Could you be suffocating the Earth without knowing it?
“The Wilderness holds answers to more questions than we have yet learned to ask.”
― Nancy Newhall
What role does the wilderness play in your life?
It might be tempting to think only of the occasional bush walk you step in to when your schedule allows it.
But what of the oxygen you breathe? The rainwater you drink? Perhaps even the chair that you're sitting on? Ecologists refer to ecosystem services as the natural features that "contributes directly to the social, physical and economic wellbeing and survival of people as well as wildlife."
Rather than picturing nature as an external body of services, I think it's wiser to consider the civilisation we build as emergent from the natural world.
We are hosts to our microbiome, a tremendous array of micro-organisms who work to metabolize nutrients into more useful compounds for our body.
In the very same way, planet earth hosts us as its own micro-organisms. We, human kind, are placed here with millions of other species to metabolize nutrients into more useful compounds.
Basic elements like carbon and nitrogen turn into amino acids, proteins, living tissues, beings, brains and perhaps even the instinct for survival.
These elements move up food chains, or compost downwards. They are flung out into the atmosphere or buried into the ground. And over millennia these cycles undulate like the lungs in your chest.
The Earth too needs to breathe.
With so many species competing with each other, wilderness historically finds a happy equilibrium where no one species dominates the landscape. It is in the harmony of wilderness, where chaos rests in a natural order.
This, I'm afraid to say, is an antiquated concept. For far too long one species has held dominion over the rest. I'm talking about you, and me, and the rest of humankind.
And just as when an imbalance of your microbiome can cause stomach ulcers, this imbalance of species is metabolizing useful nutrients into compounds of global disease (eg. plastic, carbon dioxide, methane).
There has been a much needed focus on the importance of reducing these compounds, yet we at Mindful Foods believe that restoring the natural order onto altered landscapes is just as important.
Rewilding, by eradicating invasive species and replenishing the native. By reducing our footprint of managed land, and letting nature run wild.
Without that, the Earth cannot breathe.
Here is a map demonstrating the land use of Australia. Note, that the purple indicates where wilderness grows mostly unbridled.
This is a picture of nature throttled, a nation that cannot breathe.
Wanna know more?
One method of rewilding is re-introducing predatory species - famously, wolves to Yellowstone National Park. In our case, Tasmanian Devils could play an important role in reestablishing natural balance in our wilderness areas. Watch the video here:
Plus, recently Radio National's Future Tense featured a story on "Locking down nature in order to liberate it". It’s a great listen, and can be found here.
May the wild be with you!