The bestselling author of the landmark work Last Child in the Woods now shows us how cultivating the powerful, mysterious, and fragile bond between humans and other animals can improve our mental, physical, and spiritual health, protect our planet, and serve as an antidote to the loneliness of our species.
In Our Wild Calling , Richard Louv begins a national conversation exploring how our encounters and relationships with other animals influence our mental and physical health, touch our souls, help us find a path back to the warmth of human kinship and community, and strengthen our resolve to protect other species. We have an outdated view of our relationship with other animals. How can our species, and each of us, move beyond our current approach, which has reduced our understanding of animals to scientific details and facts; removed us to a habitat separate from other creatures; contributed to an increasingly impersonal and ineffectual environmentalism; threatened the replacement of animal life by technology and robotics; and aggravated a growing epidemic of human loneliness?
Louv identifies two habitats – the outer habitat (land, air, water, and flesh) and the more mysterious inner habitat, a complex seldom explored emotional and spiritual domain as it pertains to nature. Both habitats are endangered; each depends on the other for survival. By rebuilding the bridge between these habitats, we can rediscover a source of meaning that has been lost or obscured. We can begin to heal the wounds of body, soul, and Earth. This transformation requires new and exciting tools, among them: "critical anthropomorphism"; animal-assisted therapy; a fading barrier between domestic and wild; the development of new kinds of cities that serve the descendants of all species. Louv is hopeful that we can move beyond the current Anthropocene Epoch, in which human activity impacts the Earth and leads to our Age of Loneliness, to the Symbiocene, a new Age of Connectedness.
Richard Louv, recipient of the 2008 Audubon Medal, is the author of seven books, including Last Child in the Woods and The Nature Principle. The chairman of the Children & Nature Network, he is also honorary cochair of the National Forum on Children and Nature. He has written for the San Diego Union-Tribune, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Christian Science Monitor, and other newspapers and magazines. He has appeared on The Early Show, Good Morning America, Today, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, NPR's Morning Edition, Fresh Air, Talk of the Nation, and many other programs.
"Richard Louv has done it again. A remarkable book that will help everyone break away from their fixed gaze at the screens that dominate our lives and remember instead that we are animals in a world of animals."
– Bill McKibben, author Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?
"We need community with nature and communication with animals more than ever now that so many of us live in urban environments. Through many fascinating stories of human-animal interaction, Richard Louv urges us to be open-minded about animals and reposition our species inside the natural world."
– Frans de Waal, author of Mama's Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us about Ourselves
"I wish I had written this book! In this deep exploration, Louv celebrates our essential connections to animals – in the wild, in the city, in our dreams, in our hearts."
– Jennifer S. Holland, author of the New York Times bestselling Unlikely Friendships series
"Not just a brilliant, wise, and eloquent book, but a powerful summons to reconnect with the life all around us. Reconnecting with animals is a remedy for much of what ails modern life including loneliness and boredom."
– David W. Orr, Paul Sears Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Oberlin College
"Powerful. A must-read for everyone who is concerned with the ways in which human animals are becoming increasingly alienated from nonhuman animals, with devastating results for all involved."
– Marc Bekoff, author of Rewilding Our Hearts
"The timing for Our Wild Calling could not be better. Louv suggests that humans who have strong relationships with animals help their own mental health as well as possibly saving life on earth. This book is incredibly important to our future on this planet."
– Robert Bateman, artist, naturalist, and author of Robert Bateman's Canada
"Richard Louv continues to connect all of us to nature through his new book [...] A great read for all!"
– Fran P. Mainella, 16th Director of the U.S. National Park Service