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"[...] rewilding offers a positive environmentalism. Environmentalists have long known what they are against; now we can explain what we are for. It introduces hope where hope seemed absent. It offers us a chance to replace our silent spring with a raucous summer." -George Monbiot emphasis added1

At first glance, rewilding and anything with the prefix "agro" would seem to be diametrically opposed to this goal. However, the concepts of rewilding and agroecology share the same fate: for either to become the "new normal," the other must be embraced. They are mutually reinforcing, revolutionary concepts which are absolutely essential if humanity is going to accept responsibility for its collective actions and begin to clean up this planet and fix the natural cycles we have broken before it is too late.

In this diary, I want to share how George Monbiot's Feral: Searching for enchantment on the frontiers of rewilding regarding his quest to alleviate his "ecological boredom" is not just an isolated case, how rewilding relates to agroecology, and how- taken together- the two concepts will be the foundation upon which a regenerative future must be built.2

Now that I have successfully talked up a high order, I want to encourage you to engage with my previous work here, as well as checking out the "Additional Resources" I have provided, for things I may have missed or for more detailed information.

1. A Manifesto for Rewilding the World, George Monbiot. Permaculture News. 28.05.2013.
2. George Monbiot also delivered a spirited talk on his book for 5x15, here. Time stamps refer to this talk. 5x15 Stories is presented in association with The Week.

Update: matching mole has brought to my attention that references 8 & 9 do not fully support the claims being made. I want the readers to know that in exchange for brevity (at the time of writing), I did not include the other references made in Feral for the interrelated actions of cetaceans acting as nutrient pumps and their effects on nutrient cycling. I also want to mention that much of what I write about requires piecing together recent findings to develop a holistic perspective of how these systems function. I recognize in doing so that many of those trained in the sciences will have their issues with drawing conclusions and connections. I encourage readers to stay skeptical, but to also engage with many of the topics I have raised here and elsewhere to get a bigger picture. Particularly when it comes to the sea and the concept of shifting baselines.

Last Time Here


12.5.13 The Classroom Yurt at Grävsta farm [edited 21 August 2014], Sweden.

My plan to write one diary/article per month did not pan out as expected. For two weeks in May, I was in Sweden for a two week Permaculture Design course taught by Richard Perkins of Integral Permanence. For those of you who have experienced a PDC before, you probably know full well that for some it takes a good period of time to readjust to normal life. Two weeks living in a tent and yurt, with night time temperatures dropping to 1° C. Two weeks of amazing organic fare. Two weeks outside of the city with only one thing on our agenda: permaculture. Returning to a studio apartment, public transport, urban life, and a rigid educational schedule is not so simple after your brain settles into an entirely different- and beautiful- routine.  And being an immigrant, my life is not exactly normal.

While in Sweden, my Finnish course had proceeded to the third module with a new teacher. I had some difficultly bringing myself back to my studies while my head was still wrapping around many of the possibilities we had been discussing for two weeks. During my month-long (July) paid vacation from school (that is right, an unemployed immigrant in Finland has a right to a month-long paid vacation), my wife and I adopted a dog from Russia and he remains very much at the center of my attention.


Our German Shepard/East Siberian Laika from St. Petersburg at Nuuksio National Park, Finland.

Summer is short here. Not just in the sense that time flies by, but we only have so long to enjoy temperatures consistently above freezing that to stay indoors is a hard thing to do indeed. Sitting down to write- and to try to push my writing in different directions- takes an enormous amount of time. This particular diary has been in the offing for over a month and a half at this point.

I hope it has been worth the wait.

"I was almost sort of scratching at the walls of life, looking for a way into a wider space beyond; and I think I was ecologically bored." -George Monbiot [00:52]


Big Cypress National Preserve, almost otherworldly in its abundance. Photo credit: Karen Glaser. Big Cypress Pollen. 2007 ©.

I must admit, for most of my life, I shared a common affliction with Mr. Monbiot. Ecological boredom. I am since recovering, in fits and starts, with the help of permaculture and the sheer adoration for the world it has rekindled in the past four years.

You see, I was raised in Ft. Myers.3 What I can remember of my life began in Florida right outside the Big Cypress National Preserve:

The freshwaters of the Big Cypress Swamp, essential to the health of the neighboring Everglades, support the rich marine estuaries along Florida's southwest coast. Protecting over 729,000 acres of this vast swamp, Big Cypress National Preserve contains a mixture of tropical and temperate plant communities that are home to a diversity of wildlife, including the elusive Florida panther.
From my earliest days, a love of nature was nurtured by my parents and experience. My father would share with us "Uncle Remus'" tales of Brer Rabbit. My mother encouraged us to read such works as The Wind in the Willows. I started collecting Wildlife Fact Files.

For those unfamiliar with them, a complete set of Wildlife Fact Files fills seven large (~2" IIRC) binders to the brim. Every few weeks, another packet of "files" would arrive in the mail.  Each species had wonderful color photos or drawings along with all of the basic information a child could want about them- including their present and historical ranges. They even had files on North American biomes and environmental issues facing these creatures.

Wildlife Fact Files were my Wikipedia.

They were my inspiration.

Unsurprisingly, along with my brother and neighborhood friends, I would spend my days fishing and exploring our little corner of the swamp. We enjoyed a subtropical monsoonal climate complete with the most days of thunderstorms within earshot (standing at 89/year) of any city in the nation, plenty of wildlife, and seemingly endless mangrove forests.4 It was impossible not to be mesmerized by the almost daily displays of awesome natural forces. Everyday we were avoiding the local gators while taking our dog for a walk around the pond or treading carefully as to avoid water moccasins: this was a place a child would be hard pressed to become ecologically bored.

I grew up with an intimate relationship with water. The first seeds I ever sowed were those of cattails to provide more habitat for fish fry in the neighborhood's rainwater retention pond.5 Days were spent at the beach watching the tide roll in and out while building "drip" sand castles with whoever would lend a hand. The Gulf of Mexico may, to many, seem little more than a bathtub, but to us it was the end of our world. Almost universally, people have gazed to the seemingly endless horizon and dreamed of the journey to the other side.

On Thanksgiving '97, at the age of ten, my life changed forever when my family and I moved to Kernersville, North Carolina. For the first time in my life I would experience freezing temperatures, the resulting snow and ice, as well as a two plus hour chasm between myself and the ocean. For a child who has always known the embrace of the sea, such a change- when coupled with a change in schools from a well funded magnet school to one where mold was actively growing on walls (I suffered heavily from allergies for most of my life), unchained a depression that, I realize now, only my ecological immersion had held at bay.


