A film by Sustainable Man.

"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe." - John Muir. When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent for nearly 70 years, the most remarkable "trophic cascade" occurred. What is a trophic cascade and how exactly do wolves change rivers? British environmental journalist George Monbiot explains in this video remix by Sustainable Man.


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  • Rose

    We are very foolish if we think that we know better than Nature how things should be. I fwe ken't even get it right about wolves, how can we trust AI and other high-tech solutions to environmental problems? Only by studying Mother Nature will we ever find the right direction!

  • Bidyut

    Fascinating. It took some time for me to absorb this. For George Monibot to connect the dots and arrive at this conclusion must have needed so much work & analysis. But the insight is just amazing

  • Hunter brewer

    We didn't have youtube this was the next best thing

  • Wendy

    Every living being on this earth has a purpose and all are valuable. It's God's plan.

  • Jabriel

    Wolves impact the environment by hunting and moving in a pack.

  • Heavenlee

    wolves changed the way of the rivers, they killed many other animals. they also stay in smaller packs.

  • Mezmariz Kennedy

    Wolves impact their environment by hunting and living in packs.

  • Chance Karpinecz

    wolves can change everything because they were keeping the deer away

  • ladarrius

    he wolves have reshaped the park. wolves kill deer, diminishing their population, but wolves also change the deer's behavior. When threatened by wolves, deer don't graze as much and move around more, aerating the soil.

  • jayln

    wolves kill many animals but they saved animals to.

  • onijah

    What inspired you about this video?wolfs have a impact on their environment by moving in packs and being prey.

  • onig

    wolfs impacts their environment by hunting and moving in a pack.

  • Bj garris

    The wolf, also known as the gray wolf or grey wolf, is a large canine native to Eurasia and North America.Also wolf live up to 13 years in wild. (usually 6 to 8 years)

  • Kylah

    I learned the impacts of the wolves being being around drove the prey away.

  • whitaker antoine

    i learned the impacts of a food chain and the more prey that developed and appeared since the wolves were not around

  • Kris

    So inspiring to see incremental change to support so many species. In response to Joanne: An elk is a type of deer, so we need to be more specific when comparing certain animals. Elk (Cervus canadensis), called wapiti in Europe, are one of the largest deer species.Nov 1, 2020

  • Bradley

    Whether it's 100% accurate or 5% accurate, this video shows the connection between many living beings. And, elk are in the deer family...they are a species of deer, as are moose, white-tail deer, etc. So maybe we can hold our judgment. Yellowstone is a beautiful national park, or was at one time. Man has created the vast majority of the problems in the park and then man tries to correct the problems we create, thus creating new problems. It's a vicious circle. We should live in harmony with nature and with all other living beings. That is the way.

  • Kathleen A Craig

    what a lovely video! I did not realize all of the positive impacts wolves make. My cat was sleeping near me and heard the howling. He looked up and I told him it was ok.

  • Fynn

    My dog loves the sounds

  • Kathryn

    Wonderful explanation for the interdependece in nature, and how one species can make so many good changes.

  • Sheri

    the interconnectedness and cross curricular implications one being has on the other

  • Janet

    Just goes to show how much we still have to learn.

  • Joanne

    The first thing I noticed is that the "deer" are elk. How can one give credibility to this theory when the creator of this video doesn't know the difference?!

  • Julia

    I love animals and nature. It's also wonderful to see the change for the better.

  • Judith

    Yes, it is an incredible story, but as Baird points out below, the "deer" are elk. Big flaw that takes credibility away from the film.

  • L.Nicholson

    My love of nature is my inspiration for every way to preserve it. This certainly forced me to look outside the box .. an unthoughtful comment might have been to bring back wolves was unnecessary or at the very least of minimal importance. Boy, would I have been wrong. This film is marvelous and like everything shows the complexity of life. Thank you!

  • Robert Michell

    This is a wonderful video with one significant flaw in it. The re-greening of nature was done not mainly by wolves, but by beaver, and this fact is quite underplayed; they are mentioned in passing. Beavers create lakes, wetlands and raise the overall water table, allowing the new forests to grow. A small number of beavers can benefit wildlife for hundreds of miles by raising the water table across the area. And many species can benefit from the presence of a new wetland, not to mention the raising of number and species of fish in the lakes and ponds created. In other words, wolves & beavers together have done the trick.

