Wilding by Isabella Tree: A Book Review and Discussion

Book reviews are not something I usually do on this blog, but I wanted to bring this book to your attention (if you haven't heard of it already!), because I believe it is such an important book. It can teach us so much about sustainablility, the planet we live on, and how we might think about moving forwards as we tackle a rapidly declining eco-system and climate change. This book made me cry with utter despair, but also at the utter beauty of what Isabella and her husband Charlie have done at Knepp. It's not often I agree with cover quotes, but I agree here - this book is both inspirational and hugely important. I'll go into why below.

A brief summary of this book is such: When Isabella and her husband Charlie found themselves in charge of a failing farm and hugely in debt, they took a massive leap of faith and handed all of their land back to nature. They stopped farming, spraying the land with chemicals, trying to siphon off the water in the clay etc, and instead they let nature take its course, adding in grazing animals and re-sowing native wildflower seeds to encourage one of the most diverse eco-systems in the UK today. By managing the land in a new way, they have helped rare and almost extinct species to actually multiply at their home in Knepp Castle in West Sussex. This book is the story of how they have done that.


Filled with new and exciting information, counter-intuitive wisdom that I would not have believed real if not for the results they are looking at, and vivid imagery that takes you into their world, this book is right at the forefront of the sustainability debate. It debunks myths and long-held beliefs, not by scoffing or through grandiose claims of miracles, but through facts, consistency and results all told in a direct manner with a clarity of thought that means anyone can understand it.


If this book does not fire up your imagination and encourage action then I don't know what will. Even if I can't do much with my 12 square metres (approx) of garden, I find myself itching to do something, my foot tapping, ready to leap into action. I'm thinking of new ways I can do things, like working with my neighbours to make sure there is a wildlife corridor through all of our gardens, or working out the logistics of growing wildflowers in our vegetable patches. I find myself preparing to try a new mindset that does not focus on the aesthetics of our countryside, but on what is actually right for this planet. This book is so rich with knowledge and wisdom, backed up by 10 years of wild regeneration, that I found myself doing something totally new to me: crying with hope. The fact that there are people out there willing to jump into projects like this reaches something deep inside me and reaffirms that there is something we can do.


This book is, quite simply, astounding.


Have you read Wilding? What did you think? Maybe you'll try it after reading this? Let me know in the comments!


As always, thanks for reading!


Nx



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Artist working out of Godstone, Surrey, United Kingdom

nicola@howellillustration.co.uk

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