3. Ft. Myers demographics reveal that the world I experienced as a child changed dramatically after 2000. per Wikipedia.
4. Weatherpages.com (bit old data, but would be surprised to see Ft. Myers drop from the top 3 slots), via Wikipedia.
5. Cattails, bulrush... all members of the Typha genus.

And then there were Whales


"The Ocean Sky" by desmondWOOT over at deviantART

When you leave behind the sea, you lose perhaps the most mystifying and enrapturing life experiences humans have the chance to be exposed to: marine megafauna. There exist few places besides the veil between our terrestrial world and the marine realm where we can still experience megafauna the way humans have for millennia. The unmistakable head rush that washes over your body as a shark drifts aloofly underneath as, balanced atop your kayak, you pole over beds of sea grass; the sense of incompetence when watching a pod of dolphins play with the fish that have been eluding your best attempts all evening; or the almost humorous experience of finding yourself floating in the middle of an "informal gathering" of manatees... all doubtlessly strike a chord deep inside many of us who have had the honor to be there.6

Philip Hoare, an accomplished author and broadcaster, relates his experience of a whale watching expedition out of Cape Cod:7

Philip Hoare @ 5x15 from 5x15 on Vimeo.

[4:00-5:22]

And it was on the last day, and I was about to go back [...] and I was early, so I had time to kill.

And I saw a sign advertising "whale watching, twelve dollars." And I kind of felt ambivalent about this. I kind of thought, "am I going to get another kind of mediated aquarium show ... another revisited experience like that?" Nevertheless I conquered my, doubts, paid my $12, got on the boat, stood on the prow of the boat. Probably slightly defiantly saying, "Ok, show me."

Half an hour later, a fifty ton, fifty foot humpback breached right in front of me.

This huge animal had left its environment into ours. This animal that shares the air with us, was suddenly suspended in this halo of diamond sea drops - and I do poeticize, but it was a poetical moment- and I responded in a very poetical and lyrical and literary manner:

I said, "FUCK"

This huge animal, Megaptera novaeangliae, big winged New Englander, a barnacled angel, presenting itself for my edification.

These moments are not just milestones on our journey through this life. They dye the fabric of your very being with awe, wonder, and a sense of respect for life itself. Deprivation from the natural world- either from chosen separation or enforced through either cultural or economic forces- leads to ecological boredom. While not fully supported by science, it has been widely reported that something as simple as a kitchen garden at a school changes the behavior of even the most challenging students. Attention disorders, behavioral problems, student engagement- all can be partially alleviated by allowing children to be children: young human beings with a thirst for knowledge that only the forever changing patterns of nature can fully quench.

Whales and their fellow cetaceans offer an experience entirely different than those stemming from our terrestrial homes. Those living in maritime communities know very well the campaigns to save these, and other charismatic creatures: save the whales, dolphins, manatees, sea otters, sea turtles... the list goes on. And for good reason- the emotional connection forged during edifying experience leaves us wishing to do all we can for them.

Emotional arguments can be persuasive, but they are not always the most compelling.  Our appreciation of them and the world in which we live can go much deeper, as both Philip Hoare and George Monbiot are keen to point out. Let us go beyond emotion and into the world as we can objectively observe it; and then return with knowledge that only further vitalizes our passion.

6. Quicky: Is a group of manatees called a pod or a herd? :) Save the Manatee Club's FAQ to the rescue.
7. Philip Hoare is an author whose latest book, The Sea Inside, is "a collage of personal memoir, cultural history and travelogue about the ocean's strangeness and beauty." Please check out, directly, the 5x15 talk he gave about his experiences, from which this quote was taken. [4:00-5:22].

"I filled my chest with air and duck-dived to the bottom. I had no flippers, and the seabed, perhaps two and a half fathoms down, was at the limit of my dive. I touched the beast." -George Monbiot, Feral, 228.


"The global ocean is the largest, most complex, and unexplored habitat for life on Earth." Oceans and Life. Interactive Oceans, University of Washington.

The last remnants of the great cetacean populations of the world's oceans (and rivers) are still powerful enough for researchers to lend us laymen yet another host of reasons to fight for their survival and resurgence. Cetaceans act as global nutrient pumps.8 Not just by their natural defecation, but by their sheer mechanical power, too: "the mixing power caused by movements of animals in the oceans is comparable to that of the wind, waves[,] and tides."9

You did catch that, right?

These creatures have as much power as natural phenomenon generated by astral bodies like the sun and moon. And what does all of this mechanical and biological action mean? Well, it sets off a trophic cascade whose enormity is almost impossible to comprehend. And this is just one of many oceanic trophic cascades that "are, if anything, even more remarkable than those of the terrestrial ecosystem."10

Trophic cascades are the effects on the food web (and therefore ecosystem) that the addition or removal of organisms result in. The massive fertilization and oxygenation of the world's oceans by large marine mammals- that we no longer receive- is surely well under the radar of the vast majority of the earth's human beings. And it isn't just whales, the near extinction of sharks across the globe is accelerating the decline of the ocean's ecosystems as well.

Feral's chapter on "Rewilding the Sea" brilliantly describes the breathtaking beauty and profound sorrow of the state of our seas. But unlike many environmental books today, Monbiot aptly draws the reader's attention to what happens when we apply a bit of rewilding:11

When fishing stops, the results are remarkable. On average, in 124 marine reserves studied around the world, some of which have been in existence for only a few years, the total weight of animals and plants has quadrupled since they were established. The size of the animals inhabiting them has also increased, and so has their diversity. In most cases the shift is visible within two to five years. As the slower-growing species also begin to recover, as sedentary lifeforms grow back and as reefs of coral and shellfish re-establish themselves- restoring the structural diversity of the seabed- the mass and wealth of the ecosystem is likely to keep rising for a long time. [emphasis added]
As I have noted in earlier diaries and comments- and as Monbiot states the case for as well, is that in addition to "spillover" from these reserves, improved oceanic health is directly related to terrestrial health due to the migration patterns of oceanic species into rivers and streams.12 Trophic cascades indeed.

Setting aside marine reserves of all types should be a no-brainer. Oceans cover 2/3 of the earth's surface. There is more than enough space and more than enough evidence for preserves to be created and strictly enforced. Rewilding the ocean also happens to be relatively easy.


8. Joe Roman & James J. McCarthy. "The Whale Pump: Marine Mammals Enhance Primary Productivity in a Coastal Basin." PLOS ONE.org. 2010.
9. George Monbiot, Feral: Searching for enchantment on the frontiers of rewilding (London: Allen Lane, 2013), 234-235. Note, previous citation and the following were included by Monbiot in his book, I simply want to add a working link. Also: Kakani Katija & John O. Dabiri. "A Viscosity-enhanced mechanism for biogenic ocean mixing." Nature. 2009.
10. Monbiot, 234.
11. Monbiot, 248-249. It is hard to resist excerpting from Feral as the research is so deep and the prose so engaging, so I hope that this falls within fair use. For structural diversity on a garden scale, see my diary on "Layers."
12. See my last full diary about the documentary "Green Gold."

