Feral Book Summary By George Monbiot

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Feral (2013) is a thought-provoking book by George Monbiot that looks at what humans are missing in their day-to-day lives: nature and true wilderness.

In this book, Monbiot argues that certain areas should be left alone to rewild and allow natural life to return.

He believes that the benefits for the planet and for people will soon follow when this happens.

Feral is an analysis and a manifesto that provides an eye-opening look into the world of conservation and rewilding, offering valuable insight about how we can protect our environment for generations to come.

Feral Book

Book Name: Feral (Rewilding the Land, Sea and Human Life)

Author(s): George Monbiot

Rating: 4/5

Reading Time: 24 Minutes

Categories: Nature & the Environment

Author Bio

George Monbiot is a dedicated environmentalist and nature journalist with a strong background in zoology.

He first made his mark when working for environmentalist organizations across the United Kingdom and he's been a regular contributor to The Guardian ever since.

His books, such as Captive State and The Age of Consent, have gone on to become critically acclaimed works that have inspired many people around the world.

His passion for protecting the environment shines through in each and every one of his books, making him an author that you definitely need to know about!

Let’s Get Wild: The Benefits Of Re-Wilding And Why Nature Is An Essential Part Of The Human Psyche

Human Psyche

Are you looking for a way to connect to nature, get out of your comfort zone and see the world in a new light? George Monbiot has a solution: let’s make parts of countries wild again!

You might know of places like park or botanical gardens that are curated and managed.

True connection to wilderness may be missing from them.

Monbiot proposes that there are immense advantages if we get back to nature.

It’s something deeply embedded in our psyche and will positively effect local ecologies and ecosystems.

In his book, he explains the kind of fish not to touch in Britain, discusses how children interacted with nature 1,000 years ago and why bluebells blooming on the floor of woods isn’t necessarily a good thing.

When you get back to nature – without any interference from humans – you can experience real freedom and life seen from an entirely different perspective.

George Monbiot’s Discovery Of The Dark Side Of The Amazon Rainforest

Gold mining in the Brazilian rainforest is having a devastating impact on both the environment and the indigenous tribes.

Author George Monbiot experienced it first-hand, visiting gold mines in 1989 when he was working for an environmental organization.

The mining practices have caused immense damage to the forests – large tracts have been cleared of trees to make way for gold-rich river sediment.

The violence has been brutal, with clashes between miners and companies resulting in more than 1,500 people being shot during Monbiot’s six-month stay there.

The Yanomami tribes worst impacted by this, with diseases brought by miners claiming lives of 15 percent of their population.

Many others were shot or had their villages destroyed.

After finding a community living in traditional round houses, Monbiot witnessed similar scenes of sick lying on hammocks and elders rituals and dances trying to repel the sickness.

He contributed too by fixing roofs here but unfortunately there was no real solution he could provide due international calls for protection came too late as Yanomami’s population declined by 20 percent during the gold rush.

How Experiencing Different Cultures Helps Us Reexamine Our Priorities In Life

Feral, by George Monbiot, showcases the advantages and appealing qualities of an indigenous way of life for those brought up in the West.

During his travels to Brazil and Kenya, he was captivated by the culture of these communities and drew admiration from it.

For example, in Kenya he recalls his friend Toronkei making spontaneous decisions to run 35 miles to visit a friend.

In Western culture this would be unheard of; such a spontaneous decision would be met with multiple questions.

Monbiot came away convinced that there is much to be learned and gained by adopting some of the traits inherent in indigenous cultures: spontaneity and independence to name two.

In colonial times too colonists found they could not ignore their attraction towards indigenous lifestyles so much that prisoners taken captive sometimes chose never to return back into Western civilization.

Benjamin Franklin recounts stories of those who freely choose indigenous customs over the constraints associated with conformity in Europe.

Rewilding: Reconnecting With Nature To Overcome Environmental Boredom

Environmental Boredom

For the author of Feral, rewilding was the answer to finding a deeper connection with nature.

Rewilding involves protecting and setting aside natural areas so that nature can run its course without human interference.

This stands in contrast to modern protected areas which are often artificially created and managed like a rose garden.

True rewilding requires us to let these spaces be, allowing us to witness the surprises of nature, and reconciling our modern life with our innate affinity for nature.

Rewilding: Preserving Our Wild Nature While Living In The City

When it comes to rewilding, we don’t have to abandon civilization or return to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle.

In fact, in our current population, such a system is impossible as food simply isn’t available for everyone.

That’s why rewilding has been proposed as an alternative way to create natural spaces and bring wildlife back into areas that currently don’t have the capacity to be self-sustaining.

The key feature here is that these natural wild spaces will still allow people access; they won’t be closed off from society entirely.

Those areas that cannot sustain farming due to lack of resources such as highlands and mountainous regions could become havens of wildlife with plenty still to offer humans – allowing us all a chance to experience true wild nature without sacrificing our modern comforts.

Although this type of wilderness may come with some risks due to unpredictable animals and environments, the rewards far outweigh them in terms of how it can help us develop both tasks and skills outdoors.

We Should Cherish The Risky Rewards Of A Fishing Expedition

Fishing in the open sea is an incredible experience and although overfishing has taken a heavy toll on marine life, it’s still full of thrills and surprises.

