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 Hearts, Richard Louv explores 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 We have an outdated view of our relationship with other animals.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 children 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.