"I will not try to disguise my reasons for wanting to see missing animals reintroduced. [...] It is the sense that without these animals the ecosystem is lopsided, abridged, dysfunctional." -George Monbiot, Feral, 106


"An image produced for the 2010 EU conference: ‘Rebuilding the Natural Heart of Europe’" from the Geopolitics page of Wild Experiments: New Natures from the Anthropocene."  13

As might be expected, rewilding terrestrial landscapes is a much more controversial and difficult topic due to the presence of human beings. The presence of humanity erects cultural and built obstacles to animal migration and repopulation in addition to the already formidable natural ones such as rivers, different climate zones, and... gravity.

Yes, gravity. One of the reasons aquatic ecosystems are so immensely productive is that organisms do not require nearly the same amount of energy (and in many cases, any energy) to stay afloat. Locomotion, then, becomes much easier. Add in global ocean currents, tides, and high winds and you have an effective means of getting around. Terrestrial systems are not so "easy." It takes thousands of years for many species of trees to recolonize areas they were extirpated from during the last glacial period. Birds, winged insects, and fungi (many have the ability to send spores into the upper atmosphere) have the best chances of expanding their range.

This is one reason why the creation of marine reserves makes for rapid regeneration: the organisms we wish to see return can do so on their own with relative ease. Species, by and large, do not need to be "reintroduced."

And when they return, they do not face nearly the same level of caution and fear mongering as their terrestrial counterparts. Like wolves.

Wolves, and other top predators, are just as important to ecosystem function as any other. Even their return to places such as Yellowstone National Park are not without detractors. One would hope that research documenting things such as "in some places, trees on the riverbanks, until then constantly suppressed by browsing, quintupled in height in just six years" would change some minds.14 What happens when riverbanks are stabilized by vegetation? Well, the river course changes, the amount of water in a river is increased, and new habitats are created.15 Among other things, this also means more species diversity, less flooding, more carbon sequestered, and more air purified. Among other things.

I have avoided diving into too many numbers to bolster the case for rewilding in the hopes that the figures such as "a quintupling" would do enough to kick some brains into gear while reading this. And I am going to continue to avoid dropping numbers simply because you, the reader, need to do some homework on this topic. When I say "among other things," I sincerely mean this. The rippling- cascading even- effect of the reintroduction of organisms of all types, but especially the larger fauna and flora, reach so far that to attempt a proper elucidation of these benefits here would be preposterous.

You have also probably noticed a glaring omission of any definition of rewilding. Again: intentional. Rewilding, even among its proponents, has many different interpretations. Early on, Monbiot grapples with its many formulations. One thing that particularly strikes a chord with me is that:16

Rewilding recognizes that nature consists not just of a collection of species but also of their ever-shifting relationships with each other and with the physical environment. It understands that to keep an ecosystem in a state of arrested development, to preserve it as if it were a jar of pickles, is to protect something which bears little relationship to the natural world.
This, to me, is what is at the heart of rewilding. One could argue about whether or not reintroducing species, suppressing others, removing humans completely from a system, etc. is or is not rewilding. But when you boil it all down, what remains is a reaffirmation of Heraclitus' truism: "Nothing endures but change."

Now, it should be readily apparent that I throughly enjoyed reading Feral. But as long time readers might suspect, I do have my issues with some of Monbiot's conclusions.


13. I could not find the original image from the link provided, so you now have two links ;)
14. [Emphasis added] Monbiot, 84. See Ripple & Beschta, 'Trophic cascades in Yellowstone.' Oregon State's link to one of their papers.
15. Please see Let the Water Do the Work under additional resources for more information on what natural frequency streams and rivers actually look like and how vegetation is essential to the riverine health.
16. Monbiot, 8-9.

"The sheep has caused more extensive environmental damage in this country than all the building that has ever taken place here." -George Monbiot, Feral, 70.


"Land Transformation with Swale Building." Ben Falk's "The Resilient Farm and Homestead," 92-93 17

Earlier this year, I wrote a number of diaries about Holistic Management- a decision making framework typically associated with the management of livestock. In those diaries I attempted to persuade readers that livestock are not always a source of degradation, but could, when managed appropriately, serve to regenerate ecosystems.18 Therefore, it should come to no surprise that I thoroughly disagree with quote which begins this passage.

It is not sheep which has caused the environmental damage. It is the management practices of the humans who own the sheep which cause the damage.

You may be wondering about the above diagram and those tiny sheep in the bottom corner. Vermont just happens to have a very similar history with deforestation and sheep farming. It also happens to be home to some very intelligent farmers and agroecological designers- of whom Ben Falk is one of the most well known. Take a visit over at his design firm, Whole Systems Design, and see for yourself how sheep, integrated into a well designed system, have regenerated a rocky Vermont hilltop deemed unfit for farming.

Witness his documentation of water flows on his property during Hurricane Irene, which, need I remind you, absolutely devastated Vermont. YouTube embed (old and new code) appears to be failing me, so here is the link. [EDIT: H/T to hannah for showing me how to fix the embed code]

Seriously, watch it. Then come back to me and tell me that sheep cause environmental damage. If you respond by saying feral sheep (no pun intended) cause environmental damage, I would have to reply that only in the absence of natural predators.

The key case for Holistic Management is that the livestock are moved in accordance with how they do in nature: bunched herds that only visit a particular place for a very short duration of time and then move on. When sheep are left to graze wherever, however, it does lead to environmental damage.

But the cause of the damage are not the sheep: it is the environmental conditions set up by humans. The removal of predators allows us to "give them freedom," in other words, creating a system that "bears no resemblance to a natural system." And that is precisely what I found to be so incredibly ironic about Feral.

There exist agroecosystems which use the abundant data being returned by scientists the world over that integrate livestock seamlessly into working, thriving, regenerative farms. Why they were left completely out of the book is mind boggling. The mentions of livestock farming were almost entirely negative and when other farming was touched on, it was on the subject of setting aside hilltops for rewilding (after being judged uneconomic and environmentally disastrous) and leaving the "more fertile areas" for human agriculture. Even then there was no discussion of agroecology.

Which is a real shame because agroecology, and particularly permaculture, go hand in hand with the concept of rewilding.


17. Ben Falk, The Resilient Farm and Homestead (White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green, 2013), 92-93. Digitized version from Homegrown.org's review of said book. I have my own copy of his book and am thinking about writing a review of it after this diary.
18. Links can be found below under additional resources.

