What we can learn from wild creatures is immense. Ecological writer Satish Kumar once wrote that the only way to save the planet, is when we change our perception of ‘owning nature’ to living alongside nature. Instead of thinking we know best, we can be humbled to know that native wildlife nearly always know better than us. You may think a tiger is vicious, but it only kills once a week (lost habitats has caused it to venture into human areas). A tiger only kills to feed her and her babies, never to put a pair of horns on a wall or take a photo.
Likewise, construction companies often decimate local wildlife habitats and woodlands to build. Yet a bird is the ultimate architect, using ingenious methods to build incredible nests (no help required from us) and then it naturally biodegrades after use (we could do the same with materials like straw bale & cob), but government has other ideas.
If wildlife is sick, it rests and fasts for a little while, goes to a quiet place to recover or die. It works with its own circadian cycle to get up and go to sleep at the right time, and gets its entertainment from nature, not external sources like non-stop news channels or trashy TV.
- A Handful of Happiness is a nice tale of Italian vet Massimo, who (heartbroken and depressed after his marriage ended) was asked to look after Nina, a tiny orphaned hedgehog. Covered in soft white quills with a curious, playful and affectionate personality she brought out unexpected paternal protectiveness. But as she wakes from her first hibernation, she craves the free range of the woods beyond Massimo’s house. He must accept she is ready to move on. But her rescue leads him to start a sanctuary that has helped over 200 other creatures.
- The Spiritual Nature of Animals is by vet Karlene, whose journey began as she drove her pickup loaded with medical supplies to attend to animals throughout southwestern Colorado. Feeling a powerful kinship with all beautiful beings (a bond that goes beyond flesh, fur and feathers), this book chronicles her amazing exploration through the teachings of various religious and cultural traditions, as well as her encounters with the magnificent Rocky Mountain terrain and the quirky characters who inhabit it.
- Wildlife Photography: Saving My Life One Frame at a Time is far more than a book of tips on how to become a better photographer. The author suffered serious post-traumatic-stress-disorder after suffering a harrowing traumatic experience, while serving n the police force (after a previous career as a soldier). After three suicide attempts, he was brought back from the brink, by his newfound love for photographing wildlife in their natural habitats.
- How to Be a Good Creature is a beautiful and unique book, reflecting on the personalities and quirks of 13 animals – her friends- who have profoundly affected her life. No-one knows better than Sy, who have travelled the world to meet some of the planet’s most rare and beautiful animals, from tarantulas to tigers. Becoming a Good Creature is a picture-book adaptation for younger readers. Also read her other book The Soul of an Octopus.
I think animals teach compassion better than anyone. Compassion doesn’t necessarily just mean a little mouse with a sore foot, and you try to fix it. It means getting yourself inside the mind and heart of someone else. Seeing someone’s soul, looking for their truth. Animals teach you all of that, and that’s how you get compassion and heart. Sy Montgomery