Reflections from Our First Online Conservation Conversation

— by Susan B. Eirich, Ph.D. —

We have all seen many online videos of humans helping wild animals in distress, from dolphins to ravens; sharks to whales, and our hearts are warmed. However, it is important that we take our thinking further than that. What does it mean when a wild animal shows gratitude after a human helps them? What does it mean that a wild animal comes to a human asking for help?

These and other questions, meant to help us think more deeply about the potential relationship we can have between species, were part of our first online Conservation Conversation. Other than a few technical glitches, it was a resounding success. If success is the right word to describe humans beings deeply moved, sharing richly, and as one participant said, “leaving with a full heart.”

We believe that the heart connection comes first in making any profound change. From that position we can move to develop effective ideas and actions that each of us can do to help change the trajectory we are on with respect to the Earth and all its inhabitants. Heart connection unshared however, is an un-mined source of profound change. When shared in community, it becomes another thing entirely – a powerful catalyst for change. This is the vision for these Conversations. To help each other stay tuned to that quiet inner voice that speaks to what is really life-sustaining. To explore how we can support one another in hearing that voice and live our lives in accordance with it.

These are not things to be developed in a one-hour conversation, so we will hold them monthly. They are designed to develop organically, based on your input, working towards developing a community of humans listening to each other and the voices of animals, in a “Council of All Beings.”

We will explore such questions as, “Is all life sacred?” If so, what does that mean for how we live our lives? “What are the main areas to which we should direct our energy?” For example, the Deep Ecology platform suggests three areas of action: preserve wilderness; live simply, and work on creative solutions to population control. Your own questions, topics and suggested solutions are very much wanted. Please join us in building a loving creative community that considers all Life and will move us towards a joyous, sustainable way of living together on the Earth. Thank you!!!!

A recording of the conversation is available here:


The next Conversation will be held on June 21 at 6 pm MDT.

Dr. Susan Eirich is the Founder and Executive Director of Earthfire Institute Wildlife Sanctuary and Retreat Center. A licensed psychologist, biologist and educator, her goal is to widen the circle of conversation about conservation to include the voices of all living beings.

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