Ben Goldfarb joins me to talk about his new book,Eager: the surprising, secret life of beavers and why they matter. Drawing from his work and our experiences in resource management, conservation, and environmental education we talk about the role beavers had in creating and shaping the landscape, history, and people of the United States, and the importance of reintroducing and protecting beavers to return the world to the wetter, boggier place it once was.
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What I love about this conversation is the way Ben talks about beavers and how we can connect to the world through the stories of others. From that, as I mentioned and he and I touch on, there is a deep value in good nature writing and how it can move us. Beautifully written, we hear the sound of a beaver’s tail on the water or the concern of a conservationist to ensure a mother and her kit stay together. Through those words, we get a sense of place and loving bond with the other than human we may never know personally or get a chance to visit. We can care about something beyond our self or our local biome.
If you’d like to read some of the best nature writing available, start with Ben’s book. It is absolutely fantastic and one of the finest books I’ve read in years as he leads us through the importance of beavers in a funny, witty, and captivating way. You’ll learn as much about beavers as you will the people, organizations, and history of human contact and interaction with these charismatic ecosystem engineers.
If you’d like to read more, I then suggest you check out Dan Flores, who wrote the forward for Eager, and his book, Coyote America: A natural and supernatural history, and The Beekeeper’s Lament, by Hannah Nordhaus. Both are excellent looks at the different connections between our lives and those of other animals, wild and domestic.
After reading those, should you like to learn more about the other-than-human and how we interact with that side of the world, read David Abram’s The Spell of the Sensuous. This book has had one of the most significant impacts on me and my understanding of how interrelated our relationships are with the sun and sky, earth and water, fish, fowl, insects, and mammals. How we are not alone, cannot live alone, and would not be human without them.
What are some of your favorite works of nature writing? What do you think about this conversation with Ben? Let me know.
Leave a comment in the show notes, give me a call: 717-827-6266, send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or drop something in the post:
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From here the next episode is an interview recorded by David Bilbrey with Gregory Landua to follow-up on a discussion they started at ReGen 18 on regenerative business.
Until then, spend each day looking for the impacts for rural beavers and their cosmopolitan siblings, while taking care of Earth, yourself, and each other.