Love is the Solution

Reese Halter, Jeff Hansen (center) and Peter Owens protecting the whale nursery in the Great Australian Bight from fossil fuel extraction. Adelaide, South Australia

In the wake of the awful Dallas massacre of law officials and innocent victims, it’s time for a healing, and the tonic is love: Love of oneself, love of thy neighbor, and love of nature — our life support systems. 

Love is the most powerful vibrational state a human can achieve. Love supersedes both hatred and greed. 

Love is why over 40 percent of American households have pets. Pets provide unconditional love.

The more my colleagues study animals, the more we come to realize that we are all one. Humans are not the only species capable of forging true, long-lasting friendships. Animals do it, too, and they receive many of the same rewards.

We are social creatures. It is hard to get through life without friends, and other species, perhaps may also depend upon friends to survive. 

It is humbling to know that we as members of the animal kingdom are similar, sharing friendships and behavior patterns. 

Members of wild Rhesus monkey troops form close social bonds with a couple other members. Those friendships lower levels of glucorticiods, or stress hormones, which improves their health.

Individual horses in the same band are usually not relatives; they select a couple friends and groom and play with one another. Sometimes they simply rest their heads against one another, and their heart rates diminish during these quiet moments. 

Female baboons form close relationships with a select, small group of other females that last for years. Female baboons that have those relationships are four times more likely to survive to the age of 15 rather than those that don’t.

Chimpanzees share meat, come to each other’s aid in a fight and travel through the forests together — side-by-side. When one friend dies, the other chimpanzee grieves for weeks or months.

Male dolphins form lifelong male friendships when they are young. Females form very close female friendships in their early 50s after their fertility years have passed.

Animal friendship is about enduring bonds defined by sharing, sacrificing and grieving.

Human friendships result in lower blood pressure, lower levels of stress hormones, stronger immune systems and more optimism, especially in elderly people.

During these uncertain times we all need more love. And we need to love nature not destroy her.

Today, tell at least two people that you love them. I guarantee you that it will bring them a smile and elevate the feel-good, “give me more,” insatiable hormone called dopamine.

Love is the solution.

Earth Doctor Reese Halter is the author of “The Incomparable Honeybee & The Economics of Pollination.”