Resources to Inspire The Rewilding of Your Life & Landscapes & Have Your Own Ecological Awakening

As a type-A, task-oriented, tidy and organized, perfectionist-in-recovery, it sounds illegal to say, “I’m proud of my weed patch!”

I have a hunch that my very out-of-control tendency to control and tame is what originally drew me into the concept of rewilding a few years ago.

In short, rewilding is about partnering together with nature, to restore native plants, animal species, and entire ecosystems, so human and wildlife can grow together and live amongst more diverse, resilient, and sustainable habitats.

Admittingly I relate more with Pete the badger in the sweet children’s book, Tidy, who can’t seem to stop cleaning his leafy forest neighborhood. Despite the countless warnings his friends give him about all the harm he’s doing, he persists. Sometimes I wish I could just vacuum up my backyard, and take out all the unsightly “weeds”, dead leaves, and sprawling moss and blackberry patches.

Slowly, I’m learning from my rewilding teachers about the intelligence of nature. I need to listen to the earth and her needs. Rather, than exerting my plans and ownership over her, I can pay attention to the numerous and numinous way she’s already at work healing herself.

Mary Reynolds, author and founder of ARK, writes:

“Nature abhors a vacuum, and she will strive to mend any cuts in her skin with her natural healing processes, beginning with weeds. The earth is very resilient, but sometimes these days, she needs our help with this process of restoring her natural layers so that all the spaces are filled in and the unrooted creatures can find food and shelter once more. There is a also a rising need for resting places where nature can develop the mechanism to digest, counteract, and disassemble the toxins we have soaked her with.”

Of course, rewilding doesn’t stop at our relationship with the natural environment all around us, but extends to how our own soul and body need rewilded.

I don’t know that I’ll ever fully be able to comprehend the trauma and wounds I’ve incurred simply by existing in a world where I constantly feel the pressure to conform and confine to the standards of a society whose definition of success and significance is so limited and linear.

But I’m determined to continue to evolve, grow, and heal myself, so…

Over the past few years, I’ve taken it upon myself to immerse myself in books, poetry, podcasts, articles, and courses on rewilding as well as sustainable and less waste lifestyle, conservation, our climate predicament and consequent ecological awakening, eco-spirituality, and gardening to name a few.

These subjects have completely enthralled me and when I speak about it with others, tears seem to come all too easily.

You could say it is a golden thread weaving itself throughout my life, influencing everything I do.

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As I wrote last week on Instagram, I want to share more resources with you my dear readers and friends. So in true Charissa fashion, I probably overdid it and now I’ve given you far more than you needed or asked for!

To avoid the overwhelm, save this post to refer back to later. And for now, choose what stands out to you and piques your interest!

Above all, what I want you to take away from today’s post when it comes to all of this stuff- rewilding, growing gardens, sustainable living, the ecological crisis- and what you must never forget are these two concepts:

One. Every single action you take is important and transformative with ripple effects for generations to come.

Two. Focus on what stirs your heart and move in those spaces. Whatever your passions and delights are in life, they can most certainly be integrated into care for our planet and all its creatures, you need only take a few minutes to think outside the box and make space for some creative ideas to come through!

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RECOMMENDED BOOKS (Note: I’ve read or skimmed or desire to read all of these books on this list!)

We Are The ARK: Returning Our Gardens to Their True Nature with Acts of Restorative Kindness || by Mary Reynolds

The Garden Awakening: Designs to Nurture Our Land & Ourselves || by Mary Reynolds

Wild About Weeds: Garden Designs with Rebel Plants || by Jack Wallington

Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case For Hope and Healing in A Divided World || by Katherine Hayhoe

Hope: A Survival Guide For Trying Times || by Jane Goodall and Douglas Abrams

Love Letter to the Earth || by Thich Nhat Hanh

All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis || Edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson & Katherine Wilkinson

Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation That Starts in Your Yard || by Douglas Tallamy

Nature’s Best Hope (Young Reader’s Edition): How You Can Save the World in Your Own Yard || by Douglas Tallamy and adapted by Sarah L. Thompson

The Future We Choose: A Stubborn Optimist’s Guide to The Climate Crisis || by Christina Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac

The Good Garden: How to Nurture Pollinators, Soil, Native Wildlife, and Healthy Food–All in Your Own Backyard || by Chris McLaughlin

Lawns Into Meadows: Growing A Regenerative Landscape || by Owen Wormser

Rewild Your Garden: Create a Haven for Birds, Bees and Butterflies || by Frances Tophill

The Meadow Garden: Create a Low-Maintenance Wildflower and Native Plant Wonderland || by Dian Eaton

World as Lover, World as Self || by Joanna Macy

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KIDS BOOKS:

Bringing Wildlife Back Where It Belongs || by David Steen

Wilding: How to Bring Wildlife Back – The NEW Illustrated Guide || by Isabella Tree

The Wild Garden || by Cynthia Cliff

Planting the Wild Garden || by Kathryn O. Galbraith

Look and Listen || by Dianne White

Miss Rumphius || by Barbara Cooney

Wild City: Meet the Animals Who Share Our City Spaces || by Ben Hoare

The Little Gardener || by Emily Hughes

The Gardener || by Sarah Stewart

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PODCASTS:

We Are The Great Turning with Joanna Macy and Jess Serrante || “We welcome you to the kitchen table of the legendary eco-spiritual teacher Joanna Macy, where we’ll dive into what it takes to live with our hearts and integrity intact in this time of global crisis.”

The Good Dirt || “Mother and daughter team Mary & Emma bring you weekly interviews with farmers, artists, authors, and leaders in the regenerative and sustainable living space.”

Outrage & Optimism || “From former UN Chief Christina Figueres and the team who brought you the Paris Agreement, this podcast about issues and politics will inform you, inspire you and help you realize that this is the most exciting time in history to be alive.”

Green Dreamer || “Explore our paths to collective healing, bicultural revitalization, and true abundance and wellness for all.”

Carbon Sessions || “In our conversations, we share ideas, perspectives, questions, and things we can actually do to make a difference”

Growing Joy with Plants- Wellness Rooted in Nature, Houseplants, Gardening and Plant Care || “Learn alongside Happy Plant Lady, Maria Failla to care for plants, engage with nature, and use them to manage your overwhelm, anxiety and experience happiness an calm you thought was only available on vacation.”

On Being with Krista Tippett || “Wisdom to replenish and orient in a tender, tumultuous time to be alive. Spiritual inquiry, science, social healing, and poetry.”

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SPECIFIC PODCAST EPISODES:

Time Sensitive, Edwina von Gal on Gardening as an Antidote, June 25 2024

The Interview, Ayana Elizabeth Johnson Has An Antidote to Our Climate Delusions, May 18 2024

Life Kit, How To Start Gardening, March 30 2022

Ted Talks Daily, The most important thing you can do to fight climate change: talk about it, Katharine Hayhoe, Jan 30 2020

Pulling the Thread, Working with the Power of Earth (Llewellyn Vaughn- Lee, PhD), Jan 5 2023

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FAVORITE NATURE APP:

Merlin Bird App || Helps me to identify and learn the birds and their songs in my neighborhood! It’s so much fun!

Remember: Let these resources be guides for you. Perhaps you check out a few of these books from the library and simply skim them. Or track down the author and find out more about their work. Let your curiosity lead you down unexpected paths and have fun learning more ways to honor our sacred kinship and the fact we are all family, an intricate ecosystem.

May this list inspire you to continue walking forward in solidarity and empathy so we can all collectively flourish!

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