Sunday, January 29, 2012

Recommended Winter Reading

Snow days or no-snow days, winter does tend to keep us inside more, so here's a worthwhile read. If you enjoyed David Suzuki's Nature of Things episode on the animal mind recently, you will definitely want to delve into biologist Marc Bekoff's book. The Suzuki episode was just a teaser on this profoundly important topic.
And here's an intriguing passage that tickled my "tiny green" fancy:
In my musings about animal emotions I also can't help wondering, What about the insects? Do even mosquitos have emotional lives? Of course, mosquitos have tiny brains and lack the neural apparatus necessary for the evolution of emotions, so it's doubtful they do. But in truth, we just don't know. One day, perhaps we'll figure out a way to determine this. More important, however, would it make a difference to us if they did? It should, just as it should make a difference to us that other animals have emotions. Knowing that animals feel - and being able to understand them when they express joy, grief, jealousy, and anger - allows us to connect with them and also to consider their points of view when we interact with them. Knowledge about animal passions should make a difference in how we view, represent, and treat our fellow beings.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Nature Near Home...

A lone wild turkey walks through the field near the house.

“After long experience, I am convinced that the best place to study nature is at one’s own home, — on the farm, in the mountains, on the plains, by the sea, no matter where that may be. One has it all about him then….The wild creatures about you become known to you as they cannot be known to a passer-by.”

John Burroughs,"Nature Near Home"
Field and Study (1919)