What is the wild? Maybe the simplest definition is: that which is not under human control. All that is not domesticated by us, regulated by us, understood by us.
But in the age that’s now often called the Anthropocene — the era in which human activity creates vast impacts on the natural world, including climate change and mass extinction — even if we don’t know the wild, the wild knows us.
Here are nine poems, selected and annotated by the Center for Biological Diversity’s Victoria Bogdan Tejeda and Cybele Knowles, about the wild: wild animals, wild places and the distance (or sometimes nearness) from the wild to us. …
A passenger pigeon takes wing over a forest in the eastern North America. A Steller’s sea cow, insulated by plenty of blubber, floats comfortably in the chilled waters of the Bering Sea. A Tasmanian tiger scans the Australian grassland for its prey of wallaby and wombat, potoroo and possum.
Not in real life, because all these species are extinct, but in ink. On skin.
A tattoo can be many different things: memento, memorial, reminder, promise, intention, sign of protection, declaration of love.
We set out to find people who had chosen to get tattoos of extinct and imperiled species, and we discovered they did so to remind themselves, and others, of the intrinsic value of life — of a species now gone forever or a species that may one day face the same fate. The tattoos collected here are also about love, loss and a commitment to fight for the survival of the nonhuman world in this age of the Anthropocene. …
A lot of environmental songs are bad — either awkward pleas delivered with an embarrassing amount of strain or dull dirges more likely to induce a depression nap than a burst of planet-saving energy. There are so many bad songs about the environment, in fact, that Rolling Stone put together this delightfully snarky list of The 15 Corniest Pro-environment Songs.
If you listen to a bunch of environmental songs in a concentrated fashion (as I’ve just done), you’ll identify two common pitfalls. First, some environmental songs lean too hard on logos and not enough on pathos. They tell why you should care about the Earth, but they don’t make you feel it. …
The U.S.–Mexico border traverses deserts and forests, mountains and canyons, rivers and floodplains, and coastal beaches and waters. This terrain is the home of thousands of species; as a matter of fact, the border region is one of the most biodiverse places in North America.
The boundary we’ve drawn across the continent cuts through numerous wild pathways, and one of the many reasons Trump’s wall is a terrible idea is the harm it will cause to plants, animals and ecosystems.
We’ve witnessed the adverse effects on wildlife from the barriers already in place along several hundred miles of the 2,000-mile-long border. If the wall of Trump’s paranoid imagination comes to pass — impregnable, high and unbroken — many more species will be affected, including the ones listed below. …
As the Center for Biological Diversity took our #Earth2Trump resistance roadshow across the country, we heard this many times: “What can I do to stop Trump?”
Our roadshow speakers and performers, people we met along the way and Center staff — who’ve been in the resistance business for more than 25 years — offered some great answers. Now that the tour’s over and we’ve had a chance to unpack our bags, we’ve compiled some of those answers into this #Earth2Trump Resistance Guide.
But let’s start with a simple recipe for sustained personal resistance during this stressful era: Commit to it, allow yourself breaks, and select the resistance methods that play to your strengths. …
When artist Roger Peet and the Center for Biological Diversity set out in 2015 to increase the visibility of endangered species in the places where they live, we decided to do so with murals: a 12-foot-tall painting of endangered mountain caribou in Sandpoint, Idaho. An immense jaguar in downtown Tucson, Arizona, whose hypnotic gaze dominates a street corner. Endangered yellow-billed cuckoos flying, far larger than life, over the grounds of a public high school in Los Angeles, to be seen and known by generations of kids for years to come.
Murals have long served as a political art form that speaks to the values and experiences of the unknown and oppressed. In the early 20th century, Mexican muralists like Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros used murals to depict the achievements of Mexico’s nameless workers and the colonization of indigenous peoples by the Spanish. “There are traditions all over the world of muralists contributing to movements for social change and environmental justice,” says Roger Peet, director of the Center’s Endangered Species Mural Project and member of Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative. “I’m a great fan of the classic Mexican muralists like Rivera and Siquieros, and I also draw inspiration from those often anonymous artists in Honduras, Portugal, Mozambique, Paris and beyond.” …
We humans tend to think that because we rule the food chain, we’re the most intelligent animals on Earth. Are we, though? Using some basic everyday measures, it’s obvious these five animals are definitely smarter than some of us.
1. Beavers never need to call the plumber.
It’s the holiday season, a traditional time of giving gifts. Did you know that many other animals also give gifts in ritual exchanges? Here are some gifts animals give.
The scorpion fly is an impressive mini-beast with powerful, beak-like jaws and a posterior segment that looks like a scorpion stinger but is actually genitals. The male scorpion fly offers mates a nuptial gift of a ball of protein-rich saliva. (A nuptial gift is one presented as part of a mating negotiation.) Before you poo-poo this gift, you should know that this isn’t just any ball of saliva, but a gigantic ball of saliva, equaling up to 10 percent of the fly’s body weight. …
These days we need good sustenance of all kinds — including what we eat. And how we eat is a fairly straightforward way to align our actions with our values.
Drawn from the bookshelves of the staff of the Center for Biological Diversity, here are 10 cookbooks for people who love the planet.
We get ready for winter by dragging our coats out from the back of the closet, turning up the thermostat and, if pressed, enjoying a few pumpkin spice lattes. But how do animals deal with winter? Here are five wild creatures who weather the meanest season with aplomb.
Bear: Eat All the Things