learning to be human from more-than-human species

august 29, 2019

learning to be human from more-than-human species

lila rimalovski


The arrangement of these words went straight to my heart the first time I heard them: “more-than-human.” Mmmm. yes. I first experienced this phrasing through the gifts of J.K. Gibson-Graham— two feminist-economic-ecological-geographers who write under the same name. They shaped my most fundamental understandings of ecology and economies, teaching me that the answers to my most significant questions can be founds in the beings all around me. Living through interconnectedness and reciprocity are the praxes they outlined.

I too see Robin Wall Kimmerer as a mother of interconnectedness and reciprocity, and her wisdom and writing truly changed my life when I first read her words two years ago. Like “more-than-human” species is now a favorite phrase is in my lexicon, so is Kimmerer’s saying: “all our flourishing is mutual.” Robin Wall Kimmerer continues to remind me that all life is sacred, that all beings are allies and teachers, and that humans have a beautifully significant and crucial role to play among species, ecosystems, and realms of existence.

The gift I received from her chapter “Becoming Indigenous to Place” is short and wholly important: home, belonging, and place are cultivated through intentional and loving acts of everyday care inwardly, interpersonally, and inter-species-lly. To find “my” place is to recognize that no place is truly mine or ever will be… rather, to find place is to locate myself amidst the vibrant webs of life that share the lands, waters, and gases that keep me alive.

I often find myself daydreaming about future homes. I see massive trees, early mornings, loving partnership, locally-foraged tea, communal music making, and a home that blurs the lines of indoors and out. I also often find that my future envisioning detracts from my ability to find place or home wherever I currently am living. Do I have “both feet on the shore,” as Kimmerer would say?

Kimmerer awoke in me a deep knowing that place begins within. Place becomes home when my commitment to love and nurture myself aligns with a simultaneous commitment to love and nurture all of the more-than-human species around.


practicing self-love and more-than-human-love with rosehips

practicing self-love and more-than-human-love with rosehips




Lila Rimalovski