Ruth Rosenhek gave this interview to Zenon Kruczynski, in Bialowieza, Poland, in May 2004 for a book entitled Colour means blood: Horn (publication pending). Jacek Majewski provided interpretation; Michael Sanderson retranslated it into English.

Hunting as Sport: A Deep Ecology Perspective

RR: In the restaurant you asked me whether I had had any contact with hunting. It reminded me that once in Montreal, when I was growing up and still living with my parents, we were in a restaurant eating some steaks. On the walls, there were some hunting trophies – moose heads. I remember that they really bothered me. It must’ve been a strong reaction, because my parents called over the Maitre’d and told him that this was really bothering their daughter. The Maitre’d smiled and was very polite about it. I was about seven at the time living in a suburb of Montreal.

Later in my life when I was in my 30s, I lived on the east coast of Maine. There’s a lot of deer hunting there. We were living next to the forest and one could hear the sounds of hunting going on in there. It was easy to observe the startled deer, (We even started to see them in our backyard.) because there were more and more houses going up in the area, and the deer’s territory was rapidly shrinking. Human civilisation had begun to make inroads. In fact, the deer that I came across there were part of the reason I gave up what I was doing at the time and took up ecology activism.

One time, I was walking in some nearby woods, wearing a striped shirt. I met two hunters, who said: “Be careful. You should dress in brighter colours; you look too much like an animal, and somebody might shoot you.” At the time I thought that if they could confuse me with a deer that meant that they were not really looking at what they were shooting at. So, I began to be afraid of going into the woods during the hunting season. I was distinctly aware of the fact that while I was in the forest, I wasn’t really afraid of coming across a bear or a snake. What I was most afraid of was meeting men with guns. They carry the most violence with them. During Deep Ecology workshops, we ask people to go into the forest and find some kind of ally at the gathering. One time in Hawaii, when I was in the forest and heard some sort of noise, my first reaction was: “Oh oh, is that a man coming?” It didn’t enter my head that it might be a wild animal, or some danger connected with it, only that it might be a man. And this, particularly as a woman, frightened me.

The time came when I started to seriously think about giving up what I was then doing and becoming involved with work for the environment. I left two jobs and volunteer work that I was involved with and entered into a time of prayer and introspection for about 6 months while I waited to find a way to be more of service to the planet.

I was facing an important life decision and thinking about how I might best be of service to the Earth. I remember at the time worrying about the deer in the forest next to which I lived. They couldn’t run away from there – there was nowhere for them to go. You could see them during the hunting season, somewhere by the road, or in the garden behind the house. Now I’ll tell you about an incident that was directly responsible for my coming to the conclusion that this was a sign, that God was telling me to stop my current way of life and start working for the environment.

It was early one morning on highway I-95, leading into Boston. A friend and I were driving along it, when we saw a deer that had been hit by a car. A few yards further on stood the truck that had hit the deer. I cried out to my friend to stop the car so that we could move the deer. We went up to the deer, lying in the middle of the three lanes. It was bleeding from the neck. We grabbed its hind legs, so as to drag it away, and at that moment, it sprang to its feet and stumbled onto the island in the centre of the highway. I went over to the island and stood next to the deer, right by it. A great stillness descended as I entered a beautiful surreal space with this trembling creature. After a few moments, the deer began to collect its wits, to breathe deeply and evenly. I felt that I was guarding the safety of that deer. If it made a move towards the highway, I was prepared to jump out with it onto the highway to stop the oncoming cars. I don’t know how long this went on for – maybe a minute, maybe a few seconds, I don’t know. Time came to a standstill for me. That deer knew I was standing by it. It was a very spiritual moment for me. A gap appeared in the stream of cars, and at the perfect moment the deer loped over the highway to the safety of the other side of the road, and disappeared into the forest. I turned around and saw my friend standing on one side of the highway and the people from the truck (that had hit the deer)on the other, and they were shouting at each other. My friend was giving them the finger and shouting “fuck you” and the man standing there had a hammer or something of the sort in his hand, waving it in the direction of the deer and shouting: “Kill the bitch, kill the bitch”. It looked like he actually wanted to finish the deer off with that hammer, and bring it home as a trophy. There was such a dissonance between my spiritual experience of being with the deer and his attitude of treating the deer simply as an object that could be taken home, that I understood then that the moment had come for me to become fully involved with the Earth, to stand up for creatures like this, to stand up for the trees, the forests which are their home.

