit of the start of it. And then we can talk about the kind of criticisms of rewilding afterwards, but this is how it goes. It says whatever natural world existed before humans is lost to us forever. This is an exercise of the hyper wealthy with a contempt for the love of people, plants and animals who've been there for millennia. It could be described as environmental colonialism, where those enlightened wealthy few civilize the locals will take the land this project requires the killing of 1000s upon 1000s of animals, namely deer, they remain a waste product in the pursuit of a natural utopia. Let us call rewilding, what it is another attempt to manage our natural environment for specifically human goals. So not everybody is as keen or as taken over by rewilding as we are. And I think there's some misconceptions within that. But can you just talk a little bit about that specifically, and then critiques more widely.

Rebecca Wrigley

I think rewilding just is challenging to many people, and particularly those that live on and work the land, because it's a challenge to the way things are done. I mean, I think there are far more people now, including many people that work the land farmers and foresters, who are I mean, there's much common ground that hasn't been discussed, there's a tendency to sort of polarize and put rerolls in on one side and farmers and land managers on the other. What we're discovering now is that there's much more common ground and it isn't as black and white as I think some people like to paint it. I think

George B

you're absolutely right. So going down the path of the challenges to landowners and farmers of rewilding. And I think that made a lot of sense that it's not as black and white, as you might think. And actually farmers and land managers are really just as all of us are worried about economic and financial futures. And they've done things in a certain way for a long time. And there's now some change that's coming along with that. Yes,

Rebecca Wrigley

there's a lot more common ground partly because there's been a lot more debate and discussion about rewilding and also high nature value farming and Forestry. Again, there's a huge amount of overlap in that and what I was saying at the beginning about looking for 30% of Britain in rewilding and the nature of recovery by 2030. A lot of that will be these uses of the land that are nature friendly or high nature value like forms of forestry, for instance, that are productive, that mimic those natural processes or use those natural processes to their advantage in a way that can then also support high levels of biodiversity. And similarly with farming, I don't know if anyone recently read James treebanks. His most recent book, he wrote a shepherd's life, I think, was the first book. There's another one where he talks about, in effect, a process of restoring and rewilding parts of his land in combination with cheap production. So there is a lot of common ground and there are now a lot of initiatives community led rewilding initiatives, or where there is an element of rewilding and one really positive recent one was led by a community group called the Langham initiative, and the Langham estate is in southern Scotland, and is owned by the Duke of bucklew. And he wants to sell that land. And in Scotland, you have communities have a right to buy. So the community got together and said, We'd like to have more of a say in the future of the land around us. And so they put in a bid for that land, which was confirmed in the last month to be successful. And what they want to see is, is that a platform for restoring and rewilding the land but also community regeneration and setting up or diversifying local livelihoods. So I think the perception that it is urban elites telling people in the countryside what to do is a misconception. I think there are lots of people and communities that are that are wanting to get involved in rewilding, we are seeing lots of landowners come to us and say, we want to reweld it, it shouldn't be forced on on anyone. But those that want to diversify and change the way that they manage the land should be supported to do so.

George B

Yeah. And I think the other big misconception or the big objection often is, well, how are we going to produce enough food, but I think at the start, you really did a good job of addressing the fact that there's still a lot of land that could be rewelded, that's not currently being used productively for food production. And they're kind of two different things. The farming in productive areas can continue as is or similarly. And then there's other areas that would be far better served as areas for rewilding. And it's important to kind of frame it in the backdrop of the fact that there is a climate emergency. And it's we're not just doing this for fun, because it's nice to have different species and predators around. There's a real need that is extremely pressing for this as well. So it fits in that wider backdrop of having to do something pretty urgently to stop environmental catastrophe.