"Today’s scientific evidence demonstrates that agroecological methods outperform the use of chemical fertilizers in boosting food production where the hungry live – especially in unfavourable environments" -Olivier De Schutter, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food19

Not only do they outperform chemical fertilizers and conventional wisdom regarding farming, but it is reported that in many cases we could double local food production.20 And that is just the beginning as we include rewilding efforts, which will only strengthen the surrounding ecosystem, and as we begin to gain further experience with agroecological methods.

Permaculture, an ethical design framework which draws heavily from agroecological techniques, includes a "zone system" for managing land use. Permaculturalists particularly stress the importance of a Zone 5: a zone where human management is foregone in favor of, you guessed it, rewilding. Zone 5 is meant to serve as a source of inspiration for the rest of the zones which we do apply design and management to. Oftentimes, Zone 5 is a very large portion of a property.

As a system that employs agroecology- the efficacy of which I have only briefly alluded to here but have supported elsewhere- permaculture and rewilding are mutually reinforcing concepts. They produce a feedback loop where our human managed systems- ones that boost biodiversity, resiliency, and regenerate natural systems in their own right- draw inspiration and further strength from a rewilding section of the property.

This does not mean that we should not consider setting aside even larger tracts of land for rewilding. It does mean, however, that agriculture and nature are not mutually incompatible. Only in the minds of humans are the actions of humans and those of nature somehow separable.

We need the emotional roller coaster that unbridled wild spaces offer. We need the ecosystem services these areas will provide us (will, because humans are still increasingly urbanizing). And we also need to apply these lessons to our (not livestock's) most destructive action: food production.

Conclusion

I know this has gotten very long and probably covered more territory than absolutely necessary. I hope that the final section did not deter you from the book. It was an awesome summer read and I highly recommend it. I will probably even read it again two or three more times. I have not always been a fan of Monbiot's columns, but this book... well, I respect the man even more than before.

My detractions not withstanding.

I also want to say one more thing: I should probably look this over with a fine toothed comb one more time before publishing, but... like my wife and her thesis papers: I am going to turn this into the jury now and we can converse later :)


19. United Nation's News Centre. "UN expert makes case for ecological farming practices to boost food production." 8 March 2011.
20. IBID. (same as previous)

Additional Resources



May 9, 2013 near Gnesta, Sweden. Permaculture Design Course field trip day to a new CSA farm.


Large Scale Damaged Ecosystem Regeneration [Diary]:

Excellent, must see documentary: John Liu's Green Gold- extended version of "Hope in a Changing Climate" that was presented at the recent Rio summit.

Another good article by John D. Liu. Finding Sustainability in Ecosystem Restoration.

Holistic Management [Diaries: First, Second, Third]:

The Savory Institute.
The Africa Centre For Holistic Management.
Holistic Management International.

Seth Itzkan has put together a very good reference list for Holistic Management, here.

Permaculture:

The Permaculture Research Institute is excellent (Updated: formerly PRI Australia). With almost daily updates from the world of permaculture (an ethical design system that utilizes agroecology [diary]), this site is on my "must check list" daily. Good news to be found here.

There are some excellent video presentations from 2011's International Permaculture Convergence held in Jordan, which followed a permaculture design course taught at the world-renowned "Greening the Desert Part II" site in the Dead Sea Valley. Here is a link to the documentary about the site, and here is a photo update from Spring 2013.If you scroll to the bottom of this webpage, you will find links to video presentations given at the convergence.

Ecological Gardening

Here is a list of diaries I wrote that covered some of the very basics.

I. Basic Garden Ecology
II. Soil
III. Layers
IV. Polycultures

Plant Databases

Plants for a Future. Absolutely massive database for useful plants.

Documentaries:

The first diary of this series revolves around three documentaries.

The first is a TED talk by Willie Smits about rainforest restoration to provide habitat for orangutans and a standard of living for the local people using agroecological methods. Not only was the project highly successful, but climate moderation was demonstrated via satellite imagery.

The second, The Rebel Farmer, is about Sepp Holzer, a very famous Austrian who practices his own version of permaculture. He has also written numerous books in addition to being in demand across the globe.

The third presents "Greening the Desert"- which covers both sites in Jordan where Geoff Lawton and the Permaculture Research Institute have been applying permaculture with great success.

YouTube Channels:

In no particular order:

John D. Liu: pioneering large scale damaged ecosystem restoration.
What If We Change: John D. Liu's project to inspire others to share their efforts to combat climate change and other problems.
Whole Systems Design: operating from Vermont, Ben Falk's permaculture design firm. Excellent site overview and talks on agroecology. Also a must see video from Hurricane Irene.
Permaculture News: PRI's YouTube branch
Permasolutions: Offering permaculture inspired solutions to problems
Toby Hemenway: Author of Gaia's Garden and permaculture designer. Great talk on horticultural society.
Al Baydha: Pilot project in Saudi Arabia to regenerate "bare bones" landscape for Bedouins.
Eric Toensmeier: Author of Perennial Vegetables, coauthor of Edible Forest Gardens, and plant guru. Has an upcoming book on perennial agricultural solutions to climate change.
Paul Stamets: World famous visionary mycologist who will change the way you see the world. You'll never forget fungi after his speeches regarding their potential use and place in the ecosystems.

Books:

My favorite books:

Edible Forest Gardens, Vol I and II. David Jacke with Eric Toensmeier. Chelsea Green, 2006.
Sepp Holzer's Permaculture. Sepp Holzer, translated by Anna Sapsford-Francis. Chelsea Green, 2010.
Gaia's Garden. Toby Hemenway. Chelsea Green, 2009 (2nd edition).
Let the Water Do the Work. Bill Zeedyk and Van Clother. The Quivira Coalition, 2009.
The One Straw Revolution. Masanobu Fukuoka. Link will point you to a decent review.
Akinori Kimura's Miracle Apples. By Takuji Ishikawa, translated by Yoko Ono. This is an absolutely fantastic story. My favorite part is towards the end, chapter 22, when Kimura is told of his family's first success. Give it a read!
Feral: Searching for enchantment on the frontiers of rewilding. George Monbiot. Allen Lane, 2013.
The Resilient Farm and Homestead: An Innovative Permaculture and Whole Systems Design Approach. Ben Falk. Chelsea Green, 2013.

For a much fuller list of books on the subject, see Toby Hemenway's Permaculture Reading List.

Other:

The Land Institute. Their goal is to develop highly productive perennial staple crops which will produce a living system as stable as natural prairies. This is the kind of pioneering research we should be funding. H/T to sfinx for bringing them up.

Originally posted to Practical Survivalism and Sustainable Living on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 12:06 PM PDT.

Also republished by SciTech and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks for reading! (54+ / 0-)

    And as always, I should remind the reader that I live in Helsinki, Finland. As such, I am 7 time zones ahead of EST. Which means that I cannot stay around very long to respond to comments.

