Best Of: The 'New Science' Of Breathing / The Migration Of All Living Things


From whyy in Philadelphia I'm Terry Gross with fresh air weekend today how we can train ourselves to breathe in ways that may improve our health, the quality of our sleep and decrease anxiety. And why mouth breathing's related to snoring sleep, apnea and other problems? We'll talk with journalists James. Nestor author of the new book breath the new science of a lost art. It's about what we can learn about. Breathing from ancient meditation Techniques Recent Scientific Research and deep sea divers. Also we hear from science writer Sonia Shop Her. Two Thousand Sixteen Book Pandemic warned of deadly viral outbreaks her new book. The next great migration is about why migration is an enduring feature of human history. Later jazz critic Kevin Whitehead talks about feature films set in the jazz world. Support for NPR and the following message come from duck duck go. Are you tired of being tracked online duck duck? Go can help. They helped millions of people like you take control of their personal information online with one download you can search and browse privately. Avoiding trackers duck duck go privacy simplified. In the new book breath, my guest journalist James. Nestor writes about many aspects of how we breathe, and how we can train ourselves to breathe in ways that may improve our health and the quality of our sleep and decrease anxiety. He reports on my mouth. Breathing is related to snoring sleep. Apnea and other problems with the nose has that the mouth doesn't different breathing techniques to distress reduce blood, pressure and balance the nervous system, and how free divers trained to expand their lung capacity so that they can dive deep and stay underwater for up to twelve minutes on one breath. One possible ness just tried what he's written about including participating in an experiment at Stanford, in which his nose was completely plugged for days detest the impact of breathing solely through the mouth, the results for fascinating, but the experience of total mouth breathing was unpleasant and disrupted his sleep. Nassar is also the author of a previous book called deep, Free Diving, renegade science, and what the oceans tell us about ourselves any help founder research initiative to investigate how sperm whales communicate with each other through clicks. We originally broadcast this interview last month. James Nestor welcome to fresh air. Thanks so much for having me. Has Your research into breathing taking on a slightly different meaning because of Covid nineteen because of its respiratory systems and the anxiety that it's creating. I think the awareness of breathing has definitely increased. When I started this research several years ago, a lot of my friends were saying you running a book about breathing in breathing my whole life while would you want to write a book about that? But now these are the same friends who are seen how essential respiratory health is in helping us both prevent the onset of many illnesses and to help us get through illnesses like like cove it to help us better. Get through them. So you had been a mouth, breather and You did some snoring. You had a deviated Septum. which was effect affecting your ability to breathe through your nose because that kind of clogs part of their nose. Or blocks part of the nasal passage I should say so to understand whether mouth breathing was really a problem. You participated in this study at Stanford University. That forced you to breathe through your mouth. Describe what the setup was. Yes, so I had been in contact with the chief of Rhino, research or Nyack for months and months we'd had several interviews. We've been talking a lot. And he was telling me all the wonders of nasal breathing, and how bad mouth breathing was and none of that was controversial. That's that's very well established now, but nobody really knew how all the problems mouth breathing, no one knew how soon those came on, so I asked him I said well. Why don't you test it? You're not to tessies like how am I going to test? It would be unethical to ask someone to plug their nose. Nose for a certain amount of time and measure what happens, I said well. I'll do it, so it was never like a super size me study. That wasn't our intention. If twenty five to fifty percent of the population is breathing through their mouth, so I was just lowly myself into a condition, I already knew and that so many other people already knew so the plan was for ten days. I would have silicone plugs of my knows me and one other subject breathing therapist from Sweden I convinced him to do the study as well and for the other ten days we would change the pathway. Of how we breathed and breathe through our noses, instead of our mouths. So that, was it that was the setup and you know. We thought that mouth breathing for ten days was going to be bad, but we had no idea it was gonna be so damaging. How bad was it? Well I went from snoring a couple minutes a night to within three days. I was snowing four hours a night. I developed sleep apnea. My stress levels were off the charts. My nervous system was a mess. We had a whole home lab here at my house, so we were testing each other three times a day every day, and writing out all of these metrics we even had were were looking at blood glucose how that was affected. So I felt awful, I felt fatigued storing sleep apnea all all the rest, and even performance athletic performance, really really decreased as well and the good thing about this I was able to take these godawful plugs out of my nose and breathe. Nasal e again and once I did that. Snoring disappeared sleep. APNEA disappeared nervous system came back into balance. I mean completely transformed by just changing the pathway through which we breathed. So what's in the knows? That makes nose breathing better than math reading. 'cause mouths don't have that stuff. So the nose filters sheets treats raw air. Most of us know that, but so many of us don't realize at least I didn't realize how it can trigger different hormones to flood into our bodies how it can lower our blood pressure. How the stages of a woman's menstrual cycle, or correlated to different areas of the knows how it. Monitors heart rate on and on and on even help store memories, so it's this incredible organ that is not represented in any of the departments of the National Institutes of Health and this is something that. Is. You know just just hammered down over and over again. It's like why are we studying this more? And why don't people more people realize how important nasal breathing is? So? It's it orchestrates innumerable functions in our body to keep us balanced. When I found most surprising was that the nose actually has erectile tissue. Like men's and women's genitals. So. The nose is more closely connected to her genitals than any other Oregon, so it is covered in that same tissue so win. One area gets stimulated. The nose will become stimulated as well. Some people have to close of a connection where they get stimulated in the southerly regions. They will start. Sneezing and this condition is common enough that it was given a name called Moon Rhinitis. So. That the yeah, this, this is the weird stuff you never thought. You discover when you start writing a book about. But another thing that that is really fascinating is that erectile tissue will pulse on its own, so it will close one nostril