David Feld finds ways for human communities to coexist with Canada geese, which were the only free wild animals he remembers seeing during his Brooklyn childhood. “Sometimes they flew low enough for me to hear the whoosh of their powerful wings,” he writes.
When goose droppings around a lake in Feld’s suburban Virginia neighborhood became a nuisance, his community was bitterly divided over whether to kill the birds. So Feld, a systems engineer, devised a nonviolent solution. The neighborhood adopted border collies to divert geese from yards and beaches, and volunteers acted as “egg addlers” to prevent the goose population from growing.
Feld co-founded the nonprofit GeesePeace to share his program and is working on a related project, DeerPeace.
Feld has seen conflicted communities transform their anger into a push for solutions. “Anytime you have a problem, you have energy,” he says.
Too often, we forget the biological truth that humans are an animal species, too. Our culture treats animals as food, pets, pests, property, and curiosities. We’ve spoiled their habitats, endangering tens of thousands of species and our own future. If we learn to understand animals, we can protect and restore the planet we all share.
The old logic of the slave plantation is still the logic of our industrial food system, 500 years in the making. There’s a new way of thinking taking off.
Breaking our families into nuclear units has an ecological and emotional cost. Could the multigenerational farm remind us where to turn for a viable future?