Wildness was once integral to our ancestor’s lives as they struggled to survive in an unpredictable environment. Today, most of us live in relative stability insulated from the vicissitudes of nature. Wildness is over, right? Wrong, argues leading environmental scholar Paul Wapner. Wildness may have disappeared from our immediate lives, but it’s been catapulted up to the global level. The planet itself has gone into spasm – calving glaciers, wildfires, heatwaves, mass extinction, and rising oceans all represent the new face of wildness.
Rejecting paths offered by geoengineering and de-extinction to bring the Earth under control, Wapner calls instead for ‘rewilding’. This involves relinquishing the desire for comfort at all costs and welcoming greater uncertainty into our own lives. To save ourselves from global ruin, it is time to stop sanitizing and exerting mastery over the world and begin living humbly in it.