The densely settled and sedentary communities that are the norm for almost all human beings today are multi-species communities. Human beings share their homes with cats and dogs, they consume the meat, milk, and eggs of domesticated animals, and they share these spaces with birds, rodents, and other animals that have adapted to urban life. Despite the presence of this variety of species, we have a tendency to call these settlements “human” communities. This is a mistake not just factually but historically. Dense human settlement depends on the domestication of plants and other animals: from the beginning, we formed these communities with other species. If we came to recognize our community not as a human community but as an essentially multi-species one, how would that change us, change our minds –both in terms of our relationship with our fellow creatures and in terms of our understanding of ourselves?
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