‘Why Not Scotland?’ Rewilding Film Premieres this Month

4 mins

‘Why Not Scotland?’, a documentary premiering in London this month, follows a young Scot’s journey through Europe, exploring nature’s recovery and raising the question of whether Scotland can do the same

A new film which explores the return of nature to Scotland is set for a London charity premiere later this month.

Why Not Scotland? is a joint enterprise from rewilding charity SCOTLAND The Big Picture and The European Nature Trust (TENT).

The feature-length documentary tells the story of Flo Blackbourn, a young Glaswegian naturalist, as she travels around Europe exploring areas where the environment is being revitalised.

Inspired by these powerful stories of hope, she thinks: Why Not Scotland?

Event organisers said: ‘Like many of her generation, Flo is concerned by the state of nature and fearful about an uncertain future. However, during her travels, she discovers places where nature is making a spectacular comeback, breathing life back into the landscape and revitalising human communities.’

Why Not Scotland Support

The film showcases the tireless efforts of communities, charities, farmers and landowners dedicated to reversing Scotland’s nature crisis, and highlights the importance of rewilding Scotland for both biodiversity and local populations.

The group’s vision is to create a vast network of rewilded land and water, where wildlife flourishes and people thrive.

Scottish wildcat (Felis sylvestris grampia) peering around tree, Scotland.

It aims to achieve this by driving public and political support for rewilding, influencing more land to be committed to rewilding, working to return missing species, and developing a local economy based on rewilding through business development.

The screening, which also includes audience participation and a reception, takes place on Thursday June 20th at The Marylebone Theatre, Rudolf Steiner House, 35 Park Rd, London NW1 6XT, with a 6pm start.

All of ticket sales and the auction proceeds on the night will be donated to SCOTLAND The Big Picture.

After the film, there will be a panel discussion and audience Q&A with Peter Cairns, Executive Director of SCOTLAND: The Big Picture, Morag Watson, Co-founder and Director of sustainability leadership group  Realise Earth, alongside the film’s narrator, Flo Blackbourn.

Pools and bog peatland at dawn, Flow Country, Scotland, June

Visitors to the event will learn how Scotland was once wild, a forest ecosystem teeming with elks, wolves, bears and lynx.

However, by the early 20th century, only five per cent of the land was still forested, and all these native species had disappeared. Today, Scotland is ranked 212th out of 240 countries and territories for the state of its natural environment.

Intensive agriculture, climate change, and other factors such as pollution and the intoduction of intrusive non-native flora and fauna are pushing 11 per cent of its species towards extinction.

In contrast, say SCOTLAND The Big Picture, many parts of Europe are seeing a resurgence in wild rivers, increased forest cover and the de-extinction-lost species like beavers, bears and wolves.

As an example bison have experienced an 18,000 per cent increase since the 1960s, the Iberian lynx has recovered from 100 individuals in the early 2000s to more than 1,600 today.

The EU’s Nature Restoration Law and the UN commitment to protect 30 per cent of all land and seas by 2030 highlight policies that could deliver progress.

The event will ask ‘Can Scotland stage a similar revival of its own natural environment?’

The Scottish Rewilding Alliance, supported by a coalition of over 20 organisations, including TENT, is  currently leading the bring back nature revolution and is aiming to set the global standard for rewilding by petitioning the Scottish Government to commit to nature recovery across 30 per cent of its landscape.

Alladale Wilderness Reserve is a 23,000-acre highland estate in the Scottish Highlands that was purchased in 2003 by conservationist and philanthropist Paul Lister, who hopes to recreate a wooded landscape

The efforts are making significant strides, with over two per cent of Scotland’s land undergoing rewilding across 160,000 hectares. These projects range from community woodlands to large-scale partnerships, contributing to a resilient ecosystem and economy.

Actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio recently highlighted these efforts to his 62 million Instagram followers, bringing global attention to the cause with 100,000 ‘likes’.

DiCaprio said: ‘With this campaign, Scotland could be a world leader in rewilding its landscapes, ensuring clean air and water, storing carbon, reducing flooding, restoring wildlife, and improving the lives of locals.’

Get tickets for the screening here

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