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Index – Science – As empathic animals, we are destroying our environment

Index – Science – As empathic animals, we are destroying our environment

Ed Young, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his series of articles on the coronavirus, was working on a large-scale book project about differences in perception in animals and humans when the pandemic broke. The book has finally been published, and from it we can learn not only that animals perceive differently than we do, because we already know that, but also that impact Different beings relate to each other through perception, and how much responsibility we bear for the perceptual success of the beings around us.

The duck does not even need to turn its head and see the entire sky, because the world appears before it in a panoramic view, and in addition, it has four cells compared to our three color-sensing cells – what a parade of colors this means for that! Songbirds have very acute hearing, which they use to find their way around and mate. If they are migratory birds, they can sense the Earth’s magnetic fields.

The world around us is a collection of information and secrets that we cannot even comprehend. This is also a ridiculous and ridiculous situation, because people have always considered themselves masters of nature, even though we have a million little gaps in our understanding and awareness of the environment. It is true that our vision is sharp and our fingers are sensitive, but like animals we are also weak in other things. Some are very advanced, others are underpowered.

Chaos in the room

In Ed Yong’s illustration, a person and several different species (elephant, rattlesnake, robin, spider, wasp, dog, mouse, bat) are in the same room, sharing the same physical environment but perceiving it differently. The rattlesnake also detects infrared radiation coming from the body of the rat, and attempts to chase it away. Other animals don’t even notice this.

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On the other hand, the mouse hears the bat’s high-frequency calls as it moves around the room. The elephant does not realize this, but it emits low-frequency calls without sound, which a mouse or bat cannot hear.

Bumblebees, like robins, can see ultraviolet colors – for example, if there is a flower in a room, they will see it as a different color than we see it. On the other hand, a dog will not even see the red color that we see, because his visual palette extends from yellow to blue. But they may smell things that humans or bees can’t smell, but elephants can.

Minimized picture

We believe that our subjective experience of the world is complete, even though it is only an illusion, or a slice of reality. If we want to imagine a more complete picture, it is a good idea to turn to animals for advice. For example, a dog whose nose annoys even the best groomers: he sees the world through his nose, and the smells of other dogs, which we cannot smell, which is why he often stops while walking, while we impatiently pull them back. On the leash, because we can’t even imagine the scent trail he detected on the corner of the flower box. Smells reveal where others have been, what they have eaten, and how healthy they are. This way the walk becomes a socialization and socialization event for the dogs, even if they don’t meet any other dogs.

Philosopher Thomas Nagel in 1979 Put Question: “What’s it like to be a bat?” In other words, to live in the skin (mouse) of another creature? But we cannot imagine ourselves in the place of a completely different organism, such as a bat. We can take an example from them, for example, Young met the real Batman, Daniel Kesh, who is blind and perceives the environment like a bat: he makes clicking sounds with his tongue to find his way.

Sea turtles are also particularly oriented: they sense the Earth’s magnetic field and use it to migrate. As for us, we perceive our environment with our eyes, hearing, and touch, but we do not know what the magnetic field is that penetrates the tissues, and its sensor can be anywhere in the body, even in our backs, or on the entire surface of the body, so it is difficult to get used to it.

Tainted man

We are also part of this world, imperceptible to us, full of vibrations, and we also fill their world with light, sound and vibrations, often in very harmful ways. Light and noise pollution cause a lot of trouble for animals, making it difficult for them to find their way, communicate and find friends.

But even if we pass by a plant, we create confusion, for example, if a family of buffalo cicadas is talking about little things on their leaves, they will be talking about us for at least 5-10 minutes after we pass. So it is very difficult for us to imagine ourselves in the skin (leaves, slugs) of another being, but we can try, we are more empathetic than other beings, and therefore we have obligations to our environment.

Our responsibility is also great because we have changed the world more than other species living here, we act as super predators and scare away the animals. Of course, the bear also makes havoc for rabbits, but unlike us, it does not destroy or reduce the living space of other species day by day. Our imagination is our great support and responsibility, because in the room where there is an elephant, a rattlesnake, a dog, and the others beside us, we are the only ones who can imagine, or try to imagine, what it might be like. Like for others.

Fortunately, light and noise pollution is not as permanent as plastic, so if we stop using it, we and the entire animal world will quickly feel its effects. If we turn off the lights at night, we actually help the insects and mites.