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My guest for this episode is Peter Michael Bauer, who returns to share with us his thoughts on the distinction between human versus conservation rewilding, and a critique of what they get right and what they get wrong as we develop the understanding and language to discuss these broad, far reaching views on how to undo domestication of people and of the land. Peter also shares a bit more detail on the nature of rewilding, how people come to this subject through different movements, and how the nature of un-domesticating humanity is still something being explored, because each of us exists in the modern world and with that face different choices framed by the larger culture we are a part of. Quite a bit just to introduce where the conversation goes, while still barely scratching the surface of what we cover.
You can find more of his work at his personal website, Urban Scout. Peter is also a regular contributor to rewild.com and the Rewild Facebook group, and his educational nonprofit is rewildportland.com.
A few announcements, before my thoughts that close out this episode.
The first is that in order to make mobile browsing easier, especially through podcast apps like iTunes, there is now a resource section in this episode with clear links to all the information and offerings mentioned in the episode so you don’t have to look for in-line links to find anything. You can expect to find this as a regular feature in episodes moving forward, and I’ll backfill older episodes as time allows.
As this show comes out there are just over three weeks remaining until the drawing for the permaculture design course at Joshua Peaceseeker’s farm, Verdenergia, in Costa Rica. You can still enter, but the drawing is limited to not more than 50 entries, so get yours in soon.
I am also running a listener only crowdfunding campaign to support a trip to The Possibility Alliance (should I call it The Possibility Handbook?) where Ethan Hughes and I sit down to record tens of hours of audio for the creation of a book that digs in deeper to his philosophy and perspective. If you like Ethan’s interviews support this project by making a pledge today.
Adam Brock is also writing, People and Pattern, which has a crowdfunding campaign that ends on Friday, November 6. Let’s push his goal way over the top by supporting this project. You can find out more about his work on social and economic permaculture by listening to our interview from 2013, Invisible Structures with Adam Brock.
If you’d like to get in touch with me and the show, call 717-827-6266 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Final among these announcements, there is a bit of swearing near the end in this conversation, just to let you know in case you listen at work.
I entered this conversation with only a cursory knowledge of conservation rewilding and speaking with Peter reinforced a simple point that is made self-evident with permaculture: people are a part of all the systems we design. Even as we might work to design ourselves out of direct impact, the act of design is a human practice. So is reintroducing wolves to the American Midwest. Yes, they were once native there and we removed them, but we also changed the environment they are returning to. The place they came from will never be what we might project onto it through our vision and actions.
This kind of influence is not limited to the modern era. We have an anthropological and historical record that stretches back for tens of thousands of years that shows that humanity modified the environment for our use. We are social animals and tool makers with big brains and an intelligence that allows us to change the world. Let’s use that gift for the benefit of all life, starting with our own.
Question the cultural stories you hear, including the news and the beliefs you grew up with. See how those narratives serve the hierarchies that seeks to keep you tame. Reconnect with the land, even the heavily modified city environments. Find what lives there, what grows there. Get to know the names of the plants, animals, and fungi so you can learn more about them, including the yields useful to you and other life, but remember that the name is not the subject being named and there is more than we can hold in our thoughts. As you do this, tend to that space, care for the life that inhabits the area, including your family, friends, and neighbors. Share food and new stories together. Take action in the ways you are able, but put yourself out there. Make some noise. Show others what they are capable of. Show how they can tend themselves and the land.
We are more than the worst decisions our culture ever made. Let’s go make some better ones, that takes care of earth, ourselves, and each other.
Rewilding North America by Dave Foreman
The Biggest Estate on Earth by Bill Gammage
Tending the Wild by M. Kat Anderson
Restoring the Pacific Northwest
Feral by George Monbiot
Keeping it Living, edited by Doug Deur and Nancy Turner
Tom Brown, Jr.
Reclaim Rewild (scribd)