  • Baird

    For the sake of clarification, the deer-like animals pictured in the video are actually elk.

  • Belinda

    Profoundly moving and the longing to move into this REWILDED world is rising in me stronger and surer each day- thank you for creating this beautiful piece and spreading the message that we certainly can make choices that recreate this sublime harmony if we step back and do LESS and just BE in harmony and peace with all living things.

  • Jana

    ...sorry, autocorretion... Blinded by fear...i meant to write.

  • Jana

    How every seemigly small Action has a wider, broader effect. And how a being ignored in its true relevance has effects in huge meassures, invisible to those blinded by fest.

  • Jimmy

    Great information for human beings to know...thank you.

  • Mircan

    The harmony and the beauty of nature when untouched by human beings.

  • Lea

    Oh MY!!! This is so, so inspiring. It made me cry... We are all part of the 'chain of life', all so interconnected in so many, many ways that we 'humans' simply don't realize. Hopefully we will fully realize this interconnectedness one day soon so that our precious, fragile Planet can regenerate itself before it's too late. We humans have a massive responsibility to make sure this happens because we ourselves are largely to blame for the degradation of life on Earth.

  • Rupert

    I was very moved by the howling of the wolves, but also amazed by the impact that they as one species had on the the environment of Yellowstone Park, absolutely amazing :) I guess it further illustrates that we all connected, and that one change here has an effect there :)

  • Rich

    Interesting comments. You can't get too idealistic about nature, though. Predators play rough, but that's the nature of Nature. The point here, I think, is to note that species impact each other and the ecosystem, with humans included. Wolves needed to be returned to the larger world for balance. Humans are more likely the problem species here--we grossly overpopulate ourselves, then change the world around us to fit our needs: a ski area here, a housing development there, a fishing lodge there, Sierra Club adventure trips, vacation homes and condos, killing and trapping wildlife, etc. Does this sound familiar to anyone? I've lived in Colorado off and on since the 1940's. The change in the state for the worse is mind-numbing. Every issue I've listed above plus 4-wheelers, dirt bikes, snow mobiles, ATV's, mountain bikes, river floaters, and many more. It is very hard to find a place to take a quiet, reflective walk, hike ,or climb. Some good news. I've been all through Yellowstone on foot for more than 55 years. This is one place that has been improved (Old Faithful highway interchange excepted) through the years, in my opinion. Better handling and appreciation of the bears, and significantly, the re-introduction of the wolves. I worked on ranches in my youth and still know a few ranchers. Some of them accept the natural world that is left. There are others that need to stop whining about the predators they deal with and remember that many of them are getting heavily subsidized by the government (us) with very cheap feed for their livestock on federal lands. And don't get me started on people eating beef, which requires an inordinate amount of water, energy costs, CO2 impacts...and, also an inordinate amount of ranching, which takes land resources out of the ecosystem, which... you get the picture. Human populations and human education are the keys for solving ecosystem issues. We're supposed to be the smart ones, right? The stewards. It's time to quit blaming other species for our bad thinking and bad behavior. Tread lightly, go out there on foot, enjoy the wolves. And, help get protection for more federal lands--wilderness areas,national parks, etc. More places to restore other species along with the wolves.

  • John

    how did humans interact with the environment in this?

  • Carol

    Everything...overlaid with the question: "How do we reach those who kill wolves still regarding them as enemies?" Is prejudice so cemented in those minds that they cannot see the benefit and magnificence of this misunderstood and misrepresented creature for so much of our history. I hope such information and visual evidence as this will eventually erode those extremely destructive attitudes some individuals refuse to release.

  • Netti

    What inspired me about this video is that animals can live in peace and have the ability to keep everything balanced and/ or return balance. When r we going to learn (from them)? That we could also do with more marmony amongst each other and let go of our egos.

  • Geore Veal Jr.

    How everything in Nature is truly interrelated.

