Image credit: Steven Kotler
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It's fair to say that most TreeHuggers are also animal lovers. But often the topics of environmental protection and animal rights/welfare are seen as separate, if related, issues. Acclaimed author, journalist and blogger Steven Kotler argues that this has to change. His latest book, A Small Furry Prayer, tells the story of how he and his wife left inner-city LA for the wilds of New Mexico to start a no-kill shelter for dogs with severe special needs. This isn't, he argues, just a "nice thing to do" for animals or the environment either. Unless we fundamentally rethink our relationship with one of mankinds' oldest animal companions, we'll never learn to live sustainably with nature. Dogs, says Kotler, are our most important environmental issue. Join us for a live chat today as we discuss this assertion. Live Chat text unavailable due to technical difficulties.
Kotler's book is an often hilarious, compelling account of how Steven, his wife Joy, and their eight dogs moved to Chimayo, New Mexico—a town most noted for "a miraculous crucifix and its black tar heroin trade". But this is much more than an adventure story. Drawing on subjects as broad as neuroscience, anthropology and the history of co-evolution between dogs and humans, Kotler is adamant that we need to abandon the idea of the master-servant relationship with dogs, and instead humans and canines need to learn to live side-by-side as partners. This, he argues, is central to our quest for understanding the natural world:
"The reason dogs are the most critical environmental of our time because dogs are the widest doorway into what's now called "ecological perception." We co-evolved with dogs. Our brains, literally, are intertwined with their brains. So they make this transition easier.
'Essentially, if we can start seeing dogs for what they really are--a wild animal that really enjoys our company--and not as an object of human pleasure or a piece of property--this small shift will lead to other deeper and deeper changes. We can become much better ecological citizens of this world by becoming much better companions to our dogs... it's that simple,"
The implications of such a fundamental shift in perception are tremendous. Join us for a live chat with Steven today, Tuesday 17th of May at 3.30edt to learn more, to pose your own questions, and to see if we really can understand what it means to be human through the eyes of a dog.To participate in the conversation, simply bookmark this page. The live chat will take place in the window above. Questions and comments can be shared in the chat taking place below the video.
STEVEN KOTLER is an author, journalist and co-founder of the Rancho de Chihuahua dog sanctuary. His books include the non-fiction works A Small Furry Prayer and West of Jesus and the novel The Angle Quickest for Flight. His articles have appeared in over 50 publications, including The New York Times Magazine, Wired, GQ, Outside, Popular Science, Men's Journal, and Details. He also writes "The Playing Field," a blog about the science of sport and culture for PsychologyToday.com. He lives in New Mexico with his wife and too many dogs.
The Video Trailer for a Small Furry Prayer
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