This is Ligonier's friendly neighborhood blog and an attempt to recapture our lively opinionated debates in a free speech zone.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Loyalty and devotion...and defending what we love

"We all know that many animals grieve the loss of family and friends and here's a wonderful acknowledgement of broken-hearted elephants mourning the loss of their human friend, Lawrence Anthony, author of The Elephant Whisperer .  "Tonight at Thula Thula, the whole herd arrived at the main house, home to Lawrence and I. We had not seen them here for a very long time. Extraordinary proof of animal sensitivity and awareness that only a few humans can perceive. And Lawrence was one of them. Thank you for your wonderful messages. Lawrence's legacy will be with us forever at Thula Thula." Mr. Anthony also did incredible work to rescue animals at the Baghdad Zoo who were caught in the cross-fire of a horrific war.
In an earlier essay I wrote: "Of course our nonhuman companions also grieve the loss of their human friends. Many show such deep and enduring loyalty and devotion that they continue to follow the same routines in which they took part with their human friend for years after the human died or they choose to live out their lives where their human is buried." More examples can be found here. We really don't need more data to know other animals grieve and mourn the loss of family and friends and I'm sure as time goes on more and more species will be added to the list of animals who grieve.Grieving and mourning clearly show that nonhuman animals are socially aware of what is happening in their worlds and that they feel deep emotions when family and friends die. Clearly we're not the only animals who possess the cognitive and emotional capacities for suffering the loss of others."

For our survival, "habitat" - and by that I mean the whole earth and everything in it - must begin to be valued by humans as other than commodity for immediate use or gratification. From failing bees to shrinking elephant populations, human actions demonstrate how our cleverness far outstrips our wisdom to use that cleverness. We need a much deeper wisdom to know not just what we can do, but what is wise to do long-term. The animals are wiser in so many ways, and we can learn from them...beginning with our landbase.

Push back on on the destruction of your land base, defend it. Our lives truly do depend on "our context"...which is the air, water and soil that supports us and all the animals/plants over which we have decided we have dominion.

No one defends what they don't love... . Not recognizing the earth's worthiness to be treated as a loved one ensures the course that we see playing out across the globe.