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Feral: Searching for enchantment on the frontiers of rewilding
 
 

Feral: Searching for enchantment on the frontiers of rewilding [Kindle Edition]

George Monbiot
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Pressestimmen

Feral has really opened my mind to the history and possibilities of our landscape. It reflects a very real need in us all right now to be released from our claustrophobic monoculture and sense of powerlessness. To break the straight lines into endless branches. To free our land from its absent administrators. To rewild both the landscape and ourselves. It is the most positive and daring environmental book I have read. In order to change our world you have to be able to see a better one. I think George has done that (Thom Yorke)

Part personal journal, part rigorous (and riveting) natural history, but above all unbridled vision for a less cowed, more self-willed planet, this is a book that will change the way you think about the natural world, and your place in it. Big, bold and beautifully written, his vision of a rewilded world is, well, truly captivating (Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall)

It could not be more rigorously researched, more elegantly delivered, or more timely. We need such big thinking for our own sakes and those of our children. Bring on the wolves and whales, I say, and, in the words of Maurice Sendak, let the wild rumpus start (Philip Hoare Sunday Telegraph (Book of the Week))

The world knows George Monbiot mostly from his powerful and perceptive journalism. But this is a whole different order of writing and thinking, a primal account of an unstifled world (Bill McKibben)

George Monbiot is always original - both in the intelligence of his opinions and the depth and rigour of his research. In this unusual book he presents a persuasive argument for a new future for the planet, one in which we consciously progress from just conserving nature to actively rebuilding it (Brian Eno)

A Book of Revelations for our times (Farley Mowat)

[Praise for George Monbiot]: A dazzling command of science and a relentless faith in people (Naomi Klein)

Kurzbeschreibung

In Feral, George Monbiot, one of the world's most celebrated radical thinkers, and the author of Captive State, Heat, The Age of Consent and Amazon Watershed, follows his own hunger for new environmental experiences, in a riveting tale of possibility and travel with wildlife and wild people



'The suburbs dream of violence. Asleep in their drowsy villas, sheltered by benevolent shopping malls, they wait patiently for the nightmares that will wake them into a more passionate world' J. G. Ballard



How many of us sometimes feel that we are scratching at the walls of this life, seeking to find our way into a wider space beyond? That our mild, polite existence sometimes seems to crush the breath out of us?



Feral is the lyrical and gripping story of George Monbiot's efforts to re-engage with nature and discover a new way of living. He shows how, by restoring and rewilding our damaged ecosystems on land and at sea, we can bring wonder back into our lives.



Making use of some remarkable scientific discoveries, Feral lays out a new, positive environmentalism, in which nature is allowed to find its own way. From the seas of north Wales, where he kayaks among feeding frenzies of dolphins and seabirds, to the forests of Eastern Europe, where lynx stalk and packs of wolves roam, George Monbiot shows how rewilding could repair the living planet, creating ecosystems in the UK as profuse and captivating as any around the world. Already, large wild animals are beginning to spread back across Europe, and fin whales, humpback whales and bluefin tuna are returning to the seas around Britain.



Feral is a work of hope and of revelation; a wild and bewitching adventure that argues for a mass restoration of the natural world - and a powerful call for us to reclaim our own place in it.



'Feral has really opened my mind to the history and possibilities of our landscape. It reflects a very real need in us all right now to be released from our claustrophobic monoculture and sense of powerlessness. To break the straight lines into endless branches. To free our land from its absent administrators. To rewild both the landscape and ourselves. It is the most positive and daring environmental book I have read. In order to change our world you have to be able to see a better one. I think George has done that'


-Thom Yorke



'Part personal journal, part rigorous (and riveting) natural history, but above all unbridled vision for a less cowed, more self-willed planet, this is a book that will change the way you think about the natural world, and your place in it. Big, bold and beautifully written, his vision of a rewilded world is, well, truly captivating'


-Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall



'The world knows George Monbiot mostly from his powerful and perceptive journalism. But this is a whole different order of writing and thinking, a primal account of an unstifled world'


-Bill McKibben



'George Monbiot is always original - both in the intelligence of his opinions and the depth and rigour of his research. In this unusual book he presents a persuasive argument for a new future for the planet, one in which we consciously progress from just conserving nature to actively rebuilding it'


-Brian Eno



'A Book of Revelations for our times'


-Farley Mowat



George Monbiot studied zoology at Oxford, but his real education began when he travelled to Brazil in his twenties and joined the resistance movement defending the land of peasant farmers. Since then he has spent his career as a journalist and environmentalist, working with others to defend the natural world he loves. His celebrated Guardian columns are syndicated all over the world. Monbiot is the author of the bestselling books Captive State, The Age of Consent, Bring on the Apocalypse and Heat, as well as the investigative travel books Poisoned Arrows, Amazon Watershed and No Man's Land. Among the many prizes he has won is the UN Global 500 award for outstanding environmental achievement, presented to him by Nelson Mandela.


