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Naturalist and biologist debuts book in Kootenay tour

An acclaimed author, naturalist and biologist is debuting a book that takes a holistic view of conservation in a tour through the Kootenays.

In Four Fifths a Grizzly: A New Perspective on Nature that Just Might Save Us All, author Douglas Chadwick explores the connection between all living things, from bacteria to strawberries, to humans and whales.

“I share 80 per cent of my genome with the nearest grizzly bear,” said Chadwick. “The same holds for virtually any mammal on the planet. I could claim to be four-fifths a snow leopard, an elephant or a hopelessly cute red panda, whatever mood I’m in. It means we’re built from the same set of coded instructions.”

He will work with Wildsight to tour his book, with stops scheduled in Invermere, Golden, Revelstoke, Nelson, Creston, Kimberley and Fernie.

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The first stop is set for Invermere on Feb. 7.

Chadwick hopes that highlighting this interconnectivity will help people see conservation in a new light.

“We’re made of a lot more things and have a lot more in common than we realize,” said Chadwick. “I’m trying to bash through that boundary we set up philosophically, in terms of our vocabulary, religion, and our way of looking at the world, that we’re different from nature.”

Chadwick explores this explanation through a series of essays that connect his personal experiences, science and history.

“I feel lucky and it’s been revelatory that I’ve been able to go nose to nose with a lot of wonderful creatures in all these places,” said Chadwick. “Taking on one particular species at a time that needs attention or one particular wild area is kind of how conservation has been done.

“It smacks you right in the middle of the head that things are changing way too fast,” he added.

Chadwick spoke of the need to focus on broad, far-reaching conservation work.

“We’re way beyond the point of compromise and we need to have a shift in our way of thinking,” said Chadwick. “I thought I would try with the big picture and start off with viruses and bacteria and work my way up to leaping whales and roaming grizzlies.

“Too often we talk about conservation as an option of [or?] a hobby – basically, the health of the biosphere of this living planet and our human health is one and the same,” said Chadwick.

Admission is by donation, and you can secure a spot through the link below.

A signed copy of Four Fifths a Grizzly is available as a door prize for attendees.

More: Four Fifths a Grizzly Book Tour

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