As human populations grew exponentially over the last century, so did the destruction and degradation of our natural environments and ecosystems. The gargantuan task of striking a balance between rapid urbanization and environmental extermination has constantly provoked global debates on this phenomenon’s factors and perpetrators–where victims endlessly point fingers at the culprits. However, who is really to blame for the current state we find our planet in? Do we really know who suffers the most from all that is happening? What can we do and undo?
ACIIID’s recent Instagram post on What is Rewilding? recognizes the need for a renewed sense of conservation on the environment as we echoed the pioneering directions set by Geraldine Wharry and her Trend Atelier Community.
Noteworthy efforts have been made by various organizations from around the world. Mostly consisting of individuals whose life passion is focused on environmental protection causes, such groups have pioneered and pushed for more systematic and serious plans of action guided by developed frameworks done with the help of local communities. Truly inspiring, we look up to several notable initiatives primarily aimed at promoting and popularizing consciousness among country cultures on the dire need to revive our natural habitats–kingdoms and ecological systems which we have shamelessly ignored and desecrated for selfish motives.
Rewilding Europe is one such group whose primary story is about ‘Making Europe Wild Again’. Armed with a very clear mission, their main aim is to create large, rewilded landscapes in 10 key locations across Europe–as their vision recognizes ‘wild nature as a fundamental part of Europe’s heritage’ as much as they see it as ‘an essential element in a modern, prosperous, and healthy society’.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature or IUCN is a global network consisting of at least 1,400 member organizations and more than 18,000 experts who are active in around 160 countries making it an authority in the safeguarding of our natural environments. With over 70 years in action, IUCN envisions ‘a just world that values and conserves nature’ and sets out to ‘influence, encourage, and assist societies’ towards a common goal of conserving the diversity and integrity of nature. As one of the programs under their Commission on Ecosystem Management, the Rewilding Thematic Group was created to ‘synthesize and streamline the theory and practice of rewilding at an international level, from all perspectives, and across all regions. Their rewilding methodology is developed within other ecosystem management frameworks touching on the following concepts:
- Cultural Practices
- Nature-Based Solutions
- Ecosystem-Based Adaptation
- Ecosystem Governance
- Ecosystem Resilience
- Protected Areas Management
Guided by a science-based, community-focused approach, the RTG is hinged on pursuing strategies and solutions that are primarily nature-led and self-sustaining while minimizing human intervention.
Inspired by these organizations’ undertakings, we see the ripple effects in the form of developments that exemplify and emulate this shared concern for nature. Set amidst the Ecuadorian rainforest, Mashpi Lodge was developed by former Quito town mayor turned entrepreneur Roque Sevilla who is an environmentalist by heart. Armed with enough money and a burning life mission, Sevilla painstakingly set up and operated his luxury rainforest resort lodge with the invaluable support of the Mashpi local community–putting their culture and traditions at the very core of this project. Another breathtaking example is the Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp in Uganda which takes pride in providing a unique experience to travellers seeking close encounters with endangered gorillas living in the impenetrable Bwindi Forest.
While it may be perceived as too luxuriously exclusive, these rare opportunities to experience floral and faunal wildlife highlights our primeval instincts to constantly reconnect with nature–its ground cover, the tree canopies, the mystical bodies of waters, its wildlife. This need to absorb multi-sensorial impulses from nature rejuvenates us both physically and mentally. Quite obviously, we are the direct beneficiaries of everything we find in nature. More than just rewarding the individual with unforgettable experiences, the long term benefits of sustainable developments–and the act of reforestation as its key driver–should continue to propel us to protect the natural kingdoms. US-based organization Green Forests Work outlines some Reforestation benefits that include:
- Improved Water Quality
- Carbon Sequestration
- Wildlife Habitat
- Increased Biodiversity
- Employment Opportunities
- Education and Outreach
Ultimately, every human being has the responsibility to protect and nurture our natural heritage. Though much damage has been done, there is still promise and hope for us to correct our ways. What we do today to restore what we have destroyed in the past is our legacy for the generations to come. Allow us to ask you: what have you done lately to protect our environment?