Susan Eirich and Autumn Dancer the TimberwolfPhoto by Marilyn Paine

We need a new story in conservation—one that energizes us and gives us hope. As more species extinctions are announced and weather patterns change dramatically, our human-centered frame of reference is too small, causing us to make decisions that do not consider the living systems in which we are embedded. Realizing we are part of a larger living community brings out the best in us: our urge to respect and protect. Living with rescued wildlife over their lifetime, I have witnessed events with profound implications for a different relationship with nature. With stories of sweetness, healing, and spiritual growth, experiences with Earthfire animals show how we belong to the larger community of Life, enhance our understanding of the nature of consciousness, guide us to be more mindful, and help pierce the veil between us and other species. There is beauty and joy waiting for us if we can curb our hard-wiring for territoriality and status through a clear understanding of what binds all of Life together. We take actions based on the story we are taught from birth. But we humans have the capacity to step out of and examine our beliefs. What matters most is that we change the story—now.

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