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The idea of “rewilding” tends to conjure images of the jungle-infested temples at Angkor Wat or the city of Chernobyl, which in the absence of human life has surrendered to nature. Journalist and environmental advocate George Monbiot challenges his audience to embrace the concept of rewilding in order to reimagine the world around them. Though his proposal faces many impediments in practice, Monbiot’s thesis offers hope in the fight against the devastation of the natural world.


“Rewilding” is the process of reintroducing missing native species of flora and fauna to their natural habitats to let nature restore damaged ecosystems.

Rewilding has presented scientists with numerous examples of “trophic cascades” – that is, beneficial ecological processes that start at the top of the food chain and trickle down to species at the bottom. In America’s Yellowstone National Park, for example, wolves had been extinct for 70 years. As a result, the deer population boomed. But when the park reintroduced wolves in 1995, not only did the wild dogs keep the deer population in check but the deer changed their behavior. The deer had destroyed the vegetation in many areas of the park due to overgrazing. When their natural predator returned, the deer abandoned areas where they could be cornered, which bounced back with new life. Native trees grew and flourished, inviting many species of bird to return.

Renewed flora also attracted more...

About the Speaker

Journalist and author George Monbiot is a leading environmentalist.

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