The renowned nature writer explores how we can find better ways to coexist with animals in the future.
In his latest, Louv (Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life, 2016, etc.) expands on key themes he has addressed in his previous books: specifically, how we must engage more directly and harmoniously with nature. He offers an impassioned and compelling case for establishing a sustainable bond with animals by proactively seeking to protect them. With extensive urbanization and the devastating effects of climate change driving more wild animals outside of their traditional habitats and into the cities, the urgency is greater than ever. “Wild animals, for their solitude or independence, stay a respectable distance from us,” writes Louv. “How do we do the same for them? How do we protect the spaces in which other animals live and still watch them, connect with them, be with them? The point is not just to fulfill our human need for connectedness but to mindfully replace our destructive interactions—as individuals, as a society.” Weaving his personal experiences into accounts of his interviews with wildlife experts, psychologists, teachers, and others, the author recounts spiritual and sometimes mind-altering or life-changing encounters with various types of wild animals. These range from dogs to cattle to birds to snakes to sea creatures (a particularly interesting section involves a diver’s enigmatic meeting with a giant octopus). Louv offers glimpses of how animals can effectively communicate with their own species and remarkable examples of cross-species interactions. He further considers how interactions with animals can be therapeutic, both physically and mentally, including our increasing dependency on support animals and evidence of how animal-assisted therapy can benefit autistic children. By understanding how to effectively connect with the animal world, argues the author, we will not only reduce human and animal loneliness; ideally, we could find the key to our survival on this planet.
A thoughtfully researched, poetically inspiring call to action that will resonate with a broad range of readers.