    I do, however, try to respond to every person who comments by the next day.

    So please, feel free to discuss civilly.

    PS: Feral was awesome. Read it. My review/butnotareview doesn't do it half the justice it deserves.

  •  Agro-ecology (10+ / 0-)

    A very thorough essay.  I enjoyed it.

    From my perspective, present day humans have adapted so much technology into every aspect of life that we forget that nature existed and humans thrived in it for many thousands of years before fertilizer and GMOs were invented.

    Let's return to more nature methods of growing food.

    We're all just monkeys burning in hell.

    by smokeymonkey on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 12:32:00 PM PDT

  •  thank you (11+ / 0-)

    much to think about

    really excellent diary

    fact does not require fiction for balance (proudly a DFH)

    by mollyd on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 12:36:37 PM PDT

  •  I don't know why they are leaving part of (8+ / 0-)

    the address off on Youtube.

  •  I think it might help to make a distinction (5+ / 0-)

    between agriculture and husbandry. Agriculture deals with the fields and the community of plants, almost all of which are adapted to being browsed/trimmed/cultivated and, indeed, thrive on it. Husbandry, on the other hand, aims to accumulate and store animals and plants for later consumption and, unless production intervenes, almost certain waste. I think it's the sheer accumulation that does it. Accumulation overwhelms natural systems.

    •  Husbandry being different than agriculture is (5+ / 0-)

      technically accurate.

      Although I am having a difficult time understanding what you mean about husbandry leading to almost certain waste; especially in light of the fact that removing entire trophic levels from agroecosystems leads to stunted, dysfunctional systems. The loss of the ecosystem services provided by different animals on an integrated agroecological site is astounding.

      Properly managed, livestock do not produce waste in the conventional sense. There is a delicate balance, for sure, but with proper design water leaves such a property cleaner than before due to the active biological systems residing there.

  •  Thanks for an interesting read (11+ / 0-)

    I'm all in favor of rewinding.  I grew up far from the ocean and never lived close to it until very recently.  It is a revelation to me.

    Your diary has a lot of information in it and I have book marked it for use as a source of sources for teaching at a later date.  It is possibly the best sourced diary I have seen on dkos.

    I don't want this to sound too negative as I really did like your diary and I really hope it gets rescued.  I have a general comment and it is not unique to this diary but applies to a lot of environmental literature.  I see a lot of works of advocacy that come to conclusions based on fairly weak evidence.  I'm not saying that I am arguing against these conclusions - but that I would remain skeptical or at least cautious.

    For example this section of your text.

    The last remnants of the great cetacean populations of the world's oceans (and rivers) are still powerful enough for researchers to lend us laymen yet another host of reasons to fight for their survival and resurgence. Cetaceans act as global nutrient pumps.8 Not just by their natural defecation, but by their sheer mechanical power, too: "the mixing power caused by movements of animals in the oceans is comparable to that of the wind, waves[,] and tides."9

    You did catch that, right?

    These creatures have as much power as natural phenomenon generated by astral bodies like the sun and moon.

    Source 8 is a PLOS One Paper.  I took a quick look at it.  I'm not an expert on ecosystem processes nor did I have time to do a detailed reading.  Assuming the science is solid (and PLOS One has a rather mixed reputation) the study does demonstrate a important role of whales in nutrient cycling in one location.  The discussion section does speculate (note the word speculate) on the possible importance of marine mammals in global nutrient cycling.  This is potentially very exciting.  But the phrase "Cetaceans are global nutrient pumps" makes this sound more established than it is and also doesn't explain the rather impressive sounding term.

    Source 9 is a paper in Nature.  It is composed of theoretical fluid dynamics and some tests with moving jellyfish.   It deals with all animals in the ocean from 1 mm long on up and nowhere even mentions whales.  It is also very unclear from the paper how they scaled their estimates of the effects of movement of single animals of particular sizes to all animals in the ocean which would require estimates of how many animals of each size exist.

    Nothing in the paper supports the claim that cetaceans in particular are important drivers of ocean mixing.

    I'm spending this much time on this comment because I am really interested in these ideas and I would like to see more evidence of critical analysis rather along with the fervor and personal aspect (which I also really appreciate).  Simply adding in words like 'may', 'might', 'possibly' in the appropriate places would go a long way.

    This may sound like I am complaining about trivia and wording.  I think careful, critical thought about complex ideas is vital to our survival as a civilization.  I think the ideas you talk about are quite possibly an important part of the solution to some of our current problems.  Note the word possibly.

    "To see both sides of a quarrel, is to judge without hate or alarm" - Richard Thompson

    by matching mole on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:27:16 PM PDT

    •  No, actually- quite welcome. (8+ / 0-)

      In my haste, I input the citations from Feral into Google and went to sources that had- what I thought were- the papers.

      I will go back to the citations in the book and then double check my links. While I have appeared to get the authors correct, I very well may have made the mistake of referencing the wrong paper.

      I'll actually get on that before heading to bed. What you have written is far from nitpicking, but rather of utmost importance.

      Thank you for bringing this to my attention matching mole.

    •  Alright, I have quickly double checked the links. (7+ / 0-)

      The links are to the same quoted in the notes for Feral.

      I will consider updating the diary tomorrow with qualifications after I read the papers a bit more. For tonight, I will continue to trust in Mr. Monbiot's reading (or, maybe more accurately, my interpretation of his relation of the papers) as being worthwhile.

      There are a few other papers cited in Feral which discuss the role of cetaceans in marine nutrient flows and the inherent trophic cascades their behavior produces. I will have to look into those as well to see if they bolster the argument.

      At the end of the day, however, I should admit that I am not a scientist and am placing trust in Mr. Monbiot's relating of these papers. I should also say that while the scientific community may not be fully behind these findings, that I believe in the coming future we will be seeing  more studies that back these claims.

      Again, thanks for pointing this out and I will return to this topic in the morning.

      •  I will admit that this relates to a difficulty I (11+ / 0-)

        have faced on this site in the past, particularly during the gulf oil disaster (I live in Tallahassee so it was something of immediate interest to me).  I would describe it as asymmetrical skepticism.  Many people on this site were understandably and quite justifiably skeptical of claims made by the government about the extent of the damage.  But on the other hand they seemed quite comfortable accepting claims in the opposite direction that were equally poorly supported.

        I realize you are mostly reviewing a book here and thus reporting Monbiot's claims.  It is really only because I am so interested in this topic that I bothered to post my lengthy comment.  I think this field has great potential.  My knowledge of academic ecology has shown me how difficult it is to draw general conclusions and thus I like to see thinkers approach an idea with the enthusiasm of 'idea X could be the greatest thing since the printing press' but with 'there is more to learn about idea X and maybe it wont't pan out after all' in their mind at the same time.

