Animals, Humans Can Interact In Positive Ways, To Great Benefit Of Our World And Theirs: Our Wild Calling By Richard Louv – Must-Read Book

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Our Wild Calling by Richard Louv is an incredible and fascinating journey through the new naturalist movement. 

While the movement itself is not new, the people who are currently shaping it have different attitudes than the environmentalists of the past.  There is a tendency among the newest adherents, who are both young and old and everything in between, to adopt a more progressive attitude toward nature. 

 

Environmental restoration of all types, including bringing animals into classrooms and other environments, as well as the importance of human-animal interactions on childhood development in general, feature heavily throughout the book.

 


The next generations of environmentalists adopt both a stand-offish approach and a direct involvement approach to restoration, depending on the situation.  So, where animals are in danger of extinction, where human intervention has the capacity to assist, a more direct approach would be chosen.  Where direct human help is not necessary, but rather the absence of human help would be best, this is what is chosen. So the new movement is quite dynamic.    

 

One example would be the drive to bring predators back to their old areas.  This is usually accomplished through merely allowing them to return, and not killing them when they do,  Surprisingly, statistically speaking, such reintroductions do not necessarily lead to more harmful interactions with humans.  

 

The main focus of the book, however, is the importance of personal experiences with animals, and of the stories people tell about their experiences.  How interacting with animals enriches people’s lives in powerful and meaningful ways.  He discusses people who have created new habitats for animals in their surrounding areas.  These can be small gestures, caring for a few animals, or they can be large operations run by a large staff and requiring a lot of maintenance.  People are following their hearts and the animals around them in creating what is needed, what will bring greater connection, between our world and theirs.  

 

One of the things that he discusses a lot are what he calls the betweens: these are animals that bridge our world with theirs in meaningful and sometimes unusual ways.  These are the wolves that roam the city streets, the deer that venture into our backyards: the urban and rural examples of animals coming close to humans.  Encounters with these animals can be the most unique and special experiences.  

 

Richard Louv has also had conversations with people who are, after all this time, discovering that may animals, such as prairie dogs and birds, for example, have complex languages, where they can be proven to be communicating with one another.  They also try to communicate with humans, though most of the time we are too dense to understand.  

 

Most of the stories are inspiring, and can help you to gain a completely new understanding of the world around us.  Animals are there, waiting for us to see and hear them, to recognize that they have been here all along, listening and waiting, for humans to begin to understand.  

 

He speaks of people who have spontaneously created sanctuaries on property they own, creating a small piece of paradise where animals and humans can live together in harmony.  There are stories of animals used in educational settings, and in entertainment venues.  He speaks with scientists and laypersons alike, making new discoveries along the way.


 

He also delves into the digital questions facing our young people,  Questions about digital technology, and if it can ever really replace nature.  Most scientists agree that it is a poor substitute, but there are some who insist that humans don’t really need actual nature, and that the semblance of it can be sufficient.  

 

Overall the message of this book is an inspiring one.  Humanity is finally beginning to open up to what is possible in the brave new frontier of human-animal interactions, and the possibilities appear to be endless,  He also discusses some of the ways in which Douglas Tallamy’s idea of Homegrown National Forest is taking real root in many communities across the country, with people banding together to extend natural areas, to care for the edges and the betweens, and overall helping to make the world a more liveable place, both for animals and humans alike.  

 

This book was a moving and inspiring read, and I would highly recommend it as a Must Read book for anyone interested in learning more about what’s happening in the world around us.  As we move further into a mechanized future, it is helpful to know that it is not a homogeneous world, and that change is happening on a fundamental level.  As people recognize the essential and irreplaceable of the natural world, on a macro and micro level, the world is becoming a more liveable place for all creatures great and small.  This scientific field has blossomed beautifully, and learning about the discoveries and realities was fascinating.  I highly recommend this book, and would give it five stars. 

 

Banner Image: Our Wild Calling cover. Image Credit – Richard Louv

 


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