Charisma and conservation

by Anna Sigrithur and Meradith Hoddinott

In the quest to obtain sensory pleasures, the seeker sometimes puts ethics aside. This conundrum is especially true when it comes to food and eating. But what if taste could help us participate in flourishing ecologies by attuning us to when and how best to eat certain organisms? The answer is complicated, in part by our human tendency to assign value unevenly to different organisms—a phenomenon aptly described as ‘non-human charisma’ (Lorimer, 2007).

In this episode, we explore how non-human charisma colours the tension between deliciousness and conservation. Our main story takes us to the Danish island of Bornholm in the Baltic sea, the site of a troubling drama between cod, local fisherman, a lot of worms, and an overpopulation of protected grey seals. But first, we take you back up into Sápmi where, for Sami reindeer herders, the endangered golden eagle is less majestic treasure, more economic hindrance—and even sometimes a vital threat.

Music in this episode from Bicycle Face.


Lorimer, J. 2007. ‘Non-human charisma’. Environment and Planning 25:5, 911-932.