Rebecca Wrigley

Absolutely. And it's not a choice between maintaining things as they are. And rewilding things won't be able to stay whether rewilding is part of the picture or not, as they are I mean, that climate heating and that climate zones moving five kilometers a year is affecting our ecosystems, but it's also affecting our farming systems. And if it continues and intensifies, we're not going to be able to produce the food that we're currently producing, because our climate zones will have changed. So there's potentially huge impacts both on farming and ecosystems. So it's not a question of comparing, oh, let's move quite a lot of land into nature's recovery, and rewilding all it stays the same. I mean, the status quo is just no longer an option. And again, it comes back to people coming together and discussing and answering the question of what are we asking of the land and sea across the spectrum, and that includes food production and timber production, but it also includes doing whatever we can to help stabilize our climate and to reverse the massive biodiversity declines that we've seen. And again, our agriculture and our production systems also depend on those natural systems in terms of water and pollinators, flood mitigation, all of those things. So what I find inspiring about rewilding is that it can be a kind of win win situation for all and has to be a collaborative effort rather than a polarized one.

George B

So we talked a little bit about that project where the community in Scotland joined together to buy their own piece of land, which sounds amazing, and certainly something that we're looking further into as call to adventure. But other than that, how else can people support rewilding in the UK? And I guess further afield as well.

Rebecca Wrigley

I mean, whatever small piece of land that you have, you can start to reweld you know, bits of your garden even. And as I said, Get together your neighbors and started. Instead of a neighborhood watch group. You could start a neighborhood rewilding group and you can people can influence their councils, for instance, by saying, we'd like to reward some of our parks and our grass verges. So there's a lot of and over the next kind of year or so we're going to start rallying people and creating actions that people can usefully take so that we get that I mean, what we're looking for is this decentralized network of rewilding action, from people's gardens, to our national parks and to our public lands. So that actually, together we can create this sort of momentum for change that starts to achieve that 30% rewilding and nations recovery by 2030. And we feel that that is possible. Well, ambitious, but it has to allow everyone to take action and to play their part.

George B

Are there any really small quick wins for people in their gardens that they can think about, they think this sounds amazing. I want to Do my tiny bit of rewilding at my house, is there anything that they should or something they could stop doing that could help even in a in a tiny

Rebecca Wrigley

sense, just leaving patches to do their thing. however small, not knowing parts of your lawn is another big one. So there are small actions, just letting things emerge, rather than trying to just sort of make everything beautiful. As always, it's kind of almost rewilding writ large. I mean, rewilding is all about the scrappiness and accepting that sort of scruffiness and I think that can happen. Even in smaller places the garden, we're not going to ask everyone to to do that across the garden not have lovely flowers that they've sown and tended themselves. So just letting small areas go, making sure that wildlife can pass through the garden, like gaps in fences, you know. So those are some small actions that people can take.

George B

There we go a great excuse not to do the mowing, or put the fence up yet, Rebecca, thanks so much for taking the time. It's been really, really great to chat and super exciting what you guys are up to, and I'm sure people will enjoy heading over to the site and learning a bit more. So I guess heading to the website is probably one of the best ways if people want to find out a bit more about rewilding Britain. But is there anything else that they can do? Is there a newsletter sign up to

Rebecca Wrigley

Yep, on the website, and again, over the next two weeks are very mindful over the next 12 months, certainly, of providing opportunities for people to engage more and more. So if you sign up to that newsletter on the website, then you will get regular updates on how you can get involved.

George B

Amazing. Well, thank you again for taking the time. It's my pleasure. And thanks, everybody for listening. So until next time,

George B

bye bye. So that's it for this episode. I hope you enjoyed it, head over to call to adventure that's to call to adventure.uk. For show notes, and more about this episode. You will also find lots of other free content there. Things like how to guides and gear reviews, everything to get you out on your next adventure. We've also got loads of adventures for you to join us on in the UK and abroad. We've got things like climbing, hiking, mountaineering, surfing, wild swimming, ski touring, and we're adding new ones all the time, so do take a peek. Each booking helps us fund our green mission and all international trips are carbon offset. Please do rate and review the show. If you're enjoying it. It helps get more people engaged with outdoors and on board with protecting wild places. Thanks for listening. See you next time.

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