…And the Eagle Flies with the Dove

You can almost hear the sound of PZ Myers’ palm hitting his face as “a couple of vegetarian philosophers with no knowledge of biology” urge humanity to end predation worldwide—so that no more zebras have to suffer at the fangs of a lion, and no more mice at the talons of an owl. Their plea on behalf of prey species, inspired by the model culling of Cecil the lion, calls carnivory simply ‘unnecessary;’ PZ writes, “it’s as if they are completely unaware of the fact that predation maintains and increases biodiversity, or that there’s more to wildlife than mammals and birds, or that life is a complex web of interactions — that bears killing salmon is a critical source of phosphorus for trees.” PZ follows up on the debate by responding to a related essay that cites “Isaiah’s gifts as a prophet” in the Bible; i.e. visions of the leopard and the goat laying together, the wolf and the lamb becoming BFF, etc. As PZ writes, “humans have been busily pauperizing biodiversity in various habitats for a long time” and to continue that trend by targeting predators is the opposite of an moral stand. On the contrary, it would be another misguided step in our long, bloody crusade to anthropomorphize the natural world.

See also: The Value of Biodiversity on Aardvarchaeology


One Big (Happy) Family

Raising ten children—some biological, others adopted or in foster care—is far from a burden for Sharon Astyk. On the contrary, she says it mandates an artfulness to living, allowing her and her husband to help create something new and greater from the sum of many parts. Sharon writes that the result is “more fascinating, more fun, more engaging […] a job worth building a life around.” While some parenting hurdles multiply with more kids, others stay the same—or even vanish. And beyond the concerns of day-to-day living, Sharon knows she is maintaining and building new family ties for foster siblings who could otherwise be scattered among different households. In an older post, Sharon describes 100 kinds of people who should consider fostering a child, arguing that a diversity of parents will benefit the diversity of children needing a safe home. Meanwhile, on The Pump Handle, Kim Krisberg writes that one metric associated with the need for foster care—childhood poverty—continues to flounder. According to a new report released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, about 3 million more children in the U.S. now live in poverty than did in 2008.