Baker is forthright and unforgiving in his belief that we, as a species, have so fundamentally disconnected ourselves from the natural world that we have become ‘ecologically intolerant’, hence the fierce opposition in some quarters to the rewilding movement. If we can’t allow a few plants and/or insects to run wild in our gardens, he argues, what chance do we have of restoring species such as beavers, wolves, or lynx?
Therefore, he makes the logical step of moving this subject beyond merely the restoration of flora and fauna, and explores the ways in which we – as a species once well adapted for life in the wild – could physically train ourselves to become ‘rewilded’. Ultimately, it’s all about senses. He wants us to see, hear, smell, taste and feel the natural world, to wake up our ape brains and open our metaphorical eyes to the ecosystems which thread themselves through our daily lives. Furthermore, citing the growing awareness of so-called ‘nature deficit disorder’, he passionately argues (with brutally honest personal anecdotes) that a lack of natural contact due to ‘the stresses and pressures of modern life’ is behind the growing mental health phenomenon.
For anyone new to rewilding, this is a well-crafted introduction, with simple day-to-day advice anyone can follow. It’s less George Monbiot’s vision for a ‘Serengeti on our doorstep’, or any other grand reintroductions of species which often float into this conversation, and more about learning to reawaken our human senses, and recognise the diversity of wildlife we already possess.