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Regional Interests

‘Wild Souls’ questions assumptions about animals, nature, and conservation

Emma Marris' new book is "Wild Souls: Freedom and Flourishing in the Non-Human World"
Emma Marris' new book is "Wild Souls: Freedom and Flourishing in the Non-Human World"

The fossil fuel economy and other factors driving climate change created dramatic impacts on the natural environment and the wildlife that call those places home. Countless species have disappeared and others are threatened or endangered. In her latest book, “Wild Souls: Freedom and Flourishing in the Non-Human World,” Emma Marris says human activity has touched so much of the planet that it raises the question of whether any part of the Earth can truly be considered “wild.”

The efforts to save ecosystems and species and preserve biodiversity may seem to be harmonious endeavors. But, Marris says the decisions to save one species may well damage another, and she wonders if striving for “pure” or “natural” states is actually the most effective strategy for the well-being of non-human animals. Research suggests many animals possess what has long been thought of as a primarily human domain: self-awareness and sentience. We talk with Marris about the effect of human activity on non-human life and how she’s thinking about the underlying values and assumptions that often shape conservation and preservation strategies.

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