November 21, 2020

Can we see past human-made values to share with other species?

Kirsteen Bell

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The Pine Marten's Share,

The pressure that humans have placed on this planet is building. As a result, it is increasingly imperative to be aware of the boundaries between human and more than human, and on the rights and values we attach to both. I live on a croft; we work with the landscape to provide for ourselves. We grow food – meat and vegetables – to fill our bellies. However, we must protect what we grow; predators range from slugs to sea eagles. The concepts with which we establish ownership of our crops and livestock are not recognised by the other species with whom we share this place. This year I have been watching the pine marten, looking eagerly for signs of its life alongside ours. So when it finally came too close – when it got right into our henhouse – I was caught between two minds. One wondered at this beautiful creature and held respect for its need to survive; the other remembered my responsibility to the living creatures in my care, and to the bellies of my own children. Doesn’t the pine marten have as much right as I do to survival?