1. to reverse the process of domestication.
  2. to return to a more wild or self-willed state.

Rewilding means restoring ancestral ways of living that create greater health and well-being for humans and the ecosystems that we belong to. Many things lead people to rewilding — concern over ecological collapse or economic uncertainty, health problems, a nagging sense of something missing in life, or a desire to “save the world” — but from those starting points we come together in a desire to rewild our homes, our communities, and ourselves. Rewilding learns from the examples of indigenous people past and present provided by anthropology, archaeology, and ethnobiology. It means returning to our senses, returning to ourselves, and coming home to the world we never stopped belonging to.

Between 11,000 and 58,000 species go extinct every year. Source:

Humans control 75% of the global land surface outside of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. Source:

The concentration of CO2 in earth’s atmosphere currently stands at 400ppm, more than 100ppm higher than at any time in the past million years. Sources:,

7,000,000,000 humans on earth, desperate for something but not sure what. Source:

When we talk about the evolution of our genus Homo over the past two million years, we run into our brains’ limits to really understanding big numbers.

Each pixel in height represents 500 years. That means that a single pixel in height here separates you from the reign of King Henry VIII.

The periods marked here begin when anyone on the planet began living by farming, or writing historical records, but timelines like this don’t show how, even inside those areas on the timeline, most people still lived as hunter-gatherers. Right up to the very last pixel, most Homo sapiens on earth made a living by hunting and gathering.

The past 10,000 years highlighted here in green and red have seen an explosion of cultural and even biological change as we’ve learned to cope with living in a new way deeply antagonistic to our previous evolution, but it still represents a flash in the pan, an experiment carried out by a small handful of aggressively imperialist but ultimately very bizarre groups, not the inevitable destiny of our species.

The Original Affluent Society

Thomas Hobbes described the “state of nature” as “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short,” and though ethnographic and archaeological evidence has overturned each one of those claims individually over the past century, the common perception of hunter-gatherer life hasn’t kept pace with what we now know about it.

Hunter-gatherers have more leisure time.

Some people say that the advent of farming gave people more leisure time to build up civilization, but hunter-gatherers actually have far more leisure time than farmers do, and more still than modern people in the industrialized world.

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Hunter-gatherers enjoy long, healthy lives.

The beginning of agriculture brought with it the Neolithic Mortality Crisis, a sudden and catastrophic drop in longevity that agricultural people have really never recovered from. Modern medicine has achieved great things, but it still hasn’t completely closed that gap, and it still means that only a wealthy elite can enjoy the longevity once available to everyone.

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Hunter-gatherers live in prosperity and abundance.

By the standards of WEIRD (Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic) society, hunter-gatherers count as the poorest people on earth. While they survive today in earth’s most inhospitable environments, they do so precisely because their way of life creates abundance and prosperity that allows them to survive where no one else could.

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Hunter-gatherers live in relative peace.

While some hunter-gatherers do fight and kill, most live with far less violence than the United States. Wars only make sense (and only appear in the archaeological record) when your survival depends on controlling a specific piece of land, like a garden or a field. Without that, hunter-gatherers usually prefer avoiding conflict to risking their lives in battle.

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Hunter-gatherers lead more happy, meaningful lives.

More than anything else, hunter-gatherer and other traditional societies define themselves in terms of their social bonds, giving each member a sense of belonging and purpose, connecting her to the rest of her family and to a web of kinship that binds together a broader, more-than-human world.

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Humans haven’t always destroyed the world around them.

For 2,000,000 years humans evolved in traditional societies, and though they undoubtedly had as much an impact on the world as wolves or lions, they did not cause mass extinctions. We don’t represent all of humanity, and the way we live doesn’t represent human nature or our destiny.

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Rewild Your Home.

The Neolithic Revolution has claimed nearly half the planet’s surface for agriculture, but you can help rewild the place where you dwell.


Political boundaries rarely line up with the ecological zones that really determine our lives. A bioregional focus means becoming aware of things like your local watershed and ecosystem, and focusing on the issues that affect it.

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Tending the Wild

If “wild” means untouched by humans, then few places on earth can claim the title. Indigenous people did not just live off the land, but made it flourish. The Amazon Rain Forest and the Great Plains stand as examples of their generational work. Rewilding means taking on that responsibility to tend the wild.

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Rewild Your Community.

Primitive skills play an important part in rewilding, but few traditional societies would put them in the center. They tend to put emphasis on a more difficult task: learning how to cooperate, how to make decisions as a community, and how to repair strained relationships.

Social Technology

We may tell ourselves that without governments and laws society could not function, but the archaeological and ethnographic evidence of traditional societies show us that most human societies have flourished without them. However, after millennia of hierarchical interactions, it can take some time to relearn how to live as a free person, and how to cooperate with other free persons.

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Oral Tradition

Oral traditions carried the relationships that bound together people and the land, recorded history, and encoded vast stores of knowledge. Unfortunately, most people today have lost that inheritance. Rewilding covers some unexpected techniques for regenerating an authentic oral tradition.

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Rewild Yourself.

Humans have become domesticated, and that hasn’t worked out very well for any of us. Rewilding means reversing that process and reclaiming our human birthright.

Ancestral Skills

The skills needed to find food, create fire, shelter, and clothing, to treat wounds and illnesses, and otherwise make a living from the land provide independence and freedom. Ancestral skills don’t simply provide for a meager life of mere survival, though; they can provide the keys to true abundance and wealth.

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Ancestral Health

We’ve learned to accept a level of health as domesticated animals far below that enjoyed by our ancestors. From the Paleo diet to barefoot walking, to our sleeping patterns, primal movement, and more, rewilding means reclaiming a standard of health and well-being that can seem like gaining super-powers now.

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Take the Rewilding 101 Class