Species Intelligence

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Species Intelligence:
Listening to the Voices of Nature

Saturday, November 17 – Sunday, November 18, 2018, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Harvard University,* Museum of Natural History
Geological Lecture Hall
24 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA

Tickets available soon.
Volunteer opportunities available too – please contact staff@bio4climate.org

*Biodiversity for a Livable Climate is not affiliated with Harvard University,
nor is this conference a Harvard University program or activity.

This conference is about us civilized humans falling in love with the wonders and beauties of the natural world once again.  For what we love, we protect.

In 2016 Frans de Waal wrote Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are, a review of fascinating research that must give us pause. Such investigations indicate how intelligent the organism some have called Gaia – Planet Earth – collectively is. That’s not just about animals either – it’s also about fungi, plants and microbes, and how we humans are just one small part of this great symphony of intelligent life.

Indigenous cultures have known this forever, the rest of us have some catching up to do. Fortunately we are finally leaving behind us the scientific curse of “anthropomorphism,” the idea that attributing any form of intelligence to non-human creatures was really just a matter of over-using our imaginations.

You may ask, “What does pan-species intelligence have to do with climate and biodiversity?” In keeping with our striving towards systems thinking we would say “a lot”! Can we let go of our hubris, our belief that we are the chosen ones, and realize that compassion and collaboration, far more than competition, are the essence of life on Earth? If we can, perhaps we will finally become the stewards – and the stewarded – that we can and should be.


We’re at the very early stages of conference planning, but we promise that you will be astonished and delighted, as have we, at recent as well as ancient insights about the creatures we share Planet Earth with.  They are smart and compassionate, they lead rich and loving lives, and we rely on their diverse and varied presence for our own survival.  They’re talking to us and this will be a weekend where we learn more about how to listen – and to marvel.  Here’s
a sample of what we’ll be pondering.

We’ve contacted a number of wonderful speakers who will regale us with stories of our brother and sister species across the kingdoms of life.  As speakers accept our invitations we’ll update the conference web pages, so please stay tuned.

More soon – in the meanwhile, be sure to save the dates!

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