Ben Goldfarb on Beaver's Complex Inter-Weavings/92

Jeff Hunter

Jeff Hunter

Ben Goldfarb on Beaver's Complex Inter-Weavings

To continue our theme month of More Than Human Kin, we focus in on a rodent kin who since time immemorial has maintained a role as one keystone species within our beloved Turtle Island: The Beaver.

In 1620, pre-colonization, there were an estimated 400 million beavers roaming and shaping Turtle Island. Most of us have forgotten, or maybe never knew, that we live on a land stewarded and engineered by the tireless workings of beaver. Before the fur trade, or as Ben Goldfarb coins “fur-pocalypse,” much of the American midwest was a soggy, wetland maintained by the work of beavers stewarding hundreds of millions of ponds and wildlife habitat. Beaver's build environments which serve as baseline habitat for almost every living more than human kin, from large to small, moose to salmon. Natural beaver habitat is essential to fostering a thriving network of wildlife.

Often we don’t think of genocidal mass beaver trapping as a true environmental catastrophe on par with deforestation or mining, but perhaps we have forgotten the intelligence and value of the original co-stewards of this land. What is the relationship between the destruction of beaver population and ecological collapse? How was the decimation of beaver directly linked with colonization & exploitation of the Indigenous people's on Turtle Island? Learn how the slaughtering of beaver became the gateway to settler colonization and extraction culture.

We are honored to be joined by beaver believer, Ben Goldfarb this week on For The Wild. Ben Goldfarb is an independent environmental journalist based in Spokane, Washington, whose writing has appeared in publications such as Mother Jones, Science, The Guardian, and High Country News. He is the author of "Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter."

Music by Fountainsun

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