What Is ‘Rewilding’ and Why Should I Try It?

Full disclosure: I am a big fan of Dr. Marc Bekoff, so this review may be a bit biased. But it’s almost impossible to believe that anyone could find fault with this man’s stellar work.

Bekoff’s latest book, Rewilding Our Hearts: Building Pathways of Compassion and Coexistence, is a call to action for anyone who cares about the world we live in.


In wildlife conservation work, “rewilding” refers to habitat restoration and the creation of corridors between preserved lands to allow declining populations to rebound. Bekoff’s “rewilding” is the rehabilitation of our hearts, souls, and love for ourselves, other animals, and the places we call home. Put simply, it’s reconnecting with the world and everything in it.

Bekoff explains that rewilding is a rehabilitation process. He rightfully points out that we have removed ourselves from the natural state of our world and the animals and humans with whom we share it. He calls on readers to take on a personal and spiritual journey that includes more humane education and media so that youngsters get out into and develop a respect for nature and so that other animals are represented for whom they are, not what we want them to be.

Bekoff addresses human overpopulation, asking, “Why have kids if they’re headed into an impoverished world?” and says that rewilding necessitates that we stop making more humans, as overpopulation and overconsumption are decimating us and our one and only planet. Less really can be more.

Rewilding also calls for being open to learning about all views and being kind even to people with whom one disagrees. We need to talk with others, not to them or at them.

Bekoff says that decent people who are trying to do good sometimes make the wrong choices, like feeling that they must do “big things,” such as found an organization or make Bill Gates–level grants, instead of performing everyday acts of kindness and compassion. He says we must not be “slacktivists,” who talk about an urgent problem but take few, if any, real steps to do something about it.

He also addresses the challenges of rewilding for city dwellers.

Bekoff takes on difficult subjects, without making the book indecipherable. He forces the reader to take a hard look at his or her own choices and how they impact the rest of us.

Give it a read, and let us know what you think!