        "To see both sides of a quarrel, is to judge without hate or alarm" - Richard Thompson

        by matching mole on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:58:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  "Asymmetrical skepticism" sounds to me a lot like (8+ / 0-)

          confirmation bias. While it certainly can be observed on this site, I wouldn't say it is any more apparent than anywhere else people congregate.

          Science is kind of quixotic in trying to rise above the morass of irrationality that seems to be the standard mode of operation of our species. And science itself is not free from human irrationality. ("The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" by Thomas Kuhn is quite revealing in this regard)

          Anyone claiming to be "truly objective" should begin by examining their own thought processes. Especially things that stir up strong emotions.

          muddy water can best be cleared by leaving it alone

          by veritas curat on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:47:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Agreed it probably is the same thing (6+ / 0-)

            Being "reality based" is a great challenge and probably one that is impossible to truly attain.  However, IMHO, it is one of the great goals to which one can aspire.  And, again IMHO, caution is a great tool on the way.

            One of my favorite song lyrics.

            "Remember, before the feeling dies...  I could be telling lies"

            "To see both sides of a quarrel, is to judge without hate or alarm" - Richard Thompson

            by matching mole on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 03:33:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes, it is a challenge. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              annan, FinchJ, RiveroftheWest

              The AA Big Book:

              We found the Great Reality deep down within us. In the last analysis it is only there that it may be found.
              I think that being "reality based" is a spiritual condition. One that comes from a long term sincere practice of self-examination. And from long personal experience with the realities of the natural world as it is.

              I especially find scientific materialism to be woefully inadequate and distressing. Here's an interesting take: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/...

              muddy water can best be cleared by leaving it alone

              by veritas curat on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 04:08:28 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  IMHO (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                FinchJ

                ....that blog post is woeful rubbish.

                Anyone who asserts that science believes it will one day "solve all mysteries" is so ignorant or deluded that anything further they say may be safely disregarded. If there is one generalization that holds true for science, it is that every advance generates a host of new questions. Even those who are advancing a new general "theory of everything" will never be so bold as to claim it explains literally everything. At best, it will be a more useful framework for understanding than what came before it.

                What right do you have to call, for instance, multi-universe speculations "pseudo-religious"? Do people pray to them? Do they use them to dominate and control others, or to build up some fanciful and complex system of rules for themselves? No. This type of theory is simply a recognition that the universe may be a very strange place indeed from our perspective, and it is not a useful way to approach such a problem by ruling out any hypothesis, however far-fetched it might seem. Advanced physics already works with many concepts that seem odd to outsiders. Would you call quantum mechanics "pseudo-religious"? It too began as speculations that the ignorant laughed at, until ways were found to demonstrate the veracity of some of them. Who's laughing now?

                Science is not in competition with religion. How can it be? One is rooted in reality, the other in fantasy. Science tries to deal with the realities of the world, recognizing that our picture of these realities will always be incomplete and faulty due to the limitations and prejudices of our minds. Religion makes up its claims regardless of reason. You can understand much more about a religion by looking at the power structures of the society it developed in than by examining external reality.  

                It is telling that the chief authority promoted by this lamentable display of ignorance, Nagel, is a philosopher. Philosophy used to include all the sciences, but that was a long time ago. Now it resembles a house after its tenants have moved out, leaving behind only empty boxes and worthless junk. Take, for example, the line quoted in the blog, asserting that "the universe is waking up and becoming aware of itself." This is drivel. A number of species of animals on a single planet (that we know of) have developed various degrees of self-awareness, but that is a vanishingly small part of "the universe." As far as we know at the present time, the rest of it is dead as doornails. Or does Nagel believe that human beings = "the universe"? That would be such astonishing conceit that one hesitates to assume it even of a philosopher.

                "They smash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn)

                by sagesource on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 10:43:21 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  Matching mole, again many thanks for (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RiveroftheWest

          your discussion here. I have made an update at the beginning of the diary to alert readers to your concerns while making my stance a bit more clear.

          After reading through the studies themselves and considering them with the other papers cited in Feral, I have decided to keep the wording as is in the actual diary. I do this because my thinking is aligned with Monbiot's on the topic under discussion.

          Our oceans are not even a pale reflection of their former selves. The loss of the cetaceans, the destruction of habitats both marine and riverine (breeding grounds, etc) in nature, the collapse of apex predators, all these -in combination with a host of other challenges-  lead me to believe that if we were to seriously begin to protect the oceans we would witness a return of productivity heretofore unknown by modern science.

          The discovery and early industrial era explorers, fisherman, and naturalists all describe an ocean environment richer than anything we are capable of believing. Science remains skeptical of their writings, but having had the pleasure to witness and read about terrestrial places where regeneration has occurred and the stunning productivity that means, I believe these studies are onto something.

          The fertilization effects of marine mammals and the subsequent trophic cascades bear, in many ways, a strong resemblance to what occurs when domestic herbivores are managed naturally on formally mismanaged or restricted lands. The side by side comparisons of Holistically Managed rangelands with those excluding grazing (and improperly grazed) are quite compelling. It makes sense to me that if sea mammals were encouraged to return to healthy populations (not just merely sustainable), that we would see similar effects on their local environments.

          The papers cited in this diary (or even including the remainder in Feral) may not overcome a trained scientist's skepticism of the conclusions drawn from them. It may not pan out as expected, but I have confidence that these claims will.

  •  now this is what I wish we saw more of (6+ / 0-)

    a well researched paper followed by question that actually ask reasonable questions on the position presented and the supporting evidence

    fact does not require fiction for balance (proudly a DFH)

    by mollyd on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 03:30:03 PM PDT

  •  What's main flowering shrub in Helsinki? Lilac? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FinchJ, RiveroftheWest

    It seems like one kind of  large shrub dominates, not sure what it was.

    Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

    by bernardpliers on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 03:35:29 PM PDT

  •  My surfing on holistic livestock management (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ban nock, FinchJ, RiveroftheWest

    led me to this super-duper lecture on what he (Greg Judy) calls mob grazing. This guy is an actual practitioner on his Missouri ranch and his talk shows how well this can work. It's a whole hour and fifteen minutes long.

    "Societies strain harder and harder to sustain the decadent opulence of the ruling class, even as it destroys the foundations of productivity and wealth." — Chris Hedges

    by Crider on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 05:51:25 PM PDT

  •  "Rewilding" is a much more engaging term (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Debs2, FinchJ, RiveroftheWest, OceanDiver

    than "restoration ecology." I have visited the Channel Islands off the coast of southern California. The native plant and animal species have just about disappeared, due to the islands being used for conventional farming. The Nature Conservancy and the US National Parks Service now own/manage the Channel Islands. Biologists have been working for decades to restore the native plant and animal species.

