We have taken subtle steps as a society, guided by ease and modernity, to disassociate ourselves from the natural environment and create one of concrete and polyester. This means that the masses are treating the climate emergency as a problem confined to scientists, rebels, elites and worst of all — vegans.

Media coverage on the climate emergency is mixed with an overwhelmingly dire tone. The situation is dire. Photographs of extreme weather events alongside hopeless facts conjure feelings of terror and dread. I argue that it is not until we fall truly deeply madly in love with our back gardens, the parks we played in as kids, the seaside and the wilting herbs on the windowsill that we can take ownership of this emergency and learn to care enough to start turning the tide.

Rewilding with the colour green

Most obviously, rewilding could come in the form of choosing the colour green again and again. It’s a feel-good colour and comes in many cheap forms. Maybe this means choosing to buy a cactus for your brother’s birthday rather than a video game, or going on a walk on the weekend rather than a shopping spree. It ultimately comes down to personal preference but these ‘green’ choices can be immensely more enjoyable if they are given a go.

Growing plants, whatever space you have, is a nurturing activity from which you can reap rewards again and again. This all feeds into the joy of being a little more self-sufficient. The phrase ‘crazy plant lady’ produced over 130,000,000 results on Google which I think is a good thing.

Our overwhelmingly sedentary lifestyle rewards using our brains and working hard. I don’t blame our bodies for not liking being sat at a desk for nine hours a day and I think they should be given a break from all this immobility. Nature encourages us to move and provides ample opportunity for it, it is down to you to find a slither of time.

Rewilding your stomach

This is not a plea to never touch meat again. It is one to not be insular. This might mean not judging people who eat a lot of meat and alienating them further by discussing how much like pulled pork jackfruit is. For many it could simply mean being more conscious about how much meat you actually need in your diet for health and to preserve the environment.

Making healthy choices for your body and the environment is easy when you enjoy cooking creatively. This need not take the form of straightforward meat ‘substitutions’ but rather new flavours, spices and textures that might elevate the way you cook.

Being in touch with your stomach, when it’s full, hungry or not feeling well is another way of rewilding and feeling better for it. A meal is much more satisfying when it has been long anticipated, not when your hunger was satiated by thirteen hobnobs an hour before.

Rewilding with animals

Try describing a rhinoceros to a small child. Or a giraffe. Or a polar bear. They are immensely strange and wonderful, and maybe when met with a child’s enthusiasm that they exist it might ignite a small adult spark in your sensible brain that they are in fact completely brilliant. Zoos too. Love them or hate them — at least you’re debating them.

We domesticate animals and bring them into our safe human space to love them. But maybe in visiting their habitats we can also care for them there and take a wider ownership of our shared land and important biodiversity hotspots (e.g., HS2).

Rewilding your brain

Throughout human evolution, societies have used their brains in thousands of different ways. We no longer fear imminent death from attack by animals but we feel anxious about our futures, experience uncertainty and money worries, to name but a few. When faced with a direct danger e.g., a lion, let’s use a lion example, you put things into perspective because death is a real possibility and the intricacies of other problems blur.

Take the case of reintroducing wolves to Scotland. We have lost our fear instinct against other animals because we have promoted ourselves above this (I’m talking primarily about the UK). On the one hand, good for us. On the other, if we did still have to worry about the imminent threat of beasts who surpass us in several categories, maybe we’d feel greater affinity for the animal kingdom and nature in general.

Alternatively, we could at the very least all read more and stay informed on the socio-political-environmental issues of our time.

Maybe by rethinking where we sit in this muddle of our environment, we can joyfully feel closer to it and feel passionate enough to protect it. Polarising the demographic between those who care and those who don’t is a product of our very 21st-century human society— now let’s get back to our roots.

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