In the days when I still hunted, I also used to go fishing, mainly for trout and perch. One morning, while on my way to fishing, I hit a stag. I couldn’t have avoided the collision. It lay in the ditch, breathing. I took out a knife and finished it off. Then I and my friend skinned it and divided the meat between us.

If one comes across an animal, lying on the ground, dying, I can’t see that it would be wrong to eat it. But if it’s a deer that’s alive and wants to live, that seems quite different. I don’t think you hung the trophy on your wall, like that man wanted to do.

Now, I think that that deer, knocked down by my slow-moving car, might have regained consciousness. I didn’t give it the chance to. Your deer sprang to its feet; maybe my stag would have done the same. Killing an unconscious animal is terrible. I carry that realisation around inside me. On the subject of the person in your story, I think he was simply scared to death by the fact that his health and life had been threatened in that accident, and hence his rage – out of terror, out of fear.

The same thing came to my mind. My father behaves like that. If he gets terrified of something, then at once, to cover over the terror, anger appears. Just as if he were indignant and outraged, as if to say: “how dare you cause me to feel afraid!” – it’s a reflex.

I have another personal recollection. At Deep Ecology workshops, people are asked to bring to mind some incident to do with nature, from their childhood. I remember that, as a child, I loved observing ants. I accorded them great respect when I was quite small. One day, while I was lying on the ground beside the driveway to the house watching some ants, my brother – who is two years older than me, he must have been about seven – came up to me and started stamping on the ants. I was devastated to see them die so swiftly. Maybe it’s to do with male instincts or early-life conditioning. I’ve known barely any girls who would pull the legs and wings off some living thing, but many boys have done it. Some gender theorists say that women are into relationships, while men are more into hierarchy, status and the domination of others and of nature – in a manner either inborn or learnt. If this is true, it would only apply in general to the sexes. Obviously, there are many women who buy into the male approach and vice versa. But in any case it was an early experience for me of feeling the devastation caused by senseless killing.

Hunters have several basic arguments which in their opinion support their killing of free-living forest and field animals. One of these arguments is that, once upon a time, mankind learnt to hunt, with the effect that it was able to survive and continues to do so, and that what we are doing is simply the modern form of hunting. I reply that, in former times, people were acquiring food in order to survive; nowadays, the situation is completely different.

That reminds me of what cosmologist and mathematician Brian Swimme has to say on the subject. He differentiates between two approaches: macrophasic and microphasic. According to him, the latter involves caring for one’s family, one’s tribe, holding a micro-scale perspective, for the sake of survival. Swimme goes on to say that nowadays, it’s very important that we move to a macrophasic perception, one from which we look at things more globally and understand that, for survival, looking after one’s immediate surroundings and family, one’s own social group, is not enough. One needs to look at things more globally. This is now very important to our survival. Some former behaviours, even though they had their justification at the time, are now unnecessary, obsolete. Certain behaviours work well in communities of apes. Maybe, when we were once organised along similar lines, these worked for us as well, but they are not necessarily useful now as modern day people. One could say the same for behaviours that we developed as children – that various behaviours worked for us as children, but stop working in a functional manner once we grow up.

And how do hunters behave, from that point of view?

Without taking sides? What I think? (laughs)

I don’t want to talk, in this context, about people who hunt in tribes, or indigenous peoples hunting for food. That is a whole different story. I’d like to talk about those who hunt for sport. With that proviso, those doing that have got stuck in a sort of consciousness that is quite short-term, limited. In exchange for short-term pleasures, the activities of sport hunters give rise to consequences that are not good for our human race let alone for the other species involved. I think that our culture in general is characterised by low respect for nature. Hunting for the reasons we mentioned – for sport, for entertainment, is a good example of this lack of respect.

