Eli Loomis is an instructor and Executive Director at Boulder Outdoor Survival School (BOSS) in Utah. At 53 years old, BOSS is the oldest survival school in the country. It is notorious for its long, minimalist desert treks, including a 28-day field course. In this conversation, Eli and I talk about the history of BOSS, the psychology of survival and “The Won’t to Live,” the lack and need for Rites of Passage, context specific training, running non-profit wilderness schools, the transformative experience, and personal and psychological growth that can happen in survival courses, and so much more.
Patrons of The Rewilding Podcast get access to new podcasts two weeks early. Also, when folks become a patron, for even just $1, you can ask me a question or throw out a topic for me to talk about from a rewilding perspective. In this episode, I will be answering more questions:
• Can a wild world meet the needs of 7.5+ billion human beings?
• Do you know any rules about natural burial—for yourself or relative, esp in oregon?
• What are your thoughts on personal boundaries especially on the rewilding journey?
• What are your thoughts on ableism, and the way we can show up for and support differently abled bodies as we rewild, both before collapse, and after?
• How can rewilding help people with limited physical/mental energy/ability deal with the impending climate crisis, etc?
Today I’m chatting with John Zerzan, long time anarchist author, speaker and host of Anarchy Radio out of Eugene, Oregon. John’s writing has been instrumental in crafting the rewilding narrative. In this conversation, we jump right into some of the themes and history of primal anarchy, and work our way around various topics.
This episode is the first half of a conversation between myself and Natasha Tucker from Primal Anarchy Podcast. The second half will be released by them and a link posted here will connect you to it. The last time Natasha and I conversed this much was in my living room after the Rewilding Conference in January of 2020. It was great to catch up and chat about the things we are working on and thinking about at the moment.
I’ve started a patreon to help fund the podcast. Patrons of the podcast get access to new podcasts two weeks early. Also, when folks become a patron, for even just $1, you can ask me a question or throw out a topic for me to talk about from a rewilding perspective. In this episode, I will be answering the first few Patron Prompts.
From Patron Susan Avery: “What are your favorite wild edible or medicinal plants?”
From Patron Nicki Youngsma: “What are criticisms of the megafauna overkill hypothesis and/or competing (and/or complementary) theories for megafaunal extinction? What are ways we can use this information to inform present and future living? How can such information and framing support healthier relationship with land and nonhuman kin that affirms human existence, rather than instills shame?”
From Patron Ilse Donker: “Do you know something about prehistoric child birth and death rate?”
From Jermayne Tuckta (not a Patron, but wanted to answer this one): “One method of rewilding includes reintroducing apex predators and other key species back into the area. Presently, wolves have returned back to Oregon and Washington. What other key species can you think of reintroducing? They have already attempted to reintroduce the Sea otter to the Oregon coast, but no success. Is it possible that the environment can no longer sustain the Indigenous species that once inhabited the area?”
In this episode I chat with Lise Silva Gomes, an artist who works with fiber, knots, paint and more, who has spent a great deal of time thinking and teaching about community grounded art practice. A huge aspect of rewilding is the practice of ancestral skills–learning to use your hands to create the technologies that we need to live, from the elements of nature that grow and dwell near us. I came to Lise’s work when searching out ethics, etiquette, and boundaries around communities of artists and creatives. Lise is an innovator in this field and has created some amazing resources around this topic that I’m excited to share with you.
“The earth’s biodiversity depends [very directly] on its human diversity.”
In this episode I chat with Stephen Corry, the former director of Survival International, a global organization that supports indigenous peoples in their struggles against colonialism. We talk about why the organization is important, and how it relates directly to rewilding. Stephen discusses the central myths of civilization and the prejudices that it generates in order to justify its destruction of tribal people. In the end our conversation lands on the problematic aspects of conservation, and the challenges that members of Survival International have faced in this work.
Much of the narratives found in rewilding originate from the study of cultures outside of civilization, through the discipline of anthropology. In this episode I chat with two of my friends that dwell in the academic world, around the challenges of navigating the benefits and problems with the institution of anthropology and the practical applications of it outside of academia. We talk about the history of anthropology, contemporary ethics behind it, and the potential for continual cultural transformation. How do we take anthropology beyond the institutions, in order to *do* anthropology in the real world? How do we leverage the study of culture(s), in a just and careful way, to help us understand more about humanity and our place in the world? What are the best practices behind an embodied anthropology?
Fern Thompsett grew up in Australia, and is now working on a PhD in cultural anthropology through Columbia University, on Lenape land in New York City. Her research looks at how people define, critique, and live outside of civilization. She is also a co-founder of the Brisbane Free University.
Josh Sterlin is working on a PhD at McGill University as part of the Leadership for the Ecozoic program. He is researching how rewilding might help us rethink classic anthropological categories and thinking, and how that might help us change the way we live. He was previously trained in environmental anthropology, and is also a graduate of the Wilderness Awareness School’s Anake program. When he’s not doing that, he’s canoeing across the Quebec wilds. You can get in contact at jsterlin.org.
I was recently interviewed by Patrick Farnsworth for his Last Born in the Wilderness Podcast. He was particularly taken by my “Congress of Wills” idea around wildness. We spoke about the process of collapse and its relationship to rewilding. It was a great interview. Check it out here:
I was recently interviewed on the Untaming podcast. If you’re looking for a new podcast that is centered around rewilding and justice, this is a great one to check out. I ended up ranting for so long that Emily split the interview into to parts. Here they are:
Months ago I asked my facebook and instagram audience if they had questions that I could answer in a podcast. I finally delved into the well of inquiry, and only got to the first three questions:
Zack Rouda asked: “Why bother?”
Pat Craig asked: On the problem of the lack of access to land for most people. At least land that one could hunt/forage or garden on. How can people who do not have easy access to land practice rewilding in a meaningful way?
Will Dutch asked: How do you see rewilding co existing with the modern city? Do you see the new global awareness of the climate crisis being a catalyst for new thinking of rewilding?
If you have more questions around rewilding to ask me, hit me up on social media and I will add these questions to the queue. Hope you enjoy this one.