The Ecological Citizen: Confronting human supremacy


Long article

Covenant with the wild: A critique of the ‘right to roam’ movement

Simon Leadbeater

The Ecological Citizen Vol 7 No 1 2024: 72–80 [epub-097]

Share via browser:    |    | 


First published: 24 October 2023  |  PERMANENT URL  |  DOWNLOAD CITATION IN RIS FORMAT


The right to roam for whom? Creating a secure enclosure – 'the pen' – within the wood Simon Leadbeater calls home, led to a serendipitous if gentle epiphany, in which the needs and desires of the wood's nonhuman denizens became progressively apparent. They maintain a cautious distance but behave naturally, compared to being put to flight whenever the author steps into the main part of the wood. The woodland outside of the pen now belongs to the wild, with whom Simon has established a personal accord, a covenant, which he only transgresses through necessity, so that wild animals may enjoy mostly undisturbed lives. People need to find ways of peacefully coexisting with animals by not intruding into their homes. This creates an ethical challenge for those demanding a right to roam, who, by conceptualizing nature abstractly largely advance human interests, overlooking nonhumans' need to roam and live without fear.



Animal ethics, Conservation, Human-wildlife coexistence