To Conserve is Not Enough

A group of people eating dinner in a yurt

— by Susan B. Eirich, Ph.D. —

The good news: there is a profound worldwide paradigm shift in understanding how nature works. We humans are beginning to realize the living world is profoundly interconnected, and therefore, our actions have far-ranging consequences. This awareness is a very beautiful and useful thing.

The less-good news: we are in a race against time and need to change our values and actions to match this new realization, rapidly.

With the help of the wild animals here and elsewhere, we at Earthfire aim to accelerate this shift. Living in a technologically interconnected age gives us the opportunity to do this world-wide by creating an online platform to discuss what we can do—a discussion that includes the voices of the animals. Thus we have redesigned our website so people can actively engage in a community conversation about forging a new way of relating to nature. One that brings us joy, and includes and supports all life.

Buddhist Monk with two white wolves
Tibetan Buddhist Monk visiting Earthfire | Photo by Earthfire

We need ancient human wisdom and nature’s wisdom—but we also have to move with the times, use current knowledge and capacities as well. Thus the site has been redesigned to be more mobile friendly. While keeping all the favorite features of our old site—animal stories, pictures and videos—a key new feature is the active blog, with plenty of room for your comments. We invite blogs that range from spiritual ecology and shamanism, to paradigm-shifting discoveries by top scientists that help us make new sense of our world and the profound individuality of wild animals and what they can teach us. In addition to your voices we will have regular podcasts of interviews with changemakers from a variety of disciplines, as well as monthly Conservation Conversations. Intimately woven throughout the site are the voices of the animals, expressed through stories, videos and photos.

Bison standing in the snow
Bluebell | Photo by Tony Cross

One of the major causes of our environmental problems is that we tend to think in narrowly human-centered terms, leading us to make decisions disconnected from how nature works. The wild animals under our care serve as a portal for humans into awareness of the larger community of life; into vivid connections with other living beings. A more inclusive framework gives us crucial additional information and perspectives with which to make decisions benefiting all life. We hope the new site will help people move to such a framework.

When we feel connected with other living beings and respect the systems that support them—and us—we make entirely different personal and political decisions.

We as a culture are beginning to understand that to “conserve” is not enough. We have to change our relationship to the natural world. Then everything else will follow.

This is what we are attempting to foster: to change the way we humans see, and therefore treat, wildlife and nature, by widening the circle of conversation about ecology and spirit to include the voices of all living beings. Our intent is to serve as a powerful seed center for healing our connection with the natural world. You are warmly invited to join us in this effort of finding a new way of living together on this earth.

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Let us know what you think of all this! With excitement and hope,


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