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    When You Look at an Animal, What Do You See?

    For most of our existence, we humans have seen ourselves as superior to animals, as “above” the “lower” creatures. Rene Descartes, for example, in the 17th century argued that animals were mere “machines” incapable even of true feeling, let alone “higher” thinking. Cultures throughout antiquity sacrificed animals by the thousands to their gods, so that […] More

  • Factory Farms – The Impact on Humans and the Environment

    Most people are aware of at least a few of the problems associated with factory farming. Anyone who has ever had the unfortunate experience of even being near one will tell you the smell alone is enough to make you instantly nauseated. Aside from that, what are some of the other hazards of raising animals […] More

  • Honey Bees on Cocaine Change Ideas about the Insect Brain

    By doping honey bees with cocaine, researchers at the University of Illinois have discovered evidence that the insect brain has a reward system. The famous “waggle” dance of honey bees is a complex language that allows foraging bees to communicate the distance, direction and quality of a food source to the rest of the hive. […] More

  • Five Green Holiday Gifts that Keep on Giving

    This post was originally published at on Monday, December 15, 2008. The winter holidays are almost upon us, and whether you’re celebrating Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or the holiday(s) of another tradition, you may still be stumped for gifts to give this year… especially gifts that fit your own (and the recipients’) values. For the […] More

  • State to Ban Residential Driveway Car Washing

    To prevent toxic runoff from flowing down storm drains and into the rivers or ocean, Washington hopes to ban washing cars in driveways throughout the state. While residents complain that washing cars is a family pastime that they should not be required to give up, officials say that the at-home car wash is too harmful […] More

  • Confessions of a Vegetarian Mosquito Killer

    Five Funny Reasons to Love Mosquitoes I’m a mosquito hunter. If you’ve seen the Monty Python sketch, then you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, just scroll down. For me, there’s nothing more maddening than the high-pitch whine of a mosquito in my ear just as I’m drifting off to sleep. On any […] More

  • Trees Emit Chemical to Communicate Danger

    During unusually high temperatures and droughts, researchers have found that walnut trees emit large amounts of aspirin into the air, possibly as a warning to other trees to prepare for the changes. [social_buttons]Scientists with National Center for Atmospheric Research hope that the findings will open new doors to study how plants impact air quality, but […] More

  • Animals, Humans, and the Nature (or Nurture) of Fear

    With my feet propped up, an open book in my lap, and the morning sun baking me in my skin like a potato, I certainly was not an intimidating presence. A young squirrel certainly did not find me so, at least, as it came scurrying up to where I sat. It would slink forward a […] More

  • In Praise of Poop: Rediscovering the Wonders of Cow Manure

    Call me crazy, call me crude, but I have to say that there is nothing quite like the smell of cow manure. That scent is so rich, so savory, so earthy, so pungently sweet that just one whiff seems to bury you in an olfactory pleasure dome. And if you keep basking in the aroma, […] More

  • When Animals Adopt: Lessons of Love and Adoptive Stewardship

    “Love has no bounds” is an old cliché. Everyone loves “love”–from Valentine’s Day paraphernalia to sappy greeting cards. And environmentalists say they love nature, love the Earth, love a place or animal. Obviously, nature is often “red in tooth and claw,” as Tennyson puts it.1 However, nature also has its soft-and-fuzzy side, which provides a […] More

  • The Devil Wears…Gray Fur!

    Or at least all of his minions do. For every person that has or has had a bird feeder, I need not say more. Clearly, I am no fan of squirrels–I do not wear T-shirts with cute little squirrel faces, I do not have little stuffed squirrel dolls, I do not have baseball caps with […] More

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