The Switch4Good Podcast

Marc Bekoff: On Compassionate Conservation and the Emotional Lives of Animals

Apr 17, 2019

Watch Episode 18 with Marc Bekoff here:

How does compassion play a role in ecological conservation?

In what way does our treatment of animals impact the way we treat ourselves and the planet?

Marc Bekoff is an animal behaviorist who argues that turning away from human exceptionalism and theoretical prejudices are the keys to expanding our compassionate footprint and making our conservation efforts more effective.

As the author of more than 1,000 essays and 30 books, Marc is a leading voice in the fields of ecology, animal behavior, and cognitive ethology.

Among his many accomplishments, he, with Jane Goodall, is a co-founder of Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and he was the first American to win his age class at the Tour du Haut Var bicycle race.

Marc joins us in this episode to discuss empathy, dissonance and connecting with who nonhuman animals are.

Listen to Episode 18 with Marc Bekoff here:

What we discuss in this episode:

  • What it means to rewild yourself, connect with nature, and acknowledge nonhuman animals for who they are
  • How overstimulation has made us discontent and disconnected from the natural world
  • What happens to your brain when you go outside? How nature affects your mood and mind
  • It’s who we eat, not what we eat: How diet impacts our connection to the world
  • How we use convenience and nonhuman animals’ perceived utility to create cognitive dissonance
  • Is there a connection between intelligence and suffering? What cognitive ethology teaches us about animals’ emotional lives
  • The importance of spending time with “food animals”: animal personalities, Kappurot, and a story from Marc’s Animal Manifesto
  • Do bees get depressed and do elephants mourn? Marc explains animal emotions and why they act the way they do
  • Marc’s insights about domestication, animal advocacy, and diet
  • Follow Marc on Twitter at @MarcBekoff or on his website at

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