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5.0 von 5 Sternen George Monbiot shows the way 30. November 2013
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Unfortunately, humans do make mistakes, time and time again. One of them, is describing places as nature, when they are obviously not. You see it everywhere. Places which have not been natural in development for decades or hundreds of years. Simply because we have not really seen places which are wild, I mean, places left to themselves. Left to develop without humans.

I keeping with this, George explains what happens, when long extinct creatures are reintroduced to areas, like the Yellowstone, for example. A very enlightening read.
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Amazon.com: 4.1 von 5 Sternen  14 Rezensionen
23 von 24 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen 'A raucous summer...' 5. Juni 2013
Von FictionFan - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
In the past few years, I feel I have been observing a welcome note of commonsense and even optimism creeping into the arguments of some of our leading environmentalists. In this book Monbiot, while proposing ambitious and doubtless controversial ideas, confirms that impression.

Feral is his story of why and how he has come to believe that the future for nature conservancy is to stop conserving - to sit back, release the brakes and go on a wild ride with nature in the driving seat. He calls this process 'rewilding'.

'Rewilding recognises that nature consists not just of a collection of species but also of their ever-shifting relationships with each other and with the physical environment. It understands that to keep an ecosystem in a state of arrested development, to preserve it as if it were a jar of pickles, is to protect something which bears little relationship to the natural world.'

He scared me in the first couple of chapters. It seemed as if he had turned into a mini-Welsh version of Crocodile Dundee (Grass-snake Aberystwyth?) as he regaled us with tales of tracking and killing his prey with his bare hands and then eating it raw - it was a mackerel! When he set out to harpoon flounders with a trident, I genuinely thought he'd lost it; and when he became mushily sentimental over initiation rites for an African tribesman that involved tormenting and killing a lion, I nearly gave up on him.

However, the point that he then went on to make eloquently and convincingly is that humanity has lost something precious by its disconnect with the wild world and that we in the UK have taken that disconnect to further extremes than most. He isn't arguing for a return to the world of hunter/gatherer (although the first couple of chapters made it seem as if he was about to). But he is arguing for the return of at least parts of the country to true, unmanaged wilderness status and for the reintroduction of some of the top predators - wolves, for example - arguing that trophic cascades show that such predators can have often unexpected effects on biodiversity and environment and thus are an important part of any rewilding project. However he maintains a sense of realism and commonsense, making it clear that his suggestions should only be implemented with the informed consent of the people, and wryly admits that his attitude towards the introduction of top predators may not be universally shared.

'The clamour for the lion's reintroduction to Britain has, so far, been muted.'

Along the way, Monbiot gives us a history of why our landscape is as it now is. He blames sheep-farming for the bareness of our hills and points out that the sheep is a non-native species to the UK. He talks about the vested interests of farmers and landlords and how these seem to be given excessive weight, considering the comparatively small numbers of people employed in farming and the huge subsidies required to make it economical. He points to the somewhat symbiotic relationship between farming organisations and government and suggests this leads to suppression of real debate around the subject of land use. And his anger shows through as he discusses how the subsidy schemes of the EU continue to distort and warp the productivity of the land.

There is so much packed into this book that I can only give a pale impression of its scope in this review. Monbiot discusses the damage that an uncontrolled red deer population is doing to the landscape in the Highlands of Scotland; the adverse effect on childhood health (not to mention imagination) of the more indoors, sedentary lifestyle of today's child; the reasons for the growth of the myth of big cat sightings around the country; the Nazis' adoption and corruption of the concept of rewilding. He explains the effects that Shifting Baseline Syndrome has had on the debate over the years - that because 'the people of every generation perceive the state of the ecosystems they encountered in their childhood as normal' then attempts are made to conserve back to a state of nature that was already seriously degraded.

