Thanks for your comment Farmersledge. Language does matter to me, yes that’s true. I don’t agree with the idea that anthropomorphism necessarily = bad. Anthropomorphism (attributing human qualities, capacities, and competencies to nonhuman plants, animals, and places) as you point out, is connected to conservation advertising. This is especially obvious in how anthropomorphic charisma is an important tool in conservation campaigns to get the public interested in saving wildlife, and in particular to donate money too. But to suggest that anthropomorphism is inherently bad is not quite the right way to go about it. For me at least, I am more interested in the effects of anthropomorphic thinking and talking: what positive or negative consequences does anthropomorphic language have in cultivating healthy or damaging human-animal relationships? There is evidence that it establishes both positive and negative effects, and we should ask why this is, but to dismiss anthropomorphism outright as is common is unhelpful I think. I also reject the idea that language is a mere projection on reality, a mediated representation that necessarily obfuscates our true understanding and relationships with nature. This is an old Cartesian idea that causes all sorts of trouble for thinking about human relationships with nature. But I'm afraid this is an argument I’ll have to elaborate in a future post if I’m to have any chance of convincing you that anthropomorphism is not necessarily bad:) Thank you again for your comment/question.

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I’m a researcher and writer in ecolinguistics and environmental communication. Get my weekly digest of nature writing ideas/tools: https://wildones.substack.com

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