Before we get lost in the endless enchantments of rewilding, I wanted to first post this piece.

I spent the past two days partaking in the Cambridge Conservation Forum's 2019 Symposium on Rewilding and its Effects On Nature and People. It was chalked full of inspiring, hopeful, and thought-provoking talks, bringing together farmers, conservationists, stakeholders and citizens to offer a balanced set of thoughts, studies and experiences which pushed audience members beyond the ideals of utopian rewilding dreams - making room for logic and empathy to set in away from the polarization seen in so many other aspects of humanity's movements towards sustainable living.
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‘Conventional’ farmers, with clear disdain for the rewilding movement, took the stage. Sharing bravery how alienated they felt from being portrayed as 'the problem' so swiftly.

One Welsh hill farmer, by the name of Dafydd Morris-Jones, pointed out how he and his hold genealogies dating back hundreds, and in some cases, thousands of years to the precise place they are farming. He stated this sense of history cements their community while protecting the ancient language and culture his people have fought hard, over hundreds of years of British occupation, to protect. They didn’t need to be ‘rewilded’, he said, and approaching people like him in a foreign language, with foreign ideals, caused by foreign problems, with foreign solutions, is an act of eco-colonialism. 
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Having grown up listening carefully to the wisdom of Indigenous Peoples in my home province of Manitoba, Dafyyd’s story, pride, emotion, and strength mirrored the righteous sentiments of the First Nation, Indian, Metis and Inuit Peoples in what we today call Canada. I've written about the issues of this type of approach in my article about why I've chosen to eat a plant-based diet rather than a 'vegan' one. Modern descendants of colonisers, ignorantly ready to repeat the pains of the past, have a habit of approaching indigenous communities worldwide with the ‘right’ ideas and ‘solutions’ to perceived 'problems' (most often caused by the colonisers' own actions, habits, and needs) with an indigenous community's way of living. 

Dafydd's talk shaped the conversations in the days to come. The room - though balanced by age and gender almost 50/50 in speakers, conference goers, and facilitators (by impressive intention of its organizers), was (as pointed out on twitter by one of the few people of colour in attendance, an Oxford University student, Alejandro), filled with white, mostly British blood carriers. By pure pale view, at least 90% of the rewilding enthusiasts were white.
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While we all had come to be enchanted by the science, stories, and spirit the symposium benevolently bestowed, the hallway and table conversations outside the panels were shaped by a shared concern about attempting to transforming local landscapes without input and participation from the beautifully diverse populations our countries are made up of.

Before and while we attempt to rewild the world, we have to look at land, history, language, and culture, building the movement by intentional inclusivity of local communities through conscious collaboration. It seems so obvious, but once again, a majority middle-to-upper class white movement had risen up - and despite its completely positive intentions and conscious leaders, my skin sharers had unintentionally begun to repeat the mistakes of our ancestors. 
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The conference creators responded quickly and thoughtfully to Alejandro's tweet, inviting him to transform from conference attendee to conference presenter to have his voice heard beyond twitter’s limited word count.

His talk rang true to issues pointed out by people of colour in recent years in the zero waste, vegan, and minimalist movements.

In the case of rewilding specifically, people of colour, especially in countries like Canada, The United Kingdom and The United States, don’t necessarily have a connection to the land in the same way colonists or those native to the lands do. Most often, people of colour are forced to gravitate towards urban and suburban areas - where green spaces are undoubtedly lacking, and nature is ofen beyond reach and budget - because that's where jobs are. Furthermore, with people of colour being made so abundantly (and inaccurately) aware of their ‘foreignness’ in the current political climate (despite the fact all whites have a measurable track record of being the worst kind of ‘foreign’ there is), makes it hard to feel a sense of belonging to any land.
Dafydd Morris-Jones, People Of Colour, Rewilding, Zero Waste, Vegan, Sustainable, Minimalist, Eco Colonialism, Eco-Collonialism, Leotie Lovely, Indigenous Ecological Knowledge, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, Cambridge Conservation Forum, Rewilding and its Effects On Nature and People, Ethical Living, Sustainable Living, Eco Living, Rewild Uk, Rewild Europe, Rewild Yourself

Our bid to save nature by rewilding the landscape, our cities, and ourselves, ought to reflect the unified world in which we wish to live. This planet doesn't respond to single brush stroke solutions, it's diverse and requires a diverse approach in its healing. The only appropriate course of action ought to be collaborative, inclusive, intersectional, epathtic, and circular in communication, education, implementation, and policy - with decisions and opinions webbed with the wisdom of traditional and indigenous ecological knowledge.

If it is possible for us to fall back in Love with nature, it might also be possible for us to fall back in Love with one another as well - and rewilding, etched in its enchantments, could be one of many paths we can share to a truly more unified and greener future. 
Dafydd Morris-Jones, People Of Colour, Rewilding, Zero Waste, Vegan, Sustainable, Minimalist, Eco Colonialism, Eco-Collonialism, Leotie Lovely, Indigenous Ecological Knowledge, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, Cambridge Conservation Forum, Rewilding and its Effects On Nature and People, Ethical Living, Sustainable Living, Eco Living, Rewild Uk, Rewild Europe, Rewild Yourself

PHOTOS: Annie Spratt via Unsplash
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