msb ~089 Wasteland to wild land

Wasteland to wild land

wild land, self-willed land, waste land
rewilding at work

As the pre-plastics past becomes more remote, is it harder to imagine post-plastics futures? That’s the thought that struck me while catching up on some rewilding reading. The appropriately named Isabella Tree calls out our modern distaste for ‘wasteland’ in her concise critique of ‘managed reforestation’ plans for England’s new Northern Forest. In particular, our “demonisation of thorny scrub” means that we can only imagine forest regeneration as a task for humans armed with spades and plastic tree defenders. Continue reading “msb ~089 Wasteland to wild land”

msb ~080 Nature shock

Nature shock  

nature shock: wild applesJourneying further into Dark Mountain’s new anthology, TERRA, I reach Sara Hudston’s wonderful, powerful parable, Wild Apples. “Francis hated animals.” It’s not just animals. Francis — named ironically for that Assisi guy, of course — hates all evidence of the non-human, natural world. An ex-countryside refugee — “He’d escaped as soon as he could to the city where women liked to be looked at and men could talk intelligently of important matters” — he’s forced back into rural exile, singled out for unidentified duties by an unnamed bureaucracy with no apparent purpose. Continue reading “msb ~080 Nature shock”

msb ~031 Shifting baselines, new normals

Shifting baselines, new normals

Rewilding Britain?

On the Conversation website, Christopher Sandom discusses Shifting Baseline Syndrome. In the book Anticipatory History, National Trust ranger Justin Whitehouse described this phenomenon as “personal and ‘generational’ amnesia, due to relatively short life spans and memories.” Whitehouse was describing people’s tendency to imagine contemporary natural or cultural features (in his case, the harbour wall at Mullion in Cornwall; in Sandom’s, the wildlife of Britain) as the ‘natural’ state, set in time around their own childhood or maybe stories from their grandparents’ times. We discount longer-term trends (and our parts in them), underestimating the true scale of past – or future – change.

Continue reading “msb ~031 Shifting baselines, new normals”

msb ~029 Beyond the background wild #1

Beyond the background wild #1

Fox time

Thinking about those moments when I’ve really encountered wild animals, I realise there are very few true moments. Beyond the ‘background wild’, I mean. Yes, crows call from trees as I pass beneath, a deer runs from me in the woods; or I spy a fox just sitting in the sunlit field, watching its world. The spiders and flies and (when there was a cat) fleas in the house. Very few true moments: encountering something wild encountering me, when we break through the veil and see each other across the divide. Continue reading “msb ~029 Beyond the background wild #1”