and allow breath in through the other nostril than that other nostril close and allow Brad than in your our bodies do this on their own and this this switching happens between thirty minutes and every three hours, and a lot of people think a lot of people who have studied this believe that this is the. The way that our bodies maintain balance, because when we breathe through a right nostril, circulation speeds up body gets hotter cortisol levels increase blood pressure increases so breeding through the left will relax more so blood pressure will decrease lowers temperature cools. The body reduces anxiety as well so our bodies are are naturally doing this, and when we breathe through our mouths were denying our bodies the ability to do this and to keep us in balance. But what about if you can't breathe through your nose? Because either you have a cold or respiratory illness or you have a bad deviated septum. Sure around seventy percent of the population has deviated Septum that's clearly visible to the naked eye. So this is just rampant and I certainly do when I got a cat scan of of my head. It was an absolute mess, but some conditions so severe that you'll need surgical intervention for sure. But. The vast majority are not and something. Nyack kept telling me. Is He? Said you know if a sink is clogged in your house, you're gonNA find a way of unclogging. The nose should be considered in the same way for noses clogged. You need to find a way of unclogging. You can do that by breathing more through your because it's really a use it or lose it Oregon. The more you breathe through it, the more you're going to be able to breathe through it. I was just talking to a clinician trained something like seven thousand people to nasal breathing. Only four of them could not breathe through their noses after about three weeks of training, so it's it's really something more. We focus on it. The more we really concentrate, the more were able to open it up and to get all those benefits of nasal breathing. So after you did this experiment about breathing exclusively for your through your mouth. You decided at night to try taping your mouth so that you couldn't through your mouth and you'd have to breathe through your nose. How did that go? Yeah so this is something a hack that I'd heard about and was extremely skeptical about it sounded very dangerous to me until I talked to a breathing therapist at Stanford, who said that she had cured her own mouth breathing by taping her mouth at night, and until I talked to a dentist who been in the field for twenty thirty years. Who Prescribes this to his patients now I'm not talking about getting fat piece of duct tape and taping that over your mouth. That's a really bad idea talking about a teeny piece of surgical tape about the size of a stamp. Imagine like Charlie Chaplin Moustache, move down an inch and my personal experience with this is. Allowed me to sleep so much better. Wake up so much more rested, and to not have that dry mouth every morning. So with a tape. You're talking about if your mouth really needed to open, it could because that's not. Like like, you said it's not like really strong tape. It's just like surgical tape and a little piece of it. Yourself and I'm not prescribing. Prescribing, neither not prescribing anything, no, no, no I'm saying this personally worked for me, but don't go on Youtube. Don't go on the Internet and see these people's nine pieces of tape over their their lower jaws like bad idea. I've found all you need is a very small piece of tape, and there's even a product out right now. That is being sold as a remedy for snoring. And what is it? It's a piece of tape that you put on your lips at night, so other people and they've conducted studies to show how effective it is so this. This worked well for me. It's worked well for many other people but I'm not prescribing anything. And I should mention that my guest James Nestor also not a doctor. He's a journalist and his reporting on what he's learned. By talking to many researchers and doctors and people who practice breathing techniques and teach breathing techniques. If you're just joining us my guest as journalists. James Nestor author of the book breath the new science of lost art. We'll talk more after a break and jazz critic Kevin Whitehead. We'll talk about feature films set in the jazz world, and what he calls the Stock Jazz movie ending. This is fresh air weaken. It feels like nothing in the news. These days makes any sense so Hassan. Husselmann Hajj turned to his father and his faith for answers. He's a don't worry about the number of questions. Just worry about which questions become more clear and solidified comedian Hasan Manhattan, on how his spirituality is getting him through. Listen subscribed to. It's been a minute from NPR. Let's get back to my interview with Journalists James Nestor author of the new book breath about what ancient forms of eastern meditation as well as new science tell us about breathing, and how by controlling breath through various techniques we can improve our sleep our health and decrease anxiety. Breathing is automatic, but we can control. When we consciously try the quality of the breath, the length of inhales and exiles, and how deeply or shallowly we breathe. Can you explain why breath? Would for instance affect anxiety. And how breathing in certain ways certain breathing techniques can decrease anxiety? Being very important subject right now. So for so many of us. We think that it's just important that we're breathing because if we're breathing, that's good. That means we're live for not reading that Bat. You know could be dead, but it's how we take those breasts. We take twenty five thousand breaths a day and thirty pounds of air enters, and exits are lungs every day, so it's how we take those breaths, and the nuances of those breaths that I've found play such an important role in health, happiness and longevity, so specifically with anxiety. Talk to neuro. Psychologist went out to his lab. At the Laureate Institute, a brain research, and he explained to me that people with anxieties or they're fear, based conditions typically will breathe way too much so. What happens when you breathe that much is you're constantly putting yourself into a state of stress. So you're stimulating sympathetic side of the nervous system. And the way to change, that is to breathe deeply because if you think about it if you're stressed out. Tigers GonNA. Come get you. You know you're going to get hit by a car. You can breathe. Breathe breathe as much as you can. But by breathing slowly that is associated with a relaxation response, so the diaphragm lowers your allowing more air into your lungs in your body immediately switches to a relax state, so we may not be able to control the function of our hearts, other organs in our body, but we can control our breathing, and when we control breathing, we can influence so much of how our bodies operate, and that includes. A as a treatment, or or at least a practice for people with anxieties, depression, just changing their breathing psychiatrists found can have very transformational effect. It seems so simple to be true, but some of these people have been studying this subject for decades, and that's what they've found. There are many different breeding techniques. There are many different breathing meditation styles. What do they all have in common? Is there something they all have