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The Sun Magazine

The Natural World

Wildlife

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

There Is Someone In There

Dolphins who hear their own signature whistled by another dolphin call back. They don’t respond to a dolphin who whistles a third dolphin’s signature call. In other words, they call each other by name, and they answer when they hear their own name called. Dolphins call their close friends’ names when they are separated. No other mammal seems to do that (that we know of).

The Sun Interview

Signs Of Intelligent Life

Carl Safina’s Evidence That Other Animals Think And Feel

And each year we kill for food billions of animals we raise as prisoners and whose lives are often more terrible than their deaths. Even if we do continue eating animals, we could do much better by them and raise them more humanely. The way people treat animals affects the way they treat people: if you brutalize animals, you are probably hardhearted toward humans, too.

The Dog-Eared Page

excerpted from
The Round Walls Of Home

We need to send into space a flurry of artists and naturalists, photographers and painters, who will turn the mirror upon ourselves and show us Earth as a single planet, a single organism that’s buoyant, fragile, blooming, buzzing, full of spectacles, full of fascinating human beings, something to cherish. Learning our full address may not end all wars, but it will enrich our sense of wonder and pride.

The Sun Interview

The Skeleton Gets Up And Walks

Craig Childs On How The World Is Always Ending

We think of apocalypse as a moment — a flash of light, then you’re gone — but if we study the earth’s history, we find that it’s not one moment. It’s actually a long process. In fact, it’s hard to see where it begins or ends. Like right now: evidence indicates that we’re experiencing the planet’s sixth mass extinction — a period when the rate of extinction spikes and the diversity and abundance of life decrease. Each such extinction event takes hundreds of thousands of years to play out, and it’s generally 5 to 8 million years before the previous levels of biodiversity return. So are we at the end or the beginning of a cycle? This could just be a temporary spike. The pattern could swerve in a different direction.

Quotations

Sunbeams

For 99 percent of the time we’ve been on Earth, we were hunters and gatherers, our lives dependent on knowing the fine, small details of our world. Deep inside, we still have a longing to be reconnected with the nature that shaped our imagination, our language, our song and dance, our sense of the divine.

Janine Benyus

Quotations

Sunbeams

Scientific principles and laws do not lie on the surface of nature. They are hidden, and must be wrested from nature by an active and elaborate technique of inquiry.

John Dewey

The Dog-Eared Page

The Serpents Of Paradise

I finish my coffee, lean back, and swing my feet up and inside the doorway of the trailer. At once there is a buzzing sound from below and the rattler lifts his head from his coils, eyes brightening, and extends his narrow black tongue to test the air.

The Dog-Eared Page

The Ledge

The boy did for the fisherman the greatest thing that can be done. He may have been too young for perfect terror, but he was old enough to know there were things beyond the power of any man. All he could do he did, by trusting his father to do all he could, and asking nothing more.

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