Today, the issue of safeguarding wild nature is one of the most crucial topics on the ecological agenda. J.B. MacKinnon devoted his article The Age of Rewilding to the concept of rewilding. Today wild nature is in decline because species continue to decrease every year (MacKinnon 154-155). Humanity makes various efforts to protect the environment, but they are not enough. There are various concepts on how to preserve wild nature, like conservation or restoration. However, the best concept of how to change the status quo is called rewilding.
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Rewilding in J.B. MacKinnon’s Opinion
One of the ways to save wildlife is conservation, which implies safeguarding wild animals and their natural habitats to preserve populations and improve ecosystems. However, according to J.B. MacKinnon, conservation obtains several flaws – among them is the fact that it proposes to separate nature from people (MacKinnon 156). Instead, in The Age of Rewilding’s author offers another method, “rewilding”. It comprises the practice of recreating a wilder planet at different levels. It alludes not only to the concept of reintroducing extinct species to habitats that had previously been devoid of them and creating “corridors” between wild areas to prevent them from being isolated. It also means that it is in the hands of people to make the planet wilder, to bring it closer to its original condition. This change, as per MacKinnon, should address the habitats of both wild species and humans.
‘A Rainforest is Not a Fashion That Can Be Left Behind by New Tastes and Ideas’
The notion of restoration implies the return to the Earth’s original natural state. The critics of this practice claim that it is impossible to make the planet as wild as it was millions of years ago because the current continental wildlife has been greatly modified by human beings. Moreover, nature, as said by MacKinnon, “is not historical,” meaning that it is out of time (MacKinnon 157). Every living thing on the planet is contemporary, and the essence of nature remains unchanged. Restoration should aim to recreate the planet’s natural gist rather than its previous appearance. As a result, conservation ideally entails unlocking the potential of wildlife, forging strong bonds between man and nature, and striving to rewild the planet.
Is It Acceptable to Kill Members of One Species to Save Others?
The Galápagos Islands truly have one of the unique faunas in the world, due to their isolation from the rest of the world. However, when people started to colonize the islands, they brought with them foreign fauna, like dogs, cats, goats, etc. (MacKinnon 160). As a result, the unique species of local tortoises were in danger of extinction. To not allow that to happen, people decided to wipe out all of the foreign animals (MacKinnon 161-162). It helped to restore the population of tortoises but the moral basis of such a program is very debatable. Even though humanity managed to save very unique species, they did not have the right to kill animals. It was unnecessary because they could transfer these populations to other continents. It would be more expansive, but it would be humane. People can control the population of animals in wild nature, but it should be done in a civilized manner and any animal genocide is impermissible.
To conclude, the ideas that J.B. MacKinnon describes in his article The Age of Rewilding offer a new solution to the problem of preservation of wild nature. It is different from the concept of conservation because it suggests the removal of borders between wilderness and human habitats. Also, it is not the same as the idea of restoration, because humanity is unable to recreate wild nature as it was before. However, rewilding suggests that people should take efforts to make the environment correspond with the essence of wildlife. Also, humanity in its efforts should not in any way bring any harm to local nature. That is why the concept of rewilding can be used by governments and environmentalists to take care of wild nature.
MacKinnon, James Bernard. The Once and Future World: Nature as It Was, as It Is, as It Could Be. Toronto, Vintage Canada, 2013.