This week our guest is Mark Bekoff. He is the author of, “Rewilding Our Hearts: Building Pathways of Compassion and Coexistence.” He is professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder and has worked alongside leading writers and activists including Jane Goodall, Peter Singer, and PETA cofounder Ingrid Newkirk.
“We live in a wounded world that is in dire need of healing,” writes biologist Marc Bekoff in this impassioned call to reverse unprecedented global losses of biodiversity and habitat by changing ourselves. Rewilding means “to make wild once again” and it is frequently used in wildlife conservation to refer to re-creating wildlife habitat and creating corridors between preserved land for wildlife to travel through, thus allowing declining populations to rebound. Bekoff applies the Rewilding concept to human psychology and attitudes. We need to rewild both ourselves and other nature, Bekoff claims. We need to become re-enchanted with nature and fundamentally shift our consciousness. Otherwise, acts of physical conservation will have limited impact.
Here he outlines the ever-growing, global compassionate conservation movement that stresses that the lives of individual animals matter and should not get lost in the shuffle of concerns for the loss of landscapes. He calls on humanity to replace words with action and create a proactive, rather than a reactive, social movement in animal protection and wildlife conservation. Bekoff practices “deep ethology” in which he, as the “see-er,” tries to become the “seen” — an act of empathic imagining. “I name my animal friends,” he writes, “and try to step into their worlds to discover what it might be like to be a given individual, how they sense their surroundings and how they behave in myriad situations.”
Bekoff draws on what we know about biology, ethology, conservation biology, psychology (including conservation psychology), and the role of childhood education and social movements in bringing about positive change to outline a plan for changing minds and hearts. Rewilding Our Hearts looks at biodiversity loss and offers positive solutions for how we can deal with the global crisis in the loss of animal species. It stresses the importance of reconnecting with nature in new and constructive ways. It is an inspirational book about what we can and must do, as a global community, working in harmony for common goals, to deal with the rampant and wanton destruction of our planet and its innumerable residents.