Going wild. We don't see it as a good thing. And why would we? For most of our time on earth, humanity has been running from lions and other wilderness dangers. We've worked hard to make our local landscapes as safe and convenient as possible. Sometimes that's meant paving over areas that might burst into weeds. Other times, we've dammed rivers for electricity or irrigation. But now pollution, climate change and disruptions to the water cycle are affecting the world in ways we never anticipated. What if the new key to making our lives safer (and even healthier) is to allow the wilderness back into our cities?
In an addition to her Orca Footprints series of ecologically minded titles, Mulder promotes the idea of planning urban spaces that coexist in greater harmony with nature. Writing in short, casual sections, Mulder offers a brief, general history of how humans have become increasingly cut off from the wilderness and centralized within urban areas. Why does this matter? "Because no matter how much our cities usually separate us from the rest of nature, we humans are still part of the natural world," she explains. With photographs of deer, foxes, coyotes, and other animals spotted within city limits, she lays out the challenges and opportunities for creating more green space. She references innovative urban planning for example, in Helsinki, Finland, planners have created "green fingers," or stretches of land within cities that enable wildlife to freely roam without encountering humans or vehicles. For readers who wish to help "invite nature back in," Mulder suggests growing native plants in urban spaces, building bat houses, creating litter-free spaces, and composting. A slim yet thoughtful volume that offers an intriguing and achievable vision. Ages 9 12.