Towards the end of the book he extends his arguments for rewilding to include the seas, building on the arguments put forward so impressively by Callum Roberts (whose Ocean of Life I heartily recommend) that areas set aside as protected zones actually lead to greater fishing productivity rather than reducing it. And as he set off in his kayak in the final chapter to hunt the newly returned albacore, I no longer felt that he'd 'lost it' but that, perhaps, if we listen to what people like Monbiot and Roberts are saying, there's still hope that the rest of us may 'find it'.

'Environmentalism in the twentieth century foresaw a silent spring, in which the further degradation of the biosphere seemed inevitable. Rewilding offers the hope of a raucous summer, in which, in some parts of the world at least, destructive processes are thrown into reverse.'

NB This book was provided for review by the publisher.
8 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen UK-centric, but interesting 2. Juli 2013
Von Michael Schmidt - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
At first I wondered why there was no US edition of this book, but I soon found out by reading the book. It is very much directed at the ecological and political realities of the UK. It makes one glad to live in the US, where at least we have some wilderness to preserve.

What I liked best about the book was that Monbiot didn't fall into a number of intellectual traps which wilderness-oriented folks often fall into. He did a good job of addressing possible criticisms of his point of view, even to the extent of meeting personally with an opponent and presenting the opponent's views with a lot of sympathy. If all controversial positions were put forward with as much caution and qualification as Monbiot lavishes on his position in <i>Feral</i>, we could look forward to better resolutions to all sorts of important contemporary issues.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen A 500-Decibel Alarm Clock 24. Oktober 2013
Von Richard Reese (author of Sustainable or Bust) - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Beneath the pavement in London, archaeologists have found the bones of hippos, elephants, giant deer, giant aurochs, and lions. The Thames watershed was once a gorgeous, thriving, wild paradise. In the early Mesolithic, the western seaboard of Europe, from Scotland to Spain, was covered by a magnificent rainforest. Europe was once a thriving wild paradise.

Evolution created utterly fantastic masterpieces. The megafauna of the Americas grew to enormous size, in the absence of too-clever two-legged tool addicts. Ground sloths weighed as much as elephants. Beavers were the size of bears. The Argentine roc had a 26-foot wingspan (8 m). All of them vanished between 15,000 and 10,000 years ago, about the time you-know-who arrived, with their state of the art hunting technology.

On a damp gray dawn, the English writer George Monbiot woke up screaming once again. He suffers from a chronic spiritual disease that he calls ecological boredom. Living amidst endless crowds of two-legged strangers can become unbearably unpleasant for sensitive people with minds. Human souls can only thrive in unmolested wildness (the opposite of England). He leaped out of bed, packed his things, and moved to the coast of Wales, where there was more grass than concrete. He hoped that this would exorcise his demons.

They weren't demons. Obviously, ecological boredom is a healthy and intelligent response to the fierce madness of twenty-first century life, and it's curable. What's needed to break this curse is a holy ceremony called rewilding. During five years of country living in Wales, Monbiot wrote Feral, to explain his voyage and vision. It's a 500-decibel alarm clock.

Humans were wild animals for millions of years. In the last few thousand years, we've declared war on wild ecosystems, in our whacked out crusade to domesticate everything everywhere, and lock Big Mama Nature in a maximum-security zoo. Rewilding is about throwing this sick, suicidal process into reverse.

It's about allowing long extinct woodlands to become healthy thriving forests once again. It's about reintroducing the wild beings that have been driven off the land -- bear, bison, beavers -- a sacred homecoming. It's about creating marine reserves so aquatic species have places of refuge from the insane gang rape of industrial fishing. Importantly, it's about introducing our children to the living planet of their birth.

Wales was a land of lush forests 2,100 years ago. Today, it's largely a mix of sheep pasture and other assorted wastelands. One day, Monbiot climbed to a hilltop in the Cambrian Mountains, where he could see for miles. He noted a few distant Sitka spruce tree farms, and a bit of scrubby brush, but otherwise, "across that whole, huge view, there were no trees. The land had been flayed. The fur had been peeled off, and every contoured muscle and nub of bone was exposed."