What are the consequences of this lack of respect?

When I fly here by plane, then I’m also in some sense showing a lack of respect for nature. The fuel used by the plane for flying may come from the Amazon; due to its extraction, indigenous people and local communities may have lost their land. The flight pollutes the environment. I must weigh up these impacts and justify the flight to Eastern Europe where I then work to raise awareness about the environment (ha ha!) Some people might call me a hypocrite and it’s good to look at this and to realise that we’re all caught up in a lack of respect for nature, characterised by violence towards it. We all need a change of consciousness. By our lack of respect for nature and our ongoing destruction of life through hunting or on a larger scale through war and the extinction of various species, we impoverish nature, biodiversity, and put our very survival in question. This is the price we pay for this type of activity. That’s from a global, holistic point of view. On a smaller scale, for example in the forest, if people there play at being predators, especially for pleasure rather than survival’s sake…you probably know more about that than I do.

In the Code of Hunting Ethics appears the form of words: “…must be aware of the fact that, in the environment, he fulfils the role of principal predator …”. Hunters believe in this, although their well outfitted figures, with heavy-duty boots on their feet and automatic rifles over their shoulders can by no means be compared with the wolf sneaking through forest clearings nor with the catlike vigilance of the lynx. A human is incapable of even approaching those subtle energies and mysterious interrelationships in the wild – which may well be quite imperceptible to us.

Here, we can take various views of the motivations for hunting. One of these is entertainment and sport; another may be the regulation of animal numbers. For example there are islands where the deer or wild horse population can no longer be supported and they will die out naturally through starvation; in these cases, hunters are often introduced to reduce the population. That doesn’t seem so interesting to me – it’s simply a symptom of our attitude of controlling everything. Because those animals would die anyway, or else nature would itself regulate relations in that environment. What is interesting is why people do it for entertainment. From a Deep Ecology perspective, that interests me more. All strands of the web of life innately possess an equal right to exist, and the question arises as to whether hunting gives certain strands more of a right to exist and how it understands this. If we were to organise a gathering of all the beings you hypothetically knew, and if to that gathering were to come the wolf, the lynx, the bear, and so on, they would certainly not be satisfied with hunting, with the fact that they are hunted for pleasure alone, but they would probably have nothing against the fact that they die in the wild of natural causes, and sometimes die out, because that’s just their way of life. But here we have a case of taking more than one needs, of a lack of respect for and understanding of the absolute sacredness of life. In Australia, I heard an Aboriginal Elder speaking one time and he said loud and clear: “Take what you need, but nothing more”. In the case of hunting, it’s clear that man is taking more than he needs.

I heard that in Australia the Aborigines were treated as game animals.

Absolutely. That’s just how it was. When the white man began colonising Australia, they called it no-man’s-land. They didn’t see the Aborigines as human beings. What happened there is a whole other issue, stemming from the same arrogant white man’s culture, including in the case of Australia, genocide on a major scale. There was also a very intensive programme of assimilation of the Aboriginal peoples, choosing children with a lighter skin colour and bringing them up in white families, basically as whites. They tried to create mixed families. These were attempts at exterminating the Aboriginal race. And that’s just the beginning of the story. However, I’m in no way qualified to speak about this matter so I will say no more.

You said that humankind is behaving like someone standing in the middle of a road, with a runaway truck heading towards them. And that person is doing nothing to get out of the way. What needs to be done to wake up that person? And is this necessary at all?

All of us need to be woken up. If we think that we are awakened, then we’re really sleeping. Better not to rest on the laurels of the self-satisfaction of being awakened, better to work the whole time, to wake up even more. We’re very prone to be the “lazy pierogies” we were eating yesterday.

The person in front of the truck, does it symbolise life on earth, humanity?

From a Deep Ecology perspective, the most important thing is to really EXPERIENCE that we are intimately part of and of the Earth. This is known as the formation of an ecological identity. We have to shake ourselves free of the illusion of separateness which plagues us – that nature is over there and we are over here, and understand that nature is us and we are nature, and not that nature is somewhere over there and that we can manipulate it or extract natural resources, without any consequences to such actions.

