In the summer of 2016 agents of the Fish and Wildlife Department in Washington State were dispatched to hunt down and shoot 12 wolves, comprising an entire pack, because they were suspected of killing or injuring cattle being grazed on public land. Four of the animals, an adult female and three juveniles, managed to evade the bullets, and the killing operation has since been suspended.
Now, there is nothing particularly newsworthy or unusual about this. Continue reading “Bullets as management tools”
Our estrangement from the natural world is coded into our language. It is on display in the metaphors and the turns of phrase we use. It manifests itself in the very words we choose.
As a mundane example, consider the phrase “out of the woods,” as in the sentence, “My cancer is in remission, but am not entirely out of the woods yet.” Embedded in this common expression is the idea that the woods are something undesirable. The nursery rhymes and stories we were told as children are explicit about this, invariably painting the woods as a dark and sinister place inhabited with evil creatures and dangers of all kinds. In truth, of course, the woods are a vital source of nourishment and sustenance—right down to the air we breathe.
Environmental activist and author, David Abram, asks us to consider the distinction between “being anchored” and “being rooted.” Both phrases entail a connection. But in one case, the connection is a natural part of you. In the other, the connection is artificial, mechanically directed, and imposed from the outside. One is a source of essential elements needed for life and growth. The other is a sterile tether. With time, roots develop, spread, grow, and deepen. With time, an anchor rusts, erodes, and dissolves. Roots make us stronger. Anchors make us stagnant.
A good exercise is to think about the connections we have with the people and places we interact with on a day-to-day basis. How many of those are organic and mutually entangling? How many of those are in the form of anchors: transient, cumbersome, and externally directed?