11. The Inner Lives and Cultural Worlds of Animals – with Carl Safina
Carl Safina is an ecologist, author, conservationist, and animal translator whose body of work probes how free-living animals experience life. His books Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel and Becoming Wild: How Animal Cultures Raise Families, Create Beauty, and Achieve Peace have won numerous awards. Audubon named Carl Safina among its “100 Notable Conservationists of the 20th Century.”
Carl uncovers the rich truth that many species and animals have entire cultures, traditions, familial stories, and individual quests, that all are part of this symbiotic tapestry of tales that we call “nature”. He travels alongside the sweeping wingspans of albatrosses, the elephants of East Africa, the wolves of Yellowstone, the Orcas of the Pacific Northwest, sperm whales, seals, turtles, deciphering the role of matriarchs and elders, describing how individual personalities affect all kinds of behaviors, and how these creatures too experience mourning, loss, and grief.
Here we speak about all these interlocking animal worlds and lives, their highly evolved and complex cultural systems, how the world is awash in waves of communication, the imperfect evolutionary work in progress known as human empathy, and how knowledge of their existence should drastically influence strategies of conservation and regeneration. We end on a profound note speaking to the role of beauty across species and minds.
(Tip: Listen to the end of this episode, the closing is particularly special...)
“Culture is Life itself adjusting and responding and expressing to the corner of this galaxy in which it finds itself” - Carl Safina
- Carl Safina Website with links to books, articles, podcasts
- The Safina Center Non Profit
- Zebra Fish and empathy/oxytocin response
- The Mind of a Bee book
- Guardian: Australian Songbird forgetting love songs
Look out for meditations, poems, readings, and other snippets of inspiration in between episodes.
Photo Credit: Whales, Clark Miller
Music: Electric Ethnicity by Igor Dvorkin, Duncan Pittock & Ellie Kidd
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16. 16. Climate Grief, Eco-anxiety, and Loving a World in Turmoil – with Britt Wray01:10:34A necessary and beautiful episode on the emotional terrain of climate grief, loss, sadness, anxiety, and all the ways we can cope either maladaptively or adaptively to this challenging moment in time.This is an intimate conversation that makes the case for allowing ourselves to ‘feel it all’. Because from the depth of feeling comes the power of action, hope, resilience and community. If we ignore the reality of this mental health crisis, we are turning our backs on the potential that can emerge on the other side of initiation. We discuss different frameworks for processing climate anxiety - practical resources, approaches and philosophical underpinnings of a phenomenon that is sweeping the world, especially among youth populations.Dr Britt Wray is one of the world’s most esteemed and loved researchers on this topic, having published the viral newsletter and book Generation Dread: Finding Purpose in an Age of Climate Crisis. She is Director Special Initiative of the Chair on Climate Change & Mental Health in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences of Stanford Medicine, advancing research and approaches in the field with communities facing the reality of ecological and social breakdown.Show Links:Lifeworlds Resources PageBritt’s websiteBritt’s books: Generation Dread & Rise of the NecrofaunaJoanna Macey: World as Lover, World as SelfEdwards & Buzzel: The Waking Up SyndromeBlanche Verlie: Learning to Live with Climate ChangeGood Grief NetworkElizabeth Bechard: Parenting in a Changing ClimateJo McAndrews: Supporting children in the face of climate changeMartin Shaw: We Are In The Underworld And We Haven’t Figured It Out YetClimate Psychiatry AllianceRoy Scranton: Learning to Die in the AnthropoceneMusic: Electric EthnicityPhoto: Midsummer Eve Celebration
Myth | Remembrance & Initiation of the Soul34:56An essential part of living into different lifeworlds resides in the mythic realm – the currents of poetry, mysticism and story that stream in the archetypal world below the world. Today I bring you a myth, from Darren Silver, rite of passage and vision quest guide; it is a myth that has laid dormant for many years and is finally here to be told. On the surface it’s a story of twins, of a brother and a sister, and of their initiation. There is magical surrealism here, and mythic beings, ancient and enduring laws of reciprocity, of the ways of the forest, of how to barter in ancient exchanges of the soul. There are riddles and agreements and creatures that speak and weave wisdom through grit and pain and love. The enduring message that this myth leaves me with is that initiation does not come bundled in cozy sound baths and sipping cacao on a beach — initiation is painful and tears us to our bones, and yet it is a sublime liberation, because through initiation, we manifest our gifts into the world. And as Darren says, for our gift to manifest, we have to wager our own skin. So sit back and listen to this one closely. Be present, receptive, and dignify the messages that are coming through as medicine for you, because something will strike you close. Allow yourself to be carried away by the myth. And so we begin.Credit: Photo of Stag (Flickr)
