To get a more appropriate and fruitful response in regards to re-wilding in urban areas, I decided to ask a long time friend Chris Nagy, who is a Wildlife Biologist in Westchester, New York about his opinion on the matter. Chris has completed work in New York City, which is why I thought he would be the perfect candidate to interview.
I asked him in an urban area like New York City what were the ways in which one would go about re- wilding it. He spoke about how re-wilding is a natural process thus if you leave a place alone it will be taken over by nature again eventually. “The trick is making it happen faster, and maybe making it happen better.” He went on to add that one can make it better by providing a habitat for particular animals they wish to help, or by providing ecosystem functions that are of particular interest. (Water filtration, fish spawning habitat) I then asked him how he thinks the public will react to that kind of action taking place in their neighborhoods. He answered with the following, “Anytime you remove something from public or private use, you will piss people off.” I couldn’t agree more, but I stressed if there is a balance that can be created where the city can become greener, and have people content at the same time? It just puzzles me that people would not want to help re-wild their homes, but I am also not surprised being that I reside in NYC, I understand, and observe how they think and act. Chris believed that this was the million-dollar question that needs to be answered. He viewed this as, “Do we have a choice?” He emphasized that we need to figure out a way to create this balance, or our children will have no clean water or healthy food, and we will inevitable witness the collapse of our civilization. Chris recommended that on a large scale we should get people involved to know where their food comes from, and get people to understand that a functioning environment is good for them, much more so than a good economy. He mentioned how high cancer rates; filthy air and water, and obesity levels are bad for the economy. “Having functioning ecosystems that clean your water, provide you with organic food, provide educational and inspirational potential, will increase our quality of life (and most of this stuff can be provided for free).
Chris gave me insight me into ways in which I can get people involved and on board to re-wild their homes. The key points are getting them to understand ways they can be affected by it. I am more then prepared to go out, and help create that balance between the wild and the rest of society.
– Alejandro Vinueza