Trans-species collaboration

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In the stirring closing lines of Carmel Point, Robinson Jeffers writes:

We must uncenter our minds from ourselves;
We must unhumanize our views a little

But how is this to be done? One way is surely as a philosophical practice that builds ways of thinking with the more-than-human world instead of thinking about it. That is essential.

Yet for those of us who tend to live too much in our own heads, what practical actions can be taken?

In discussing Bill Mollison’s statement “everything gardens,” Gordon White explains that permaculture aims to mimic forests in the way it builds and stacks and interconnects systems: “running chickens and geese through and orchard to control insects in fallen fruit and fertilise the soil, having bird systems follow ruminant systems on pasture to spread the manure and break the maggot/fly cycle.”

But if this is successfully brought about then what is actually happening is that the human is being decentred. The whole project becomes the sort of trans-species collaboration Donna Haraway and Bayo Akomolafe are talking about–and this holds true on any scale from a broad acre cattle ranch to an aquaculture setup on an apartment balcony.

Here is a practical way to “uncenter our minds from ourselves”: trans-species collaboration. To consciously work alongside the more-than-human world in whatever way presents itself to you. Recognizing and respecting the agency of the beings around you–from the charismatic megafauna to your plants to the soil itself–is a step toward right relations.

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