About This Book
Ralph Nader's newest work of the imagination, Animal Envy, is a fable about the kinds of intelligences that are all around us in other animals. What would animals tell us—about themselves, about us—if there were a common language among all animal species? A bracingly simple idea, one that has been used before in books like George Orwell's Animal Farm and E. B. White's Charlotte's Web among others, but never like this. In Animal Envy, Ralph Nader proposes, quite plausibly, that a programmer has created a "digital translation" app whereby animals of different species, from insects to whales, can speak to one another, and through a "hyper-advanced converter" these animals can then also speak, both collectively and individually, to humans. It is decided that there will be a global assembly. It will be called "The Great Talkout." Humans are persuaded to reserve 100 hours of network coverage so The Great Talkout may begin and will be viewed by humans everywhere, in all human languages, as well as all animal languages.
The narrative that ensues is deeply felt and powerfully informed. Just as he did when he wrote Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us, Nader shows here that his visionary genius knows no limits.
"It's good to see Ralph Nader turning his attention to the way we treat animals. Whether you love or hate the unusual framework he has chosen, the ideas he presents are important and demand our attention." —Peter Singer, professor of bioethics, Princeton University, and author, Animal Liberation
"Ralph Nader's Animal Envy is a stimulating, wide-ranging, and forward-looking book. By using a digitally converted language that is understandable across species, diverse nonhuman animals—from insects to whales—are able to communicate with one another and also with human animals. In an ensuing global assembly called 'The Great Talkout,' a panoply of animals not only tells us who they really are and what they want and need to flourish, but also shows how they can be of great benefit to us—a win-win for all. Along the way we meet many fascinating beings, including the insect triad—the Earthworm, the Monarch Butterfly, and the Honey Bee—who plea for the end of pesticides.
"Using results from research on the cognitive and emotional lives of animals, Mr. Nader weaves in plausible stories of what we can learn about their agenda if we take the time to talk with and listen carefully to them. All in all, Animal Envy is a highly original and visionary book that made me think deeply about human-animal relationships and how they must change as other animals plea for less violence and appeal for compassionate coexistence in the Anthropocene, an epoch that truly has become the rage of humanity." —Marc Bekoff, author of The Animals' Agenda: Freedom, Compassion, and Coexistence in the Human Age (forthcoming, Beacon Press)
“As to be expected from a book by Ralph Nader, Animal Envy is hard to pigeonhole—being equal parts science fiction, philosophy, science and nature reporting, tragedy, and comedy. What is clear is that the book provides a wildly imaginative, illuminating, often hilarious (and sometimes politically incorrect) look at the fraught relationship between humans and the fellow creatures with whom we tenuously share a fragile home. Most important, the book is a desperate plea (from the animals themselves) that we change that relationship before it is too late for both them and us.” —Eric R. Glitzenstein, animal and environmental attorney, and co-founder of Meyer, Glitzenstein & Eubanks LLP, one of the nation’s premier public interest law firms
About Ralph Nader
For the past forty-five years RALPH NADER has challenged corporations, government agencies, and institutions to be more accountable to the public. In 1965, Unsafe at Any Speed changed the face of the automobile industry and made Ralph Nader a household name. As a result of his efforts, cars have more safety features. His lobbying and writing on the food industry insured that the food we buy is required to pass strict guidelines before reaching the consumer. One of his greatest achievements was the 1974 amendment to the Freedom of Information Act that gave increased public access to government documents. This brought freedom of press to a new level, resulting in increased access for journalists.
Ralph Nader has co-founded numerous public interest groups including Public Citizen, Critical Mass, Commercial Alert, and the Center for Study of Responsive Law. Nader today continues to be a relentless force for grassroots activism and democratic change in the United States.