I don’t think you can achieve this by shaking someone, and they then wake up. It’s something that happens in more subtle ways or sometimes all of a sudden, like enlightenment. Sometimes, when we do a Deep Ecology breathing exercise with a tree or some plant, during the exercise people wake up and become aware that it is truly alive. For the first time ever, they realise that a tree is alive and breathing and has been doing so for a very long time.

People do change over time. I’ve seen members of my own family, who are pretty conservative, and ten years ago they saw no reason at all to be concerned with the environment. Now they see the need to care for our forests if we want them to survive and they’ve become alarmed at the fast rates of deforestation worldwide.

I’ve noticed that, if we believe in something, it’s best not to take an aggressive approach towards others, not to impose our views; it works better to have a friendly attitude, one radiates, one interacts with them, we’re most effective when we have an unattached congenial attitude.

There’s something called the Bradley Method of environmental regeneration, We may have some area, on which one patch of land is relatively healthy, but surrounded by land with invasive vegetation exotic species that you want to replace with native ones. Generally speaking, the Bradley method says to concentrate on the healthiest fragment, and widen it in stages, not start off in the most weed infested places. You have to concentrate on what is most healthy and then work outwards from there. In the case of our work, to increase what might be called the Shambala Warriors, a Bradley approach would imply that we don’t begin by persuading George Bush, or the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Army, but rather we try to get through to people who are not yet fully convinced, but who are already much more open to this type of idea. Plant seeds on the edges of those who already have a strong ecological identity and spread outwards from there. You can look at this in yet another way: in each of us there is surely some healthy fragment, healthy part, which we can concentrate on, try to nourish, and help that person strengthen that part, so that he or she can become stronger, develop positively, move towards self actualisation. One has to work in that way. Water the healthy seeds.

These healthy parts in people, are they the thing that is the healthiest on Earth? Is that the healthy region?

That part of us that feels this deep connection with nature? I don’t know whether it’s the healthiest part, but it’s certainly a very important part, one that’s so alive, vibrating, full of love and creativity– and it’s worth strengthening it. Getting in contact with nature is a balm for our souls. Living as we do in such tumultuous times, with so much global disharmony.

Another very important, essential yet vastly forgotten part of ourselves is our relationship to the whole cosmos, our place in the Universe. The Story of the Universe has the capacity to thrust us into a state of awe as we extend back to the primal soup from which we arose and extend forward, through and including all the webs of living systems that have ever existed and ever will. This broadened understanding of ourselves, that “I” am the Universe and the Universe is “I”, that we are indeed one cell of the whole can shift our life perspective. Coming into contact with this part of ourselves, with this way of looking at things, can lead a person to begin questioning many things in society. Not only hunting for entertainment, for sport, but also the money-making culture, consumerism and some of the other empty, senseless rituals that we regularly engage in.

Do all people have the possibility of perceiving this part of themselves that you’re talking about? The part from which they can develop, whatever it is?

I’ve always been an idealist. (laughs) In every person I’ve met, I’ve seen some beauty. I’m known for calling people who are involved with much destruction on the planet (I won’t name any names.) “poor wounded souls”. Perhaps this is a symptom of arrogance on my part, but it often helps me to understand other people, who I would otherwise be judging in some negative way.. I simply look at people and try to see that they do really have such enormous potential – even someone who has the aggressive behaviors of George Bush has, a good, soft side, only something caused his soul to become wounded, and it’s all hidden, deep down there, but one can reach it. Maybe there are such people whom, in this life, it would be very difficult to reach. Their potential, that spark, has been hidden deep under wounds or traumas that they have experienced. But it largely depends on us, how we choose to look at and respond to each other. Some look at others and think: “what a jerk”, but I prefer to look at people with interest and seek out their reasons for acting as they do, what has influenced this, and how it might be changed. This is another way of looking at things, and it’s really up to us. My brother is right-wing. If he had been brought up under other conditions and in other circumstances, maybe he would have been just such a hunter for sport. Instead, he deals with financial matters – mergers, major corporate bankruptcies, financial stratagems. He said on one occasion that he thinks I’m misguided, that I’m really way off track, and that what I’m doing is really a sign of rebellion against authority, because I’m the youngest in the family. (laughs) Once, we were having dinner together, at the time that the bombardment of Afghanistan was starting. I asked him what he thought about it. He replied: “I know it’s terrible, but it makes me feel safer”. Although I didn’t tell him this at the time, I don’t think the war on Afghanistan has made him any safer. Wars don’t make people safer. I think he’s mistaken, like so many other people, because they don’t understand the nature of this cycle of violence that exists on earth, and that the more violence we use, the more violence comes back to us. From the beginning of the war in Afghanistan, and then the Iraq war, the world hasn’t become a safer place – particularly for people in North America, whose lives were previously quite peaceful.

