When we lose our sense of connection and collective sight as a society to our origins and place within the environment, we unwittingly sign away the rights and the resources of the world we are a part of. We cease to exist as stewards, only taking from the earth as endless consumers, until one day, the bounty ends. Humanity has been exploiting the environment for decades; at first unaware, but later out of greed and callousness.
So it’s fitting that a recent Guardian article tells us about a World Wildlife Fund report that says by 2020, humanity will have contributed to the dying off of two-thirds of the planet’s wildlife population since 1958. Through deforestation, mining, and other forms of habitat loss or hunting, humans have stifled the astounding, life-giving diversity that allowed us to thrive as a species, interconnected with the environment that raised us.
The loss of diversity and wildlife is no small matter; instead defending these species is critical to fending off the catastrophic environmental destruction that will unfold over the next decades.
Take, for example, the wild horse. As the Bureau of Land Management debates whether or not to euthanize 45,000 wild horses currently held in captivity, no one seems to consider their benefits to the land as well as to the people. Each animal plays a specific role in the natural world and their participation in our environmental cycle. As our wild horses graze, they do not rip the roots of grass out of the ground, preventing their further growth. Instead, they clip it close to the ground, trimming the plains and ensuring the continued health of the land and the soil. If allowed to roam on adequate space, horses actually help to break up the top layer of dirt to allow seeds from plants to embed themselves allowing for an increase in forestation and plant life viability.
Humanity needs to reconsider, then, its relationship to the land and its inhabitants. This is a time for us to develop a greater understanding of the global connection between land and all things great and small.
Each year, the resources we consume take an estimated 1.5 years to replenish. Instead of taking the resources of 1.5 earths every year, we must work to rewild ourselves – and get closer to the finite, delicate, beautiful land that we inhabit. This means reining in our consumption, both in our own lives and as a society; working together with a united voice against big business interests that exploit our land and its resources and further exasperate our endangered species. How do we balance what we want against what the planet and the life on it can produce?
Rewilding our world requires little: simply to make choices in our personal lives that value balance and harmony with the environment and the wildlife on it. We must think beyond the conventional terms of “success” and think for the sustainable future of many generations. Large initiatives, both politically and environmentally, must also be undertaken. CANA Foundation initiatives work towards long-term, sustainable solutions that prevent further land degradation, protect and preserve wild horse populations, and encourage a beneficial, thriving ecosystem for today, and tomorrow.