S3E28: Mutualism: Cooperation, not Competition in Nature—w/ Kristin Ohlson, author of Sweet in Tooth and Claw

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Darwin and others theorized that evolution was about the survival of the fittest. But when Peter Kropotkin followed up on Darwin’s research, he discovered the competition was only part of the story of evolution in nature.

And Kropotkin argued that cooperation and collaboration among organisms also helps them evolve.

So, why is Darwin’s narrative the dominant one? And how can an understanding of mutualism help us protect the ecosystems we depend on and find solutions to climate change?

Kristin Ohlson is an award-winning freelance journalist and author of The Soil Will Save Us: How Scientists, Farmers, and Foodies are Healing the Soil to Save the Planet. Her new release is called Sweet in Tooth and Claw: Stories of Generosity and Cooperation in the Natural World.

On this episode of Reversing Climate Change, Kristin joins Ross to explain why the study of mutualism in the evolution of nature has lagged, and challenge us to recognize and protect the cooperative relationships among organisms in our ecosystems.

Kristin shares some of her favorite stories from the book, describing how ranchers, scientists, and government leaders worked together to heal a degraded landscape in Eastern Nevada.

Listen in for Kristin’s insight on the growth of regenerative agriculture and learn how mutualism gives organisms superpowers as they work together to survive and thrive in extreme environments.

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Resources

Kristin Ohlson

Sweet in Tooth and Claw: Stories of Generosity and Cooperation in the Natural World by Kristin Ohlson

The Soil Will Save Us: How Scientists, Farmers, and Foodies are Healing the Soil to Save the Planet by Kristin Ohlson

Social Statics: The Conditions Essential to Human Happiness Specified, and the First of Them Developed by Herbert Spencer

Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution by Peter Kropotkin

The Biology of Mutualism: Ecology and Evolution by Douglas H. Boucher

Mutualism by Judith L. Bronstein

Gabe Brown on Reversing Climate Change S2EP31

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