Talking with other species and giving them a voice

There is a recent trend I love, and that is communicating with non-human species using buttons. It’s mostly cats and dogs so far, but I imagine we can communicate with a much wider range of species using buttons and a variety of electronic pads and other devices.

This particular method comes from teaching language to children with autism, and it seems to work amazingly well for inter-species communication.

Why do I love it? Because it helps us see other species as thinking and feeling, and with needs and wants much as our own. We are not so different. What’s universal and shared is far more than what’s different.

And this, in turn, can shift how we relate to other species in general. It can lead to a relationship characterized more by respect, kindeness, and taking the wants and needs of these species more into account.

Other species have not had much of a voice in our culture. Now, they literally have a voice, and what we are seeing so far is just the beginning.

My hope is that non-human species, ecosystems, and also future generations, are given far more of a voice in our culture and society. Partly literally through this type of communication. And partly more metaphorically by giving them rights and a real voice in our legal and political system.


How Stella Learned to Talk – a book by Christina hunger

Hunger for Words – website for Stella, the original button-talking dog

Billy Speaks – a cat on YouTube

What About Bunny – a dog on YouTube

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