species loneliness project

A couple of buoying experiences over the last two days:

  • I got to make a gorgeous geode tie-dye bandana & a tie-dyed vintage Social Distortion shirt
  • I ran a ~10 minute mile, finally
  • I had a doctor fight for me against my insurance company that didn’t want to pay for my meds anymore
  • I reached out to some new friends even though I was nervous
  • I met a really interesting and beautiful girl

I’m so grateful for these emotional buoys, as life’s been challenging the last month or so. But what I want to allow these experiences to do for me – and for you, readers! – is support me as I work through my own personal Species Loneliness.

What is Species Loneliness?

I first learned this term from the ever-wonderful Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer in her infamous book Braiding Sweetgrass. Basically, we as humans do not know our non-human neighbors. I saw Dr. Wall Kimmerer speak at my local library, and she mentioned that it’s been shown children nowadays can recognize dozens of corporate logos by name – but barely any plants or trees.

Now, I’m not a “should/shouldn’t” type of person. Worlds change. I’m not going to monologue on “children shouldn’t know corporate logos but they should know trees,” even though I do feel that way. What I believe specifically is that knowledge of our ecological neighbors, getting to know them and even befriend them, is a more wholesome existence than knowing where the nearest McDonald’s is or the history of the “golden arches.” I know that I at least feel better now that I recognize some of the plants out on my hiking trails.

What can we do about it?

Well, that’s easy, isn’t it? What do you do when you move somewhere and you don’t know anyone? You go meet some folks!

We can go out and meet members of other species, too. (Safely, of course. No one’s suggesting trying to shake a grizzly’s hand.)

So, what’s this project you’ve alluded to?

It’s really not anything major. Basically I want to introduce readers to as many plants from the northeastern United States (because that’s where I am) as I can! It’s like introducing two friends to one another. I think it’ll be nice.

Let’s make friends. Keep checking back for posts about our nonhuman neighbors! (They’ll be categorized as ‘Local Life Profiles’).


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