Contributed by Caitlin Weatherstone, Big Scrub Landcare
We all know that nature is good for us. We can feel it every time we go for a walk, swim at the beach, dig into the dirt and sleep under the stars. Our society’s quest for progress has seen us divert further from nature, as we put up our four walls and see more children being diagnosed with ‘nature deficit disorder’. Nature is the forgotten necessity in the recipe of life. With modern life’s technological advances, we are seemingly more connected to each other, but we feel more disconnected to ourselves and our wild roots than ever before.
Rewilding has been proposed as a remedy for this deficiency of nature. Originally a term used by ecologists, ‘rewilding’ refers to the process of restoring landscapes back to their natural state. Rewilding can also occur in us humans, the difference being that there is a focus on rewilding our inner landscapes. This process involves connecting us with our past and recognising that we are human animals that were once capable of surviving (and thriving) in the wilds of Africa.
Rewilding in our modern world isn’t easy. With technological devices attached to us like extra limbs, how do we switch off? How do we find our wild? What does that even mean? The answer lies in disconnecting. Disconnect to reconnect. I’m not suggesting that we all go back to our caveman ways and ditch our smart phones, don loincloths and run around in the forest! On a societal level, I am proposing that we disconnect from our modern ideals in order for the human race to move forward sustainably. We need to reconnect back in with Mother Nature, others and ourselves in order to find our wild (and our sanity) again.
My six steps to getting wild:
- Get outdoors
Adventure in nature frequently. Find a new waterfall, tree, beach, path, dune, creek or forest every weekend. Appreciate nature’s beauty and breathe in the fresh O2.
- Get barefoot
Whilst on the above nature adventure, take your shoes off. Literally ground yourself.
- Get natural
Ditch the chemical-laden cosmetics, products and foods. Go organic, local, sustainable, natural and wholesome.
- Get crafting
Learn traditional bush skills. It’s a great way to connect to nature, get your hands dirty and encourage self-sufficiency away from modern technology.
- Get connecting
For at least one hour a day and a whole day on the weekend, turn your phone onto flight mode (aka. off) and actually connect with someone or someplace: yourself, your local magpie, your mum, a patch of forest, your child, a tree, your best friend or partner.
- Get a sisterhood/brotherhood
Share the wild love! Organise nature adventures, skill-share workshops and nature gatherings for your tribe.
I challenge you to disconnect, reconnect and rewild your lives. Nature is calling you back. Some of the pleasant side effects of rewilding may include feelings of self-love, confidence, calmness and resilience, you’re actually nicer to people and have a greater respect for all living things, you can craft all sorts of wonders with your hands and you are guaranteed epic adventures in nature. You may even make some new wild friends (animal and human), your legs may be stronger (and hairier), your feet dirtier and your grin wider!
Caitlin Weatherstone is a Big Scrub Landcare member, local Wildlife Ecologist and Environmental Educator based in the Byron Shire. She will be running 2x Nature Connection Workshops – one for adults and one for teens – as part of the Big Scrub Rainforest Day 2019 celebrations on Saturday 21st September in Byron Bay.
Bookings essential at www.wildsearchaustralia.com.au.