    It broke my heart last year to visit the Big Island of Hawaii. It was converted from tropical paradise to ranches and farms in the mold of the western US. Visiting a botanical garden on the Big Island, and reading the history of the place, I was dismayed to see how the native species were really hammered by American-style agricultural practices.

    Regarding the word "feral." Feral dogs suffer the worst of both worlds. Their wolf-genes, that would assist with their survival without humans, have been bred out. Their mistrust of humans, due to lack of contact during crucial early weeks, causes them to be suspicious and frightened if they are caught and adopted as pets. A feral dog will not be the same pet as a golden retriever.

    Thank you for this extensive and interesting diary. There is so much in it that the greater public needs to see. You have a sweetie pie dog!

    "The will must be stronger than the skill." M. Ali

    by awhitestl on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 06:50:32 PM PDT

  •  I'm not at all familiar with rewilding in regards (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bigjacbigjacbigjac, badger

    to oceans. The little I've read about it on land always leads me to  one word, nut cases, well two.

    http://rewilding.org/...

    A religious like worship of an imaginary world of yore. A depopulating of everything between the coasts and filling it with saber toothed tigers and wooly mammoths. A diversionary mind game for urbanists. It's only coincidental that the land they want to take is in flyover country, a place they've never been and don't like, too many cowboys.

    I've always felt that if they just began in the place they live I'd give them a lot more credit. Like depopulate NY or Los Angeles and rewild that.

    I'd recommend a lot more than two weeks with the like minded. A yurt at freezing is just an appetizer. Maybe meet and learn from those who were born and spend their entire lives far away from cities and most hours are outside.

    “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

    by ban nock on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 07:42:01 PM PDT

    •  I try to avoid strong words such as "always." (4+ / 0-)

      Of course it would be possible to find "nut cases" who worship an "imaginary world of yore." But from the reading I have done, this isn't always the case.

      Out of curiosity, have you read Feral? Do you find Monbiot's position on the topic to be one of a nut case?

      You would also be surprised to find that in many European cities (not so sure about the large American ones), governments are beginning to allow large spaces in their parks to grow at will. It saves them money, increases habitat, and is especially important for bees. Plus, it is exciting and curious for people of all ages to see the diversity. Sure, it isn't full on rewildling, but it also isn't NIMBYism.

      To be honest, I do not appreciate your condescending tone. For your information, ban nock, I have been meeting people who were born and have spent their entire lives far away from cities. If things continue to go as planned, I will be working with such an individual who has been ranching his entire life in Iowa.

      If you want to continue participating in this thread, I kindly ask you to come down off your high horse and treat me with some respect.

      •  divergent views are part of posting here, I get a (0+ / 0-)

        lot worse than this. My remarks are pointed at the rewilding Taliban, not you.

        Some park in a Euro city doesn't do it. My county is bigger than some Euro countries. I'd like to see the size of an area big enough for just one mountain lion razed to the ground and rewilded with prey for that one lion to eat. Follow that up with connecting or contiguous square kilometers of space, cities the size of Paris. Raze them to the ground, new soil, people to go the same places we in the rural west are supposed to go, coexist baby. Why no grizzly bears in Los Angeles? Isn't CA the grizzly state? Put the large carnivores in your city parks.

        Never happen. People play at computer screens with pretty drawings of woodlands and arrows and labels.

        Over the past 80 years we've restored almost all of the fauna to the US that was ever here when Euros arrived in all spaces where it is possible and some where it isn't. Euros come here when they want to see nature in a more natural state. Now we are supposed to wear burkas and pray to the east five times per diem and put up with stonings for punishment and somehow this will lead to utopia.

        If rewilders want utopia I'd recomend Gates of the Arctic and don't bring any foodstuffs from commercial agriculture.

        “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

        by ban nock on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 06:56:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Let me just make something clear. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RiveroftheWest, wozzlecat, Leftcandid

          I know full well that divergent views are a part of posting here: I've been posting here just a bit longer than you have. What I also know is that posting divergent viewpoints is possible without "being a dick." Let me go through just how your behavior, in my view, constitutes "being a dick." I'll also through in some RTFD.

          #6 Insults. Right off the bat, you made the statement that everything you have read about terrestrial rewilding leads you to "nut cases." You made no distinction whatsoever between the "nut cases" you have read about in the past and my post or any of the links provided.

          A dose of RTFD. Your whole paragraph about depopulating flyover country and filling it with saber toothed cats. Not only did I not see that in the link you provided, but I also didn't mention anything similar to such a dramatic statement in my diary.

          What takes the cake, from your first comment, and I include this with #6 Insults:

          I'd recommend a lot more than two weeks with the like minded. A yurt at freezing is just an appetizer. Maybe meet and learn from those who were born and spend their entire lives far away from cities and most hours are outside.
          Paternalistic at its finest. Offensive to say the least.

          Now lets move on to your wonderful second reply, shall we?

          How about, RTFComment. I distinctly said that what is happening in these cities is not full on rewilding. Do you have a problem comprehending that this is a good first step towards changing urban dwellers' perspectives on land use?

          Then you step into #3 Bigotry with your oversimplification of what "Euros" want and some strange Islamophobic nonsense.

          Over the past 80 years we've restored almost all of the fauna to the US that was ever here when Euros arrived in all spaces where it is possible and some where it isn't. Euros come here when they want to see nature in a more natural state. Now we are supposed to wear burkas and pray to the east five times per diem and put up with stonings for punishment and somehow this will lead to utopia.
          And lastly, you lump all rewilders together as wanting a "utopia" and relegating them to Alaska. Oh just lovely.

          But you weren't talking about me, no no, just the Taliban Rewilders.

          Right, like asking folks to raze sections of their cities to the ground for "just one mountain lion" (like that is rewilding?) is a moderate position.

          If you want to share your divergent view, feel free. But stop being a dick in my diary. Until you can, perhaps you could do well to read a bit more divergent viewpoints about rewilding and come back with a more nuanced view that isn't formulated in an insulting manner.

          •  Please excuse ban nock; he seems to truly believe (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FinchJ, RiveroftheWest

            that any rewilding/re-establishment of wild animals & wild ecology is a plot by Eastern urbanites to put rural people off their land.  Here they are for some reason instead referred to as "Euros."

            I am almost directly quoting him; I could search my comment history for it if I felt like it, but I don't.

            He's a good dude, but he is quite prejudiced on this angle, apparently both in spite of and because of his vast experience in the natural world.  There is legit criticism to level at the motives of well-meaning but poorly informed liberal urbanites who join The Sierra Club for the expensive hikes; equating everyone who is pro-wilderness with them--let alone letting loose with a Taliban blast-- is of course Not That.

