While Indigenous cultures all over the globe viewed (and often still view) the entire natural world as imbued with consciousness, it’s only very recently that contemporary science has finally begun to question the dualist, Cartesian worldview that for the last few centuries has seen humans as our planet’s only conscious agents, radically separate from nature.
Cutting edge research is increasingly rediscovering what our ancestors understood, that the animal, vegetal and fungal realms are teeming with organisms making conscious decisions, responding intelligently to their surroundings. Leading figures in this burgeoning field are transforming the way science understands intelligence in nature, using modern science to help restore the kinship with the web of life we so desperately need if we are to have any hope of addressing the civilizational crisis we face.
Suzanne Simard is one of the planet’s most influential, groundbreaking researchers on plant communication and intelligence. In her keynote address to the 2021 Bioneers Conference, she discusses the dire global consequences of logging old-growth rainforests, and nature-based solutions that combine Western science and Indigenous knowledge for preserving and caring for these invaluable forest ecosystems for future generations.