Whether we look for answers to humanity's problems deep beneath the sea, far out in space, or in a pristine laboratory, the key to saving ourselves may be remembering how to listen.

What is Zoognosis?

Zoognosis takes the Greek '-gnosis', meaning 'knowledge', and '-zoo' for all animal life - including us. Zoognosis is the knowledge spread between humans and animals. We are all connected, and there's a lot to learn about these connections. 

Human knowledge can be spread to help animals. Many of our most impressive medical innovations, which cure diseases in humans, and save lives, can be shared and in turn can help animals - from your beloved pet, to sick or injured wildlife. Our innovations in engineering can provide solutions such as wildlife corridors, which can ease the pressures that our human development has done to fracture and separate sensitive wild species. 

Animal knowledge can be spread to help other animals. Indeed, much of what we understand about endangered species like the Hawaiian monk seal is thanks to an understanding of similar species like the northern elephant seal. 

Can animal knowledge help people? Absolutely. For generations, we relied on animals to share secrets of the natural world. Animals told us where to live, where to find food, and when dangers were near. Indigenous communities, and the traditional ecological knowledge they hold, understand and value this zoognosis. Yet most of us have forgotten how to listen. As we face a shifting climate, and mounting stressors to our ecosystems, our very survival relies on a return to listening to this zoognosis, and what the natural world has to share. 


Watch Claire Simeone introduce the concept of zoognosis at TED2018 in Vancouver.