— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — It is so hard to follow up on our good intentions and resolutions! According to one theory our forebrain, where our will is situated, is not yet fully developed to override temptations. In that sense we are not yet “grown up” as a species. Disadvantaged against the powerful pushes that are hard-wired into us for survival we fail again and again. Kindness and compassion for our fate! We didn’t choose our brain structure. Yet we have another kind of wiring as well – the capacity for seeing beyond the immediate and obvious; for overriding our innate weakness in order to live by our values instead of our drives. We also have the capacity to see our...

If you have been following Earthfire Institute this last year via our email newsletter, website, or social media, you know that we have been talking a lot about Conversation—that simple act of connecting with another being by offering our selves, our words, and our willingness to listen with an open mind and heart. In the introduction to Turning To One Another, author Margaret Wheatley writes, “I believe we can change the world if we start listening to one another again. Simple, truthful conversation where we each have a chance to speak, we each feel heard, and we each listen well. If we can sit together and talk about what’s important to us, we begin to come alive.” We...

— by Gitte Fjordbo — Since the start of the Conservation Conversations this Spring, I have been getting up in the middle of the night to participate. I live in Denmark, so it happens between 2 and 3 a.m. Denmark is a small country, still the duckpond Hans Christian Andersen wrote about in the fairytale, The Ugly Duckling. In many ways you have to fit in, or else, especially if your world or vision is bigger than that of the rest of your pond. Although many of Andersen’s stories were about animals, our relationship to and with animals today--pets, farm animals and a bit of wildlife--is not very evolved in general. You should think having been proclaimed the “happiest people in...

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — In this seventh month of our online community conversations, the fruits of shared conversation, of personal ways of seeing shared among us, are leading to an ever richer appreciation and understanding of Life and shared sense of purpose. If you missed it, watch our seventh conversation here, and join us in our next conversation!  I read once about a scientist who lived alone except for a goldfish in a bowl. He wrote that when he came home the goldfish always moved to the side of the bowl closest to him as he entered the room. He felt a sense of companionship from that fish and began to look forward to its greeting. A couple of years ago that would have...

— by Susan Eirich, PhD — How can we take action for nature and animals in these difficult times? We have a recent addition to our e-newsletter called One Good Deed, but it has been a struggle. How do you suggest things to people that are of real use? What is of real use? And if we suggest it, are we willing to do it ourselves? Part of the work at Earthfire is to look at the larger picture, including the perspectives of all nature, believing that our human-centric focus is too narrow to create real, lasting solutions without including all living systems of the Earth. But even working with just humans, how do we best proceed? Life against all odds | Stock Photo Do you suggest...

— by Susan Eirich, PhD — “Listening connects us. It opens a channel through which information can pass on a beam of respect and caring. And then, ultimately, love.”    Susan B. Eirich “I used to know a man who could walk by any cornfield and hear the corn singing. “Teach me,” I’d say. He’d say, “It takes a lot of practice. You can’t be in a hurry….Do this: go get to know one thing as well as you can. It should be something small. Don’t start with a mountain. Start with one seed pod or one dry weed or one handful of dirt. You have to respect that tree or hill or whatever it is you are with….Take the horned toad for example. If you think you are better...