            Sincerely,
            A Pro-Wilderness Lifelong Westerner

            It's time to start letting sleeping dinosaurs lie, lest we join them in extinction by our consumption of them.

            by Leftcandid on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 08:37:05 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Leftcandid, (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              RiveroftheWest

              Thanks for your input. I also recognize his passion and knowledge- I've read many of his diaries and comments and many times am in agreement.

              I don't like writing what I did. I've never asked anyone to leave a diary before either. But, along with the community guidelines for DailyKos, I did ask in my Tip Jar to "discuss civilly." Nothing about either of his two posts was anywhere near civil.

              That said, he would be more than welcome to post here if he would drop the patronizing tone and prejudice. One can very easily make arguments against rewilding without resorting to insulting the host, especially after being asked to tone it down. There is no room for belittling me and disparaging the thoughts of others in my diaries.

              I wish I had ignored him as I think my response killed what could have been an interesting comment thread.

  •  What an amazing diary! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FinchJ, RiveroftheWest

    Thank you so much for this!  I really enjoyed Philip Hoare's
    talk about his whale watching experience.  You have
    opened up a window into another dimension here.  Our
    own species has some very strange ideas about who is
    running the show on this planet.  I'd love to have an in-depth conversation with a cetacean about that!

  •  Excellent smorgasbord of a diary! (4+ / 0-)

    I think the diarist and I are in the same planetary ballpark, for my thing is creating nature centers on local school campuses, thereby re-creating pockets of (in our case) wild California in urban settings surrounded by blacktop and cement. Our current term is "schoolyard habitats," and I like the term immensely. In our largest habitat I started with solely California native plants, then slowly introduced native lizards, fish, and amphibians. Many of these plants and critters were native in this very spot fifty years ago before a school campus leveled the whole ecosystem. We now have a huge outdoor "terrarium" rather than just a few small glass cases in a classroom.

    Good luck, ally, and I love envisioning this burgeoning worldwide network of allies for the planet!

    "They come, they come To build a wall between us We know they won't win."--Crowded House, "Don't Dream It's Over."

    by Wildthumb on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 09:16:27 PM PDT

    •  Interesting work Wildthumb. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest

      Do you have a link to any of your schools? I would like to see some of these habitats :)

      The idea is excellent. School campuses offer some of the most win-win situations for these types of projects and it is so good to hear that you are able to make a living do this out in California!

      •  Don't make a living at it. I've been doing this as (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiveroftheWest, FinchJ, wozzlecat

        a volunteer for eighteen years. I'm retired from my contracting work now, and have been lucky that the heads of schools and teachers have just "turned me loose" to set directions. So far I've done two habitats and have consulted with others to help them out. One nature center is very large and I can "showcase" the idea to others.

        Right now I'm in the process of gathering information on perhaps forming a nonprofit outfit to create these habitats on many school campuses, starting with Long Beach, CA, and hopefully spreading out to the greater Los Angeles area. But, knowing me, I have to have a certain amount of autonomy, and I still have to decide how to do this. I didn't know in the beginning that my passion for native plants would lead me to develop a passion for creating "chunks of nature in urban environments."

        I haven't posted there in awhile because I've been busy with some hands-on work, but go to "Prisk Native Garden" on Facebook. That's our "showcase." If you are in the L.A. area next Spring, come here and I'll give you the "cook's tour." We'll have a spectacular wildflower show then.

        "They come, they come To build a wall between us We know they won't win."--Crowded House, "Don't Dream It's Over."

        by Wildthumb on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 07:47:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sounds like a wonderful plan! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RiveroftheWest, Wildthumb

          I wish you the best of luck with a non profit. I hope that it all goes well.

          I will have to check out your Facebook if it is public- I don't have an account.

          And thank you most kindly for the offer of a tour! I never made it out to CA while I lived in the States and I am not sure when I will get the chance. That said- I would extend the offer to you to message me if you ever find your way to Finland :)

          PS- I'd love to see a diary on your wildflower show!

          •  I will certainly keep you in mind and keep you (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RiveroftheWest, FinchJ

            posted any way I can. We all need one another as allies no matter where we live. It's easy to sign up on Facebook and start posting. You can comment on any posts thereon. I only post on our site, I don't do personal posts about my life or my family the way that the majority of Facebook posters do. It's strictly about planting, native plants, animals, and insects,  and CA nature in general. (If I was in Pennsylvania, for example, I'd certainly start centers based on Pennsylvanian ecosystems!)

            I really need to start diarying on this "movement" on school campuses. It's beginning in spots all over the U.S. The Audubon Society has its own support for this, for example. A diary on our spring show is certainly doable. Thank you for your work!

            "They come, they come To build a wall between us We know they won't win."--Crowded House, "Don't Dream It's Over."

            by Wildthumb on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 04:48:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  After ninety percent of Americans (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FinchJ, RiveroftheWest

    starve to death,
    sometime after the year 2050,
    the survivors will put into action
    much of what you wrote in this diary.

    One example
    of what I think
    the survivors might eat,
    when they start,
    or continue,
    serious hunting and fishing,
    is feral hogs:

    feral hogs  

     
    ON THE downside, America’s 6m or so feral pigs are dangerous pests armed with sharp tusks, short tempers and large appetites.  
     

    However:

     On the upside, being clever and lean, they make for good hunting and—when cooked with skill—they are tasty.  

    I need to write my own diary about this.

    Thanks for this diary,
    to show me some great ideas.

    I didn't read every word,
    but from my skimming,
    I can see that you are looking at
    "all of the above."

    And so am I.

    Thanks again.

    Oh,
    I forgot to mention:
    Americans will starve,
    because of a shortage of diesel fuel.

    Thanks again.

    Bringing a child into the world at this point in history is a crime, the crime of child endangerment.

    by bigjacbigjacbigjac on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 11:48:05 PM PDT

    •  I'd like to think that we won't be starving. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest

      Although it is a possible scenario.

      Hunting feral hogs is important. It is also yet another example of shifting the burden to the intervenor. Because we introduced them (although there were wild peccaries in the SW to S America), we must control them. Because we wiped out all of the predators which could keep them in check, we must now hunt them.

      And, unfortunately, we are not quite as good as those predators would have been.

      I would also add that Monbiot spends some time discussing the reintroduction of boar to Great Britain (the island) in Feral. If you write the diary, and it fits, it may be worth looking into how European boar contrast to the American ecosystems.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts bigjac^3

  •  I thought I remembered reading about wild boars (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FinchJ, RiveroftheWest

    in Virginia in early colonial times.  I think there were also buffalo there back then.

    Can anyone confirm or disconfirm?

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