15. 15. Re-Weaving Landscapes: Wildlife Crossings & Designing for Nature as the Client01:10:41The roads on which we drive are unlikely to strike us as an exciting source of design innovation or interspecies dialogue. And yet, some of the most fascinating experiments and living laboratories are taking place around the world in how humans can build structures of hope and creativity for other species to flourish, despite having their habitats sliced in half by concrete veins. Earth is a fluid organism and needs connected landscapes like a canvas upon which to paint its life. Roads, on the other hand, are the single most destructive element in the process of habitat fragmentation (not to mention the millions of deaths due to collisions and the massive economic cost of these accidents). Over the coming 30 years, an additional 25 million km of roads will be built across the planet’s surface. So today in the show, we speak to pioneers in the world of wildlife crossings and design competition leaders who have spurred the process of globally rethinking and redesigning human structures to grapple with the concept of “wilderness” and the radical interconnectedness of nature and culture.Jeremy Guth is a trustee of the Woodcock Foundation, and an ARC founding sponsor. Nina-Marie is the Graduate Director of the School of Urban and Regional Planning at Toronto Metropolitan University where she leads the Ecological Design Lab, and has created a series of courses at the Harvard Graduate School of Design called Wild Ways. Episode Website Link: https://www.lifeworld.earth/episodes-blog/reweavinglandscapes Show Links:ARC websiteCrossings for Wildlife websiteBiophilic Cities NetworkEcological Design Lab.caWild Ways Harvard CourseWild Ways publicationInteractive map of wildlife crossings in the USAeon article: Reweaving the Wild(Re)Connecting Wild filmNYT wildlife crossing articleLook out for meditations, poems, readings, and other snippets of inspiration in between episodes.Music: Electric Ethnicity by Igor Dvorkin, Duncan Pittock, Ellie Kidd & The Rising by Tryad CCPL
14. 14. Musicians of the Planet: On Making Interspecies Songs – with David Rothenberg01:01:38A clarinet plugged into an underwater hydrophone, playing with liquid humpback whale songs below the surface. A huddled group of musicians under a night-time forest in Berlin, singing with nightingales. A 17-year swarm of cicadas alighting upon a sole jazz musician. These are the scenographies that David Rothenberg provokes with his interspecies music compilations, asking us, why should we only play music with other humans and not improvise along with the original musicians of the planet herself? For human music and song emerged from a world that sings, hums, beats, chirps, and human translations of these sounds have captured our imaginations from our tribal origins through to the first recordings of humpback whales that spurred anti-whaling conventions in the 70s and electronic synthesizers. Today’s episode brings us into this creative engagement with the planet, exploring how we are transformed when we open up to a world of music, beauty and art created by nature every day. So my friends, listen wider, expand your sense of music, and have David Rothenberg, interspecies musician, writer, and philosopher, show us how to become not just passive listeners but active participants in the symphony. Episode Website LinkShow Links:David’s websiteDavid Rothenberg music on Spotifyall David Rothenberg books on AmazonNYT making music with cicadasIf Nietzche were an animal bookTim D recording windSlowing down nightingale song into whale songOn making music with whalesSounding SoilsBernie KrauseDavid’s workshop in Costa Rica Look out for meditations, poems, readings, and other snippets of inspiration in between episodes. Music: Electric Ethnicity by Igor Dvorkin, Duncan Pittock & Ellie Kidd Songs: Nightingale sounds are from David, and the Monkey Chant is from Kecak from Bali (Bridge Records)
