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Rewilding Our Hearts: Building Pathways of Compassion and Coexistence Paperback – October 28, 2014

4.4 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“This inspiring book is impossible to put down. Page after page bristles with stories, examples, challenges....Like other great sages [Bekoff] offers hope and encouragement to take small steps; it is tiny acts of compassion that count and bring a deep joy to those who live out rewilding.”
— Celia Deane-Drummond, professor of theology, University of Notre Dame

“A practical way for people to reconnect with natural landscapes and animals through understanding and compassion.”
— Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE, United Nations Messenger of Peace

“I wish the ideas of Rewilding Our Hearts would become an integral part of all scientific conferences, university conservation courses, animal shows on TV, children’s books, etc.”
— George Schaller, PhD, wildlife biologist and vice-president of Panthera

“Marc Bekoff is one of the leading compassionate reformers of our time....This is a book for anyone who is interested in nurturing themselves and healing our alienated relationships with each other, other animals, and the beautiful planet we all call home.”
— Lori Gruen, PhD, professor of environmental studies, Wesleyan University

“Dr. Marc Bekoff’s latest work of art — of compassion in action — is a deeply philosophical, extraordinarily accessible, and powerfully composed message for our times....A simply brilliant work!”
— Michael Charles Tobias, president, Dancing Star Foundation

“Marc Bekoff is a leading voice in the effort to ignite a rewilding social movement grounded in love, compassion, and the recognition that we are inhabitants of a magnificent planet that is calling us home.”
— Eileen Crist, coeditor of Keeping the Wild: Against the Domestication of Earth

Rewilding is a trendy term for the revival of an ancient concept: showing respect for the natural world, including the other animals sharing it. Bekoff ... reminds us that in a sense we remain great apes and cannot operate outside nature and emphasizes that while humanity may be the dominant species, it is not the most important ecologically. ... Verdict: Bekoff's perspective is far from the North American norm, but his arguments are strong. Readers may find themselves agreeing with some of the author's points and may even do some soul searching about our treatment of animals.”
Library Journal

“In this wise and passionate book, Marc Bekoff brings a lifetime of scientific research and deep personal reflection to bear on our deepening environmental crisis. In his characteristically insightful and engaging style, Bekoff advocates for compassion as the basis of new understandings of ourselves and prompts us to reimagine the kinds of relationships that we might yet have with the rest of our living world. Rewilding Our Hearts is a tragically honest and yet powerfully uplifting response to the challenges of our time.”
— Thom van Dooren, environmental philosopher, University of New South Wales, Australia, and author of Flight Ways: Life and Loss at the Edge of Extinction

“As one has come to expect from Marc Bekoff, this is a wonderful book of scientific stories about animal minds, consciousness, and emotion. But Rewilding Our Hearts goes beyond this, showing how wildness in nature, animals, and our hearts are interconnected and mutually reinforcing. This book will bring a new audience to Bekoff’s work.”
— Dale Jamieson, director of the Animal Studies Initiative and professor of environmental studies and philosophy, New York University

“This is a book to make us all think. Drawing as only he can from a wide range of scientific research and personal experience, Marc Bekoff argues that we need to rethink our relationship to animals. Rewilding Our Hearts asks humans to give up a little control, act with a little humility, and recognize the connections we have to the rest of nature. Bekoff’s examples and illustrations remind us that sharing our planet with other species is a source of resilience as well as delight and that caring for the natural world is essential for human well-being.”
— Susan Clayton, PhD, Whitmore-Williams Professor of Psychology and chair of environmental studies at the College of Wooster

“Sadly, most of our relations with other animals are dominionistic — transactions between masters and slaves. In Rewilding Our Hearts Marc Bekoff argues persuasively that such top-down interactions are bad for creatures, bad for nature, and bad for humans. The key, Bekoff asserts, is to rewild ourselves and to respect the individuality of other beings and their homes. When we are unkind to individual creatures, we demean them and hobble our own moral development. Being the most powerful creature, he concludes, does not give us the license to ruin a spectacularly beautiful planet, its wondrous webs of nature, and its magnificent nonhuman residents. Who could disagree with that?”
— Michael Soulé, research professor emeritus in environmental studies, University of California, Santa Cruz, and coeditor of Conservation Biology: An Evolutionary-Ecological Perspective

Rewilding Our Hearts is about healing — healing our self-destructive attitudes toward the Earth by adopting a more compassionate and ethical treatment of animals....Read Rewilding Our Hearts and you will whoop, smile, and definitely gain a new respect for all life, including your fellow travelers on the planet.”
— George Wuerthner, ecological projects director, Foundation for Deep Ecology

“Marc Bekoff has been a great pioneer in the scientific study of animal emotion. Now, in Rewilding Our Hearts, Bekoff beautifully and simply articulates a philosophical attitude to guide us in the restoration of nature, which has suffered so terribly from human assaults upon it. What’s more, Bekoff shows how a new attitude toward nature can help us develop compassion and humility in our own lives. Bekoff’s message offers hope for genuine healing, of both our natural environment and ourselves.”
— William Crain, professor of psychology, City College of New York, and author of The Emotional Lives of Animals and Children: Insights from a Farm Sanctuary

“Marc Bekoff writes about how to harness compassion in a frantic world full of concrete and steel, neon and commerce; a world in which nature is crumbling around us. Finding this book is like finding a pot of glue with which we can fill the hole in our hearts and the ozone.”
— Ingrid E. Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)