  • Cynthia

    I suppose it was the sense of mystery, the unpredictable effects that arose -- the random connections revealing the interdependent, interactive nature of this world - I thought of puzzle pieces falling into place by chance...

  • Colin Godwin

    Nothing - it did not play beyond, ..."trophic cascades".

  • Bill Wilson

    Surly it can't be lost on the viewer that the creatures in the park could affect such changes almost by happenstance that "IF" we as a race put our minds (as Conservators for the unborn generations) and efforts (rather than the wringing of hands and nodding acquiescence) that true miracles are easily within our reach!

  • Ed

    What is a BRITISH environmental journalist doing in Yellowstone National Park. Maybe we should reintroduce wolves in England so he address the problems at home.

  • Peter

    For some more information on wolves and their management across Montana check out: http://fwp.mt.gov/fishAndWildlife/management/wolf/

  • Cindy

    Peter has a right to express his opinion as much as you do Liz. There is a place for everything and everyone, wasn't that the whole point of this short?

  • Rick

    This sounds more like a middle school cheerleading exercise than a serious scientific documentary. The kinds of changes described are more appropriately observed over generations and over much broader areas. Everything noted here can be ascribed, at least partially, to other influences besides the wolves. Overzealousness does true scientific inquiry a disservice.

  • Peter

    My note may portray an initial reaction to a fantasized portrayal of the impacts of the reintroduction of a large carnivore population into Yellowstone National Park and greater ecosystem. Although I do not find fault with assisting wolves to reestablish in ecosystems of the Rockies, I do find fault with the massive sudden human assisted reintroduction of wolves when this was happening on its own in a gradual process. The harm this has inflicted on ranching livelihood and the ungulate populations of the northern Rockies, as well as introducing non-native parasites into these ecosystems has nothing to do with goodness in the world. The realities associated with nature have little to do with goodness or badness, especially as you watch wolves tear down a bleating elk calf and start eating it while it is still alive. Nature is reality, both beautiful if you have a full stomach and a warm couch to observe it from, and horrible if you are starving, cold and wet. If we accurately understand that we can make better decisions about how we choose to interact with it. Your judgement of me Liz, is taken constructively, though also with sadness as your comments do not project the kind of person you may wish to be.

  • Liz

    Peter doesn't sound like a very nice person. The type of offensive and insulting "writing" that he projects is hurtful and distracting. Frankly, I am surprised that DailyGood.org would agree to publish his comments. I guess karma will deal with you, Peter, while the rest of us make an effort to enjoy the goodness in the world despite the thorns in our sides.

  • Catherine

    Oh my god... just the sound of the howling wolves in the beginning brought a rush of emotions, and tears to my eyes... We all belong. We so desperately need to restore the balance now. It's like my soul is mourning that which once was. Can we do it? How do we start? Where do we start? Is this lifetime enough? When is too late? We must try... but we need to do more than educate... that almost seems to be a thing of the past... We shall need to wake up, all of us. All at once. I have dreamt that dream. All of us who have dreamt that dream shall dream it together... Maybe that's what we are doing allready? Please everyone who understands this... Keep dreaming the dream. In every waking hour. We will make it! Believe it. Know it. Trust it.

  • tom baker

    beautiful illustration of "Trophic cascade" !

  • Sue

    I was very open to hearing what this video had to say, but, it just sounds "too good to be true" and exaggerated. To be credible, you'd need to include references and timelines. To say that reducing the deer (elk and bison too) populations had this kind of effect in 6 years is just too unrealistic and not believable.

  • Skye

    I am interested in sustainable practices of all kinds. Can you point me to other sites where I can here and see more about videos like this.

  • Peter

    What an exaggerated load of bull! Yes, as a national park the elk and bison (not deer you moron) were not allowed to be managed (another false statement) and as such populations grew to 10 times the prescribed carrying capacity. With such overgrazing there were negative consequences. Wolves have devastated the elk population where it is now, is well below the desired number, an as a result the wolves have been dying or leaving the park and impacting the livelihoods of ranches surrounding the park. Streams nos do have some more vegetation around them and aspen is now able to regenerate - but the magnitude of this on all the other creatures in this video is so exaggerated it makes me sick. Honesty is never as glamorous as exaggerated fantasy and this video is mostly the later. It does a great disservice to those trying to use facts to manage the resource...but then again - this was all about selling a video, right!

