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  • Writer's pictureCrone


One of the best things about the moss day run by the Wildlife Trust was actually seeing a liverwort. I did not photograph the liverwort. Because I am an idiot. But it was great. These whole other being-green things are out there and I had never knowingly seen one before!

The other great things were the people. Rachel, who ran the course is knowledgeable and kind; her husband Chris manned the microscopes and he is a lovely man; Juliette, who runs the course programme, is a beautiful person; then there were Garry and Miriam - both of whom make one's life better just by seeing them.

I did not become skilled at identifying mosses, though I did get these two.

I didn't help that I had a verging-on-a-migraine. Still do, as it goes.

I enjoyed a little wander around Lings and found a couple of new tree-friends.

What was also good was that I discovered that looking at bark (and lichen) under a loupe could be one of the most fascinating things ever.

Under the lens is this whole world of creatures and plants, landscapes and trees. The lichen that seems to be powder in my normal vision looks like a tapestry of tiny mosses. the mosses are forests. It was utterly enchanting.

And I saw a sweet little fungal fruit.

On other matters, I listened to Rewilding by Cain Blythe and Paul Jepson and it put me off rewilding. Then I got Staying with the Trouble by Donna Haraway (both these were free on Audible - yippee). I am fascinated by the latter.

OK, so the rewilding... there seems to be a big distinction between North American rewilding (which is about freedom - for animals and ecosystems) and European rewilding (which is more about using animals to make ecosystems better for the benefit of humans). I am creating an overly harsh distinction, but the fact remains that the Blythe/Jepson book treats animals as 'things' to be used rather than minded beings who can live lives. Their view is that the 'big picture' is all about ecosystems and that therefore concerns about animal suffering or death at the hands of humans (through acts of commission or omission) matter only instrumentally - if they should make a population reject rewilding. They claim this is a mature moral attitude - backed up by a book I hated, Moral Tribes by Joshua Greene, a defense of Benthamite calculations in utiilarianism but which rates the suffering of humans as infinitely more important than that of non-humans. This view is backed by the fact that they, unlike Haraway, do not address human population at all.

Haraway is more accepting of human uses of animals (e.g. is psychological research) which she accepts by reframing it as a co-creation of knowledge. Though the animals don't have much choice. She is very positive about human/non-human relations - as am I - but in my view fails to consider how much the non-humans want such relationships.Nonetheless, she respects the mindedness of other beings and appreciates complexity and relationship in what I see to be a more holistic way than do Blythe and Jepson, for whom integration is just another thing that you can map, model and calculate. They retain the hubristic view that humans can understand everything and have the unquestioned right to determine everything.

It's not very wild at all.

It's exactly what got us into this mess in the first place.

They see animals as pawns to be moved around the huge chessboard of human interest, with no self-determination at all.

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I went looking for pics of liverworts and ended up reading a couple of articles. You already know this probably but they say that liverworts may have been the one of the first plants on land!! I will see if I can find them this year.

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