For example, the author of Feral recently spent several hours fishing in Cardigan Bay off the coast of Wales.

Despite only snagging half a dozen mackerel, he was inspired by the sheer wildness of this corner of nature.

Data confirms how much overfishing has reduced catches – today’s fisherman only averages about two-hundred mackerel per hour compared to thousands that would have been caught years ago.

Although European Environmental Agency officially declared that the mackerel population isn’t endangered, this may be more to do with our lowered ecological standards than actual health of the fish populations.

Nevertheless, nature can still provide plenty of excitement even under these conditions.

While angling for mackerel one day, he accidentally got his hands on what appeared to be a stranger snake-like fish covered in flecks but soon realized that it was actually a dangerous greater weever whose spikes contain poisons enough to paralyze whatever limb touches them!

Still, he managed to take it away safely on board and enjoyed every moment of danger along with its adrenaline!

Rewilding The Environment: A Success Story Of The Severn Estuary In Wales

Success Story

Archaeological digs are incredible sources of knowledge about the past ecosystems.

They can tell us how humans and animals interacted in the distant past, which species were present in a particular region, and give us clues about which animals may be suitable for reintroduction into an area.

This was certainly true at the Severn Estuary in Wales, where archaeologists uncovered 8,000 years of mud deposits and fossilized saltmarsh.

Amongst the many bird tracks they discovered were some distinctive six-inch wide, three-pronged footprints that belonged to a crane – a species that had become extinct in Britain by the seventeenth century.

These large birds have wingspans of up to 8 feet, can fly beyond 32 000 feet up in the sky, and perform an entrancing courtship dance as they glide from low to high altitudes like paragliders.

Clearly ideal candidates for reintroduction!

So since 2009, efforts have been taken to gradually bring cranes back into wild areas of Britain.

As it turns out their reintroduction has been an astounding success thanks to archaeologists’ discoveries!

Do Wildcats Really Roam Britain’S Countryside? The Truth Behind The Mythical Beasts

In Britain, sightings of large cat predators are quite common.

Whether these animals are real or simply the result of wishful thinking is a question that remains to be answered.

What is clear, however, is that the people who report having seen these animals – wildlife protectors, zoologists, nature park officials and gamekeepers – are not amateur observers.

This leads some to believe that such sightings may be indicative of humans yearning for wilder times; an environment replete with dangerous and life-threatening predators.

After all, reports of melanistic leopards – dark instead of spotted – suggest a desire for something fantastical in these mundane times.

That people remain adamant about what they’ve seen speaks for itself.

Though no qualified researcher has been able to prove their existence with solid evidence like tracks, hairs or dens, it’s enough that people continue to witness these mythical creatures in the British countryside.

The Need For Governments To Step In And Protect Endangered Wild Animals

It’s a given fact: large animals are essential for maintaining vibrant, diverse ecosystems.

Without them, local environments suffer and – in extreme cases – can become dead zones with monocultures that diminish the beauty of nature.

Take the wild boar as an example; it lives in the woods and ensures that these ecosystems stay vigorous and diverse.

But because of governments failing to protect them, most British forests today are suffering from a blanket monoculture across the forest floor.

If you visit places like Białowieża Forest in Poland however, you’ll find there’s more variety and diversity due to hefty populations of wild boars who break up the earth which helps create little pools where other species can flourish.

It’s clear as day that if rewilding is to occur, these creatures have to be involved – but this isn’t going to happen without some help from governments.

Sadly though, UK governmental figures have done too little to protect them and it’s been left up to individual landowners who decide whether or not individual boars should live or die.

It goes without saying that this has largely been a disaster for their population growth.

Humans Need To Step Away And Let Nature Re-Achieve Its Natural Balance In Order To Achieve Rewilding

Natural Balance

If we want large animals to play a part in rewilding nature, conservationists need to step aside and let nature take its own course.

This means abandoning the idea that they can artificially order nature and make it stay the same.

Instead, they must embrace change by allowing nature to find its own balance and restore wilderness – something that cannot be achieved through conservation efforts alone.

This is best illustrated when looking at the unvarying grasslands of England.

It appears so dull because it has been kept this way for so many years due to sheep farming.

However, this is not natural, as the sheep themselves originally came from Mesopotamia and there isn’t a native predator to control their numbers.

To properly rewild nature in England, conservationists have to step back and allow for wildlife to emerge naturally – something only possible when humans stop intervening.

This could involve reducing sheep farming, introducing native predators back into an area and maintaining wild spaces without interference.

While this process may take time initially, eventually these measures will result in Britain’s verdant forest returning to its rich and varied state of wilderness once more.

Wrap Up

Feral by George Monbiot is a great book to get you thinking about the importance of reconnecting with nature.

The key message of the book is that if we want to prevent the complete loss of our wilderness areas, we should designate large regions as non-productive and let wild species, like wolves and bears, live there with minimal human interference.

But at the same time, we should also make sure these areas are open to people who want to explore and experience nature first hand.

In short, it’s all about finding a balance between leaving nature alone to run its course and encouraging people to take a step back from their everyday lives and visit the countryside.

So if you’re looking for an actionable piece of advice from this book—go take a trip to the countryside!

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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