  • ghost

    I loved that you choose a narrator that expressed wonder and awe in each statement. We rarely think that vegetarians harm the earth...but gone out of balance overgrazing is the result. Yeah...it is always about balance. This is an uplifting short about seeing things in new ways. thanks

  • Forest Crawford

    I will share this with my students so they will understand our interconnectedness.

  • Bonnie Enes

    My interest in nature and how everything on the planet is connected. This is a remarkable presentation. I am just curious why you would chose Sustainable Man as the name of your group and not Sustainable People or Sustainable Human Beings. Being a woman in today's day, I find this curious.

  • melissa

    Its true, and needs to be remembered.

  • gina ali khan

    Exquisite - thank you . Sohum - I am - We are..........all interconnected!

  • spoke

    The simplicity of what God man vs what man thinks & tries to change. There is always people who think they are smarter than Our Creator who made it all.

  • nikhil

    Simply amazing! A small thing can change the world.

  • Kathy

    I loved the holistic nature of this film; it was beautiful, inspiring, educative, touching. Thank you!

  • Ian

    A perfect demonstration of the connectedness of everything.

  • Jessica

    "Is just about acceptance and reconnection with everyone and everything. Everything has a purpose and everything is in perfect order."

  • Jessica

    WOW...how perfect is Nature! How clever and amazing is the Universal Mind!!! How much we have lost by been disconnected from it!!!

  • Dineh Torres

    I loved it. I had no idea that the ecological patterns could shift over such a single event in the park. It is very true, ALL is connected. From the mice and earthworms to the trees, to the rivers... all because the balance that God had set up was restored when the wolves were. It's a very important lesson that most people are still not quite understanding. Thank you.



  • Jean

    I found tears coming to my eyes as I played this clip and the awesomeness of interconnection hit me anew.

  • Mary

    This video is a great example of the interconnectedness of all living things. I had always wondered why there was a reintroduction of the wolves and learned so much! The music and the video itself were also very inspiring. Thank you for sharing!

  • cind

    This video shared so much with me. First, understanding that by thinking out of the box how much it can impact our situations in such a positive way. Introducing these beautiful animals was genius. Next, it gave me the insight that each of us should always look outside our comfort zone to beyond how we as an individual can cause an enormous change for the better. Thank you for sharing such a positive message

  • Steve

    Never forget that we are all intertwined in the vast and colourful tapestry of natures many sights and sounds, it's limitless variety of creatures and species,plant and animal both great and small...it is simply suicidal to think otherwise.....AUM...

  • Shirley k. Boscov

    The need to respect all creatures on earth and the role that they fulfill.

  • lois

    Wow! Everyone...everything has it's place...it's role, we are all connected, and vital, to the circle of life. This was a beautiful, concise video, thank-you. Now if all humans would get this message, and stay in their role, and not hinder the natural order....we would all be better for it.

  • Kristin Pedemonti

    we are all connected! And it's GREAT to see how the Wolves which are often negatively viewed can now be seen as a catalyst for Positive impact on all these species, both plants and animals and even the River! regenerated banks by trees. Just amazing! LOVE IT! The video editing is also Gorgeous! thank you for the all the work put into this!

  • Ingrid Martine

    The mystery and the prevailing arrogance among our species that has us dishonor our irrevocable connection to every other living being.

  • Stuart Young

    How the smallest change can have a huge impact. :)

  • Mindy

    This an amazing video! Eloquently illustrates all of nature's connection. Thank you for bringing this important video to us :).

  • Page 1

  • "How Wolves Change Rivers" is excerpted from George Monbiot's TED talk - watch Re-Wilding the Planet.
  • Learn more about George Monbiot.  And for those budding journalists among you, check out his career advice.
  • Take a moment to think deeply about how your actions impact ecosystems all over the world in a wide variety of ways. Can you begin a cascade of positive effects by changing some of your actions?

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