Some folks now call it the Cambrian Desert, whilst shameless tourism hucksters refer to it as one of the largest wilderness areas in the U.K. To Monbiot, rural Wales is a heartbreaking sheepwreck, reduced to ecological ruins by the white plague -- countless dimwitted furry freaks from Mesopotamia that gobble the vegetation down to the roots, and prevent forest recovery.

One day, Monbiot met a brilliant young sheep rancher, Dafydd Morris-Jones, who had no sympathy for rewilding at all. His family had been raising sheep on this land for ages. Every rock in the valley had a name, and his uncle remembered all of them. Allowing the forest to return would amount to cultural genocide, snuffing out the traditional indigenous way of life, and erasing it forever.

I had great sympathy for Dafydd's view. In 1843, my great-grandfather, Richard E. Rees, was born in the parish of Llangurig, Wales -- deep in the heart of sheep country. His mother was a handloom weaver. They lived down the road from the wool mill in Cwmbelan. My ancestors survived for many generations by preventing the return of the forest, deer, and boars, by preventing an injured land from healing. Of course, for the last several thousand years, none of my ancestors had been wild people -- they suffered from the tremendous misfortune of having been born in captivity.

Every generation perceives the world of their childhood as the normal state, the ideal. Many don't comprehend that the ecosystem was badly damaged long before they were born. What they accept as normal might give their grandparents nightmares. Monbiot refers to this shortsightedness as Shifting Baseline Syndrome. The past is erased by mental blinders. Each generation adapts to an ongoing pattern of decline. Humans have an amazing tolerance for crowding, filth, and stress. The result is the wounded wheezing world you see around you.

Monbiot gushes with excitement when describing the amazing changes that followed the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone Park. They promptly corrected deer overpopulation, which led to forest regeneration, which led to healthier streams, which led to more fish. When they reduced the coyotes, the result was more rabbits, mice, hawks, weasels, boxes, badgers, eagles, and ravens.

A number of European organizations are promoting rewilding. Pan Parks has protected 240,000 hectares (593,000 acres), and is working on a million more. Wild Europe is working to create wildlife corridors across the continent. Rewilding Europe promotes the reintroduction of missing species). Pleistocene Park in Siberia is reintroducing many species in a 160 sq. km. park (62 sq. mi.), which it plans to expand to 600 sq. km. (232 sq. mi.).

In continental Europe, the rewilding movement is building momentum. Wolves, bears, bison, and beavers have begun the path to recovery. Not every effort succeeds -- Italy reintroduced two male lynx, and the cute couple mysteriously failed to produce offspring. Britain and Ireland remain out to lunch. Most of the land is owned by wealthy elites who are obsessed with preserving a "tidy" looking countryside -- treeless and profoundly dreary. They enjoy recreational hunting, and wolves would spoil their fun.

Monbiot delights in goosing every sacred cow along his path, and readers of many varieties are sure to foam at the mouth and mutter naughty obscenities. For me, Feral had a few zits, but they don't sink the book. He leads us to the mountaintop and allows us to view the world from above the haze of assumptions, illusions, and fantasies. Who are we? Where is our home? Where are we going?

He rubs our noses in the foul messes we've made, hoping we'll learn from our accidents and grow. He confronts us with big important issues that we've avoided for far too long -- the yucky stoopid stuff we're doing for no good reason. I like that. This is important. He recommends intriguing alternatives to stoopid. It's about time.

Richard Adrian Reese
Author of "What Is Sustainable" and "Sustainable or Bust"
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Bold, visionary, yet ... 22. August 2013
Von Michael Jessopp - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
I love the concept behind rewilding - handing back control of nature to nature, if you will, but I'm still not sold on the idea of reintroducing species long gone. I think we lack the ability to accurately assess the impacts of such actions - and the book itself details many examples where this has gone horribly wrong.

The book was very well researched, and well written, although the author, at times, got a little too verbose in sections - a paring back of the language would, in places, make the material a little easier to digest.

This book has made it onto my favourite list because of its bold vision.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Fascinating, original hypotheses 31. Oktober 2013
Von Shane Skeldon - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
When Mr. Monbiat writes about wandering about Wales, or former Eastern Bloc countries, I find his language over-descriptive and cumbersome; he is obviously intelligent, but prefers to flaunt his vocabulary over telling a cogent story. However, when he delves into the science of rewilding the planet, his storytelling soars. Feel free to skip about this utterly original, gripping read, and focus on the cutting edge ecological science.
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