“Calling for a reawakened caring for nature and animals that is both passionate and informed, Rewilding Our Hearts provides the healthy challenge we need in today’s critical and confusing times. And Marc Bekoff — mountain man and noted academic — is the right man for this job. A lively, inspiring, and unsettling book that helps us reconnect with our inner wisdom and remember the deeper truths about our shared life on this fragile Earth.”
— Will Tuttle, PhD, author of the bestselling book The World Peace Diet, recipient of the Courage of Conscience Award, and cofounder of Circle of Compassion

“This book is a reminder that all living things are our family, and we cannot live a spiritually rich and happy life unless we acknowledge and act on our connections. Marc Bekoff suggests compassionate and practical actions, small and large, that we can take to repair our bond with all other species.”
— Louise Chawla, professor, environmental design program, University of Colorado, Boulder

About the Author

Marc Bekoff is professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He has worked alongside leading writers and activists including Jane Goodall, Peter Singer, and PETA cofounder Ingrid Newkirk. He lives in Boulder, CO.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: New World Library (October 28, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1577319540
  • ISBN-13: 978-1577319542
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,287 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Marc Bekoff's latest work is pivotal. I'm grateful that his past titles have proven why animals deserve increased appreciation and protection, and this book explores something even more fundamental: humans and our actions that cause incredible damage to our planet. It's not just the animals that are suffering - it's the plants, the land, the air... and us. This concept is not new, of course, but with this book, the author offers a literal breath of fresh air by suggesting a realistic, easily accessible solution.

In simple and easy to understand terms, Bekoff tells us that we must rewild ourselves. In the process, we will begin to rewild our world. This is not just for the benefit of everything else in the biosphere. This is what is best for humans as well! He reminds us that getting reacquainted with nature feels like "coming home to a comfortable place." Why would we not want to do this? Bekoff proves the need to rewild, without soft romanticism but instead with the scientific facts that are the norm with his work.

It is our obligation as citizens of the globe to examine the consequences of our actions. A change of priorities is inevitable and necessary. "Caring is ok", Bekoff tells us, "...it is essential." So is this book.
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This book is a great way to become grounded again if you or feel other people have lost touch with nature. Every page has a message about compassion with sharp insight and an inspirational message. If you are for animal rights at all, then you will find reason to keep fighting the good fight and be exposed to ways to talk to other people about this topic. The emphasis here is on optimism and acting now to help out the future, not dwelling on the past. Nothing but good can come from reading this book.
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Rewilding Our Hearts: Building Pathways of Compassion and Coexistence is a thoughtful and wise entreaty for a new ethic to guide our relationship to other animals and natural landscapes. The author, animal activist and professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado, Marc Bekoff borrows a term from wildlife conservation when he calls for a "rewilding" of our human attitudes. Instead of restoring habitats and creating corridors between wild spaces to help animal populations recover, Bekoff proposes that we need to dissolve the barriers we have erected between ourselves and nature letting the wonder we were born with reinstate itself. Seeding our imagination with stories of kinship and kindness, he says, will let each of us reclaim our compassionate, empathic, and moral nature. Bekoff's appeal is at once his unswerving dedication to the animals he loves and his relentless unmasking of the injustices still being perpetuated in the world--like the emphasis in nature documentaries on sex and violence instead of the friendships and community life of a species. He also acknowledges the complexity of the problems we have created by putting ourselves above nature and the unlikely possibility of a world where everyone can feel or acknowledge our deep connection to other animals. Still, this book is about the present and the future and the importance of a single individual's rewilding of self. Never underestimate the power of one to make a difference.
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Yet another wonderful book by a most insightful author. Marc Bekoff shows us how to 'rewild our hearts', by reminding us who we are and how we can make a difference. This easy to read book is also difficult to put down, as he explores our relationship to the planet, ourselves, animals and each other, and offers up hope for those feeling helpless and alone. This book doesn't preach, rather, it invites us to come on a journey of connection, and compassion. A wonderful book that I will be giving to friends.
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Format: Paperback
This book discusses an important topic: connecting again with nature. In our day-to-day lives, many of us have little to no connection with the wild world. As such, we miss out on an important source of happiness and enlightenment. With all their mysteries and intricacies, animals have the power to not just teach us, but also to heal our hearts. Marc Bekoff argues dexterously for a deeper connection with nature.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Anything by Dr. Marc Bekoff is bound to be great, and this book is no exception. In wildlife conservation work, rewilding refers to habitat restoration and the creation of corridors between preserved lands to allow declining populations to rebound. Bekoff’s “rewilding” is the rehabilitation of our hearts and souls and love for ourselves, other animals, and the places we call home. Put simply: Reconnecting with the world and everything in it.

Bekoff has the guts to address human overpopulation, asking, “Why have kids if they’re headed into an impoverished world?” and says that part of rewilding means that we need to stop making more of us, as overpopulation and over-consumption are decimating us and our one and only planet. Less really can be more.

Rewilding calls for being open to learning about all views and being kind even to people with whom one disagrees. We need to talk with others, not to them or at them.

Bekoff points out that decent people who are trying to do good sometimes make the wrong choices, like feeling like they must do “big” things like found an organization or make large monetary donations, instead of everyday acts of kindness and compassion. He says we must not be “slacktivists” – talking about an urgent problem but taking few or no real steps to do anything about it.

One again Bekoff takes on difficult subjects, without making the message unobtainable. He forces the reader to take a hard look at their own choices and how those choices impact everything and everyone else.

Highly recommend this book, or anything written by this keenly insightful ethicist.
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