Posted in Book ReviewNourishWonder

ReWild: The Art of Returning to Nature — A Review

We were recently sent a review copy of this new book by naturalist and longtime wildlife observer Nick Baker. In general, I have to say it’s a great book and adds another perspective to the current glut of books from naturalists, conservationists and biologists pleading with us to stop destroying the natural world. Most of us are very aware that all is not right with the natural world but are still not doing much to change the situation or even our own behaviour. When it comes to ecological disaster most of us feel powerless and disconnected. That is why this work is so valuable. Rewild is about “our relationship with nature and how we re-evaluate our place next to it”.

The book is a lot more practical than it may sound. Nick takes us through our senses explaining how they work and how we can use them to understand and connect with the natural world more deeply. He believes that people who understand and interact with nature will be driven to save and restore it. On this point, I agree with him. It saddens me that most children cannot identify a Kingfisher or spot an oak tree. Many adults are not much better. If we don’t know something it is hard for us to understand what is happening to it. This is dangerous when the thing we don’t understand is our home, our planet. When we feel close to other species we tend to have developed compassion for all life this is what the world needs.

The chapter on seeing is particularly helpful if you would like to learn how to get out into nature and start to spot wildlife and plants. It takes practice and there are skills you need to hone. There are exercises in the book such as learning to see at night and using de-focus techniques to spot movement. Nick Baker would like us all to be wondering through woodlands barefoot, sniffing leaves and tracking birds or mammals and with this book, he teaches us how to do this. I love that he concentrates on sensory experience and how valuable that it.

We have recently moved from the countryside to the city and reading the chapter about watching badgers made me shed a few tears. I am missing the woodland and the river we used to live alongside. I miss waking to birdsong. I miss being able to sit in my garden and just be. I miss the squirrels and all the birds who visited our feeder. We had names for them all and they felt like family. The point of this book though is that we all can find the wild wherever we are and that we need to so, in the end, I felt uplifted and determined to find wild in the city of Glasgow.

If you long to spend more time outside then this book is for you. If you find spending time in nature boring then this book is for you. If you wish you could name a few trees and understand the countryside better then this book is for you. I am a pretty seasoned nature lover. I hike and I spend a lot of time exploring woodlands but I still learned lots from this book. Nick Baker has been obsessed with nature since he was a small boy. He understands it and he understands why we need it so I think we all have lots to learn from his writing.



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