13. 13. The Sounds of Life: Bioacoustics, A.I. and Ethics – with Karen Bakker01:01:48The world around us is constantly vibrating with sounds we cannot hear. This magical soundscape evades our senses, tempts us by its elusive presence and beckons us to look deeper. Our ability to listen in is rapidly evolving. Over the last decades, scientists have begun installing digital listening devices in nearly every ecosystem. This process of deciphering what nature is saying is called “bioacoustics” and “ecoacoustics”. Massive advances in both hardware and artificial intelligence are permitting us to go where no artificial ear has gone before. Recent breakthroughs unveil that many more species are speaking in ways we didn’t know were possible, with far richer behaviors than were previously known. Karen Bakker - Canadian scientist, author, Professor at UBC and Rhodes Scholar - tells us how bioacoustics is poised to alter humanity’s relationship with our planet by expanding our sense of sound. We can develop mobile protected areas for animal climate refugees. Simply by singing, a whale can turn aside a container ship. Acoustic enrichment can help corals regenerate. Acknowledging these forms of communication requires us to confront our entrenched ideas of sentience and intelligence. This seeks to understand non-human communication on its own terms and brings up new ethical and moral dilemmas. Who grants us consent to listen in to the conversation of bats? And as we inhabit such different lifeworlds, might we have enough shared concepts that would enable any kind of translation? Episode Website Link Smart Earth Project Sounds of Life Yale article Project CETI Interspecies Internet Earth Species Project Sonification Elephant listening project Wild Dolphin Project Sounds of Reef Marine mammal communication & cognition Biologgers Photo: Karen’s Book Music: Electric Ethnicity Coral sounds Tim Lamont Bat sound Tomáš Bartonička
Meditation | Deep Time21:19This is a meditation I wrote and recorded to plunge us through epochs of cosmic time, through the tremendous evolutionary processes that preceded us, became us, and are us. It grants us invaluable context on the great tales of life whose memories are held in our bones. This is our origin and lineage. I hope you find yourself nourished and moved by the experience. This script is inspired by and takes language from the deep time practices of Joanna Macy and the Deep Time Walk of Stephan Harding and colleagues, along with some of the evolutionary notions explored in Otherlands by John Halliday – to them I am deeply grateful. My script here. Please credit if used or shared.Music attribution: Take Off and Shoot a Zero. Stunt Island Album. Written, produced, and performed by Chris Zabriskie. Published by You've Been a Wonderful Laugh Track (ASCAP). © 2011 Chris Zabriskie.Art made with… You guessed it. Midjourney.
12. 12. The Art of Tracking & Wild Bison - with Toni Romani51:52This episode weaves live narrative, interview and descriptions on Romanian bison, wild forest adventures, and the lost ancient art and science of tracking. Tracking is an ancient sensorial and survival strategy that our nomadic ancestors cultivated as state of profound observation. It led to the development of many innate abilities of the human mind and indeed, tracking is so ingrained in our very cells that it is synonymous with being human. There is a movement today to revitalise tracking into a new modern profession, into a science that can help to monitor the impact of climate change and biodiversity loss and nature conservation. More on this in the show… Here I bring you into my own story of tracking animals and wild bison in the mountains of Romania with We Wilder, a social enterprise and cooperative founded by WWF Romania and local community members. We were engaging in a 4 day experience led by Toni Romani, a certified Cyber Tracker facilitator, and organised as part of building a local circular economy and connecting more people to the practicalities and experience of rewilding. Episode Website Link Show Links:How the return of the Bison will transform Europe (by Mossy Earth)Cyber Tracker The Art of Tracking resourcesWe Wilder Romania Toni Romani: Research Gate & CyberTracker ItalyMovebank technology approach to animal tracking (Max Planck institute) Look out for meditations, poems, readings, and other snippets of inspiration in between episodes. Music: Electric Ethnicity by Igor Dvorkin, Duncan Pittock & Ellie Kidd
Season 1 | Your Host's Reflections & Resolutions!26:51My 2023 Reflections and Resolutions from Season One! I created this podcast to explore how people can learn to inhabit the world from multiple perspectives, with the ultimate goal of being able to feel the Earth’s body as our own body. In this episode, I start the year and tie the bow on the closing of Season One, by looking back over our twenty or so conversations and harvesting the rich learnings and patterns that emerged across the show. There are three consistent topics I unearthed:The challenge of how we integrate others into our models of the worldThat tending to the lifeworlds of the earth begins to heal ourselvesA collection of insights from our guests on how to re-sensitise and re-animate ourselves to the aliveness of the worldIt’s just me today with you in this episode, so lie back and I hope this harvest brings you inspiration and breadcrumbs to follow into the new year… Music: Electric Ethnicity by Igor Dvorkin, Duncan Pittock, Ellie Kidd The Rising by Tryad CCPLPhoto Source: Imgur