You said something yesterday about people living in houses over which there are tree branches, and how they are afraid that a branch will fall on their roofs. Do you see any connection between this general lack of sense of security people have and these types of behaviour? For instance, that people starting wars feel safer?

I don’t know how it is with wars but, where I live, people build their houses in the wrong places. They build houses next to trees, not seeing that the trees have large branches which can break, or they even themselves plant such a tree right by the house, not realising that it will one day grow large, and that something might fall off it. In other words, they themselves bring it about. You could treat the planting of trees as a metaphor: something similar was taking place when the Americans supplied Iraq with weapons, and then invaded and caused a war in a country that they themselves had armed. So, they themselves set up the situation, which they then react to. There’s a cartoon strip in which Bush is reading a list of all the types of weapons that Iraq has and is checking them off: “this one, they have, and that one they have too. There are invoices for them. But that one, they couldn’t have, because we never sold it to them!”

Where I live, there’s a big risk of forest fires. Sometimes, houses burn down. But sometimes the reason is that people put their houses in places that are prone to fires. They should put their houses somewhere else, or else design ditches and firebreaks, plant fire resistant species around the houses to prevent this. It turns out that the fires are often started by fire-fighters who want work and cause fires so as to be able to put them out.

That happens also with us. Fire-fighters get a higher hourly rate when they are putting out a fire.

It seems to me that what you are doing is an attempt to reduce people’s ever-present fears. If they cease being afraid, they will no longer use force on the Earth, believing that they will then be less afraid. But all that happens is that fear on Earth is increasing. And you, in this situation, are cheerful and smiling. How is this possible?

This first thing that comes to mind is how very attached we are to our present identity, in this body and if this is our sole identity then we may very well become afraid, we may have the feeling of being under threat. If we broaden that identity and acknowledge that the whole Earth is in fact our body, then there is no reason to fear that we will at some point, in this body, die. We are changing the whole time; we are not the same person we were a moment ago, our cells are changing, and our faces, our hands, our bodies, our ideas, values and so on. So in a sense we are dying all the time. On the other hand, one can say that we never die, and never shall, because the Earth and the natural environment will continue to exist, even though our body dies, melts into the earth, decomposes; that it will also become an element of the cycle of nature. Maybe a mango tree will grow there, birds will feed from it, and so on. I stopped being afraid of death the moment I began to identify more with the whole cycle of nature and to realise that from this perspective, there isn’t something that can actually die. I talked yesterday about something that I called a campaign of fear around the world. a broad-based campaign of disinformation aimed at instilling fear in all of us. For instance, I would rather be killed by a bear than die in a car crash. Of course, the chances that I’ll die crossing the road are incomparably greater than those of a bear killing me. Very many people die in car accidents, but this isn’t publicised that much. But, when a bear kills somebody, that’s big news, and people rush out to kill bears, because something terrible has happened that needs to be prevented in future. We accept being killed by cars, because they were created by us. Being killed by guns is also okay, because weapons were also created by us. But we’re struck with terror at the fact that we might be killed by something created by God, by the Earth, such as a bear. We don’t ban cars because they kill us in accidents, but we rush after bears, because we can’t accept something that’s outside our control. If I were to be killed by a branch falling from a tree, or if a lightning bolt were to hit me out of the blue, that would be great. That’s a natural cause; I’d prefer to die that way than in a car accident. Ideally, I’d die peacefully in my sleep at the age of about ninety-five, not necessarily in a way as spectacular as what I outlined a moment ago. I’d prefer to live to a ripe old age. But I also feel that, if my life were come to an end in the name of justice and freedom, then I’d also accept that as being allright, as something noble.

Do you accept that, in connection with one of your campaigns, for example against the gold mine, you might die? Is this a real danger?

Several times in the course of my work I have come across situations where I was a little afraid, where threats were made against me. As far as that specific example, the anti-gold mining campaign, is concerned, I don’t currently have such fears. However, it did once happen that I had to withdraw and change my style of action because what I was doing and the way I was doing it gave rise to too much aggression directed towards me. I had to change my style of action, find a more peaceful non-violent communication style.

The theme of death is important in the context of the main topic of our conversation – hunting. In western culture, we think that if we entrench ourselves in our houses, surrounded by various products of civilisation, like hunting trophies, then we will in some way be protected, that we won’t die, or else we’ll die in some safe way, whatever that might mean. We associate material prosperity with safety. But it seems to me that a person who dies surrounded by material prosperity may feel an emptiness in their soul. Someone like that, as they are dying, probably doesn’t look around the room and think: “Well, now my soul’s off to join those of the animals I killed”. I would think that at such a moment, the person would prefer for their soul to meet the souls of beings that they had helped, towards which they had felt love, who had been loved by them. Of course, one can treat this all more literally, if one believes in the existence of the soul, or else metaphorically – that, when a person is dying and nearing departure, they would probably prefer to think about what good they had done in their life, and not about those whom they had hurt or killed. The psychologist Victor Frankl, writing about logotherapy, maintained that human neuroses can be cured if the person can discover some sense of meaning in life. I completely agree and believe that, if a person discovers deep meaning in life, for instance in helping, in doing beautiful, kind things for the entire planet, for others, they will thereby feel great relief and contentment.

Various other hunting memories now come to mind like the story of the well known naturalist Aldo Leopold who recounts a story of killing an old wolf one time after pumping lead into a pack of wolves. As he reached this old wolf of the pack, he arrived just in time to witness a fierce green fire dying in her eyes. He was a young man then, and full of what he calls trigger-itch but he thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters' paradise. But after seeing the green fire in the wolf’s eyes die, he sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view. And so he became a naturalist.

I remember also the tale of the lion and the mouse. Do you know it?

A lion meets a mouse, and is about to step on it, but spares its life. The mouse then says: “I don’t know how this will be possible, but one day I’ll repay this debt of gratitude”. How could such a small animal help a lion? one wonders. But one day, the mouse comes across the lion again, trapped in a net set by humans. “I can help you,” the mouse says and gnaws through the mesh of the net and sets the lion free. I think it’s one of Aesop’s fables. These tales are all about our mutuality and seeing the deep interconnection between ALL beings.

The patron saint of hunting is Saint Hubert. He was a Catholic bishop, living in the seventh century in what is now France. Hunting was his passion. According to legend, a deer appeared to him, with a cross glowing between its antlers. He stopped hunting and eating meat. Saint Hubert stopped killing animals, because he had understood something, but he’s the patron saint of hunters who, when they kill an animal say: “Saint Hubert provided”, in other words, he provided the opportunity for the kill. He’s the heavenly representative of hunters.

Maybe that tale, that story will become reality; maybe that legend will be fulfilled. Maybe people will at a certain moment come to see Jesus in animals, that that proclamation of love by animals will be fulfilled. We are simply killing ourselves. Did Saint Hubert become saintly before that apparition or afterwards?


That means that everyone is somehow misunderstanding that story, misinterpreting it. You have good news to pass on: the real story of Saint Hubert.

When I first heard that story, I couldn’t believe that it was true. For nearly thirty years, Saint Hubert had been religious patron to myself, my father and my hunting friends.

So you were like Saint Hubert before he received this insight.

If I had known those facts at the time when I was a hunter and had learnt that the first stop for Saint Hubert on the road to sainthood was desisting from killing animals, I wouldn’t have believed it. I would have considered it some kind of hoax, that someone had made a mistake. I didn’t want to believe it, for the reason that I badly wanted to hunt. Giving credence to the real story of Saint Hubert would have involved distress due to the fact that my world order, with which I was comfortable, would have been threatened. Oh, I didn’t want anything to demolish my settled world. I would surely have tried to explain it away to myself, to get it out of my mind, to pass over it somehow to the main order of the day, so as to be able to hunt without disquiet. In those days, I would not have believed in anything that could have destroyed my hunting. I didn’t even believe that the animals suffer, despite all the blood, guts, shattered bones and death I very often saw.

Did you go to church?

No. That aside, one hunts on Sundays, after all.

I thought maybe that the priests could have told that story about Saint Hubert in church.

I know that some priests do hunt. Bishop G_ód_ is a hunter. I wanted to do an interview with a Catholic priest about the killing of free-living animals. The bishop scratched his head and said: “You know, I’ve never given the matter much thought”.

Didn’t he want to talk?

In fact, he did, only I was really looking for some Catholic priest who had thought about this, who would have been able to highlight the problem of killing animals from a Christian perspective. That bishop seemed at a loss on that subject. In this book, I’m trying to conduct discussions with various people: yourself, Wojciech Eichelberger, Zbygniew Mi_u_ski, Zen teacher Sensei Sunya Kyolhede, a Catholic bishop or ethicist, a publicly known person who hunts, and with the head of the Polish League of Hunters. I myself am curious as to what I’ll see when I read the book. Will it have something to say?

Where can one find that story about Saint Hubert?

I’m looking for sources; for me, it’s an important story. In a self-evident way, it demonstrates the error in which I lived for decades.

It’s as though we as hunters had a T-shirt with the words “Saint Hubert is our hero”, while he, meanwhile, had a completely different attitude. It’s the same with most of Judeo-Christianity – it has also been widely misinterpreted. It was not the assumption of its founders, of Jesus, that we should be the culmination of creation, dominate nature, and so forth.

Anything you’d like to add?

I’d like to add something more to this: that we live in times that some call a “great extinction spasm”. These times are different from those of 200, 2,000 or even 10,000 years ago. This sheds yet a different light on the senseless killing we engage in. Currently, 27,000 species become extinct each year on Earth. Three per hour. That means that if the current rate of extinction continues, by the end of the century over 50% of species will have died out. Scientists say that it’s difficult to foresee such trends and that it’s unclear how things will play out. It’s clear that we’re tearing apart the web of existence, on which our survival depends. Now the time has come to put effort into the preservation and protection of that web, rather than destroying it, tearing it apart. Even though I don’t believe you need to shake people up in order wake them up, I do believe that a strong message and prayer are required, that we need to find a more harmonious way to live on the planet. I don’t think it would be a productive approach to be angry at people who want to hunt for sport, or extract oil in the Amazon, or build gold mines. I prefer to show my heart to those people. To pray that humanity becomes capable of standing together in defence of these issues. Of course, it will never be that everyone has the same view, but there needs to be a common view that this planet is necessary to us, that it should vibrate with life and be healthy. I often share the story of the history of the Universe. Many people think that we have been here for barely 6,000 years. A big part of our work is sharing the story of evolution, the road along which we came, about how it happened, a story about a story. It’s an approximation of the road we came along. It can be such a good supplement to any religion we profess, or to any question of social, demographic conditioning, and make us aware of the common history, the common road we have come along, so as to feel that we’re together, that we’re all in the same boat – and that our goal should be the defence of nature, on which we utterly depend. That doesn’t mean we should go back to living in caves – it means that our future actions should be such that the Cenezoic era, in which we are living, may endure. There is no need for it to end so quickly. If that’s what happens, that’s allright. There’s always some new era, and new species appear. But some of us feel attached to the beautiful era in which we live. Irrespective of whether the Cenezoic era endures or not, what else can we do but simply stand up in the defence of life, to be pro-life? What do you think? (laughs) Let’s stand up for life!