Biophilia - Connecting With Nature
Conservation and Rewilding
There is a controversial movement in conservation at present that is referred to as “rewilding”. It is a simple idea. If you reintroduce top predators like wolves and big cats into the ecologically damaged temperate regions of the world, the ecology of those regions will return to the days before man and everything will be tickety-boo. There is good evidence that the re-introduction wolves into Yellowstone National Park in the USA reduced the damaging effects of the big herbivores who have had the place to themselves for a long time. Big cats might be able to control the plague of Chinese muntjac deer in the UK.
However, recently a different take on rewilding has been proposed by UK naturalist Nick Baker. It is not the countryside that needs to be rewilded – it is us according to Nick. 50 years ago, children went to primary school in their town or village and there was as nature table. There were few alternatives to looking at the real thing. Television was still mostly in black and white, and other than books and magazines, that was it. There were fewer options of recreation and so more people spent more time outside than they do today. Now the outside has to compete with the myriad of alternatives on phones, tablets, and various screens. All of these are a paltry substitute for seeing the real thing.
The assertion that people are not interested in the wild environment was given short shrift in 2017 with the viewing figures for the BBC/David Attenborough “Blue Planet 2” series going through the roof and leading to a huge boost in the international effort to reduce our dependence on one-use plastics. So, if people are so interested in the environment and the 8.7 billion species currently sharing the planet with Homo sapiens, why does such a small proportion of people living in the developed world get out there to look at what is on their doorsteps? The figures for the US make depressing reading (http://mountaintimes.info/plant-sociology-communication-our-critical-interconnection/).
However, in the UK there is a school of thought that believes that people are very good at enticing the wildlife to them in their gardens. For example, UK gardens are hot spots for pollinator diversity. Furthermore, the UK spends more than a £¼ billion each year on bird food for wild birds. While this is great news for the pollinators and the birds, it does not get people out into the countryside to witness wildlife in the wild. The physical health benefits of this are well accepted and well documented but what about the mental health benefits?
Spending time watching the lives and deaths of wild animals or all sizes, gives one a different perspective on one’s own problem’s. Perhaps the FA Cup semi-finals are not that important after all. The canny thing about biology is that is hides its light under a bushel. The closer you look the more beautiful it becomes. Many UK birds are described as LBJs. This stands for Little-Brown-Jobs implying that they are rather dull. Yet a visit to a ringing session at a local nature reserve will reveal that when you see a bird in-the-hand it is exquisitely beautifully marked and patterned. The same goes for even the most common of wild flowers when viewed through a x10 hand lens. Nature does not have to be beautiful. There are no selective, evolutionary points to be gained from being beautiful. Nature just selects things that work. Fortunately for us there is still a great deal of natural beauty to be seen and it just outside the back door. So go outside and rekindle that love affair with Nature.
Do you want to learn more about the world around you? Are you interested in working with nature, or improving environments, or studying conservation?
ACS offer a wide range of courses which include Environmental courses and Permaculture courses. Our courses are all studied by distance learning, via online access or eLearning, and can be started at any time to suit you.
Some of our courses which may interest you include:
Associate Diploma In Wildlife Management
Certificate In Wild Animal Studies
Conservation And Environmental Management
Animals In Permaculture Systems
or take a look at our great range of eBooks, including
Bees, Beekeeping And Honey
Birds - Identify Birds
If you would like to know more or have any questions, then why not get in touch with our specialist tutors using our FREE COURSE COUNSELLING SERVICE. Our tutors would be pleased to hear from you and will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
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Short courses, certificates and diplomas -lots of home study options.