Are we making ourselves miserable by neglecting our wild side?

Science

01 april 2020
Article
Auteur(s): Stephanie Bayancela
Rewilding is about reconnecting with nature in a modern society that tends to stray away from it.

by Stephanie Bayancela

Contributing Writer

Our modern sterile, enclosed and homogeneous environments clash with the open chaos that nature usually portrays. But we tend to forget that we are part of nature ourselves. 

Erica Wohldmann, a cognitive psychologist from UCLA, states that: we modern humans are not well adapted to the environments we have created simply because biology does not evolve as fast as technology. Further studies show indeed that the human brain developed while moving in nature; chasing or being chased, touching, tasting, and hearing. Abilities like color vision developed for humans to be able to differentiate poisonous from edible plants. 

Stress, depression, diabetes and heart diseases are linked directly to our modern artificial lives.

On the other hand, frequent exposure to nature has shown to increase memory, attention, creativity, mood, and to reduce the healing process after surgical interventions (Wohldmann, 2016; Sanchez et al, 2016).

George Monbiot, former investigative journalist and now a columnist for The Guardian, book author and  Rewilding   campaigner claims that we are ecologically bored. Stating that humans evolved in a world of horns, tusks, fangs and claws; and despite finding ourselves free from these threats now, we still possess the fear, courage and aggression from those times. While our isolated, comfortable, and safe lives provide us with few opportunities to express our primitive side without harming others. Monbiot encourages the study of paleoecology to understand our past ecosystems and our role within them, as well as to push forward  Rewilding  and re-greening efforts with the purpose of letting wilderness share our lands, in order to heal our world and ourselves in the process (Gross, 2013). 

Rewilding is a term that was coined in the 1990s, and as explained by Monbiot has two meanings. The first involving the mass restoration of ecosystems through interventions that starts at the top of a food chain and ripples down to the bottom, uplifting the entire ecosystem. And the second, involving the rewilding of humans’ lands, by restoring some of the fauna extinct from hunting and habitat destruction. The arguments behind it range from ecological concerns, to moral principles, but also as a way to attain human wellbeing and accomplishment. 

To rewild stands as an approach of caring for the natural land as an extension of ourselves.

3 steps to reconnect with our wild side

  1. It is well known that processed foods are far from good for our health. Simply adding more whole, organic foods like fruits and vegetables can help our bodies heal and feel better.
  2. Move naturally. Trying to recreate the way our ancestors moved might be the best for our biomechanics. Running, jumping obstacles, climbing trees, swimming, lifting things, are among the most advised exercises.
  3. Spend as much time outside as possible. Either eating outside, reading, camping, exercising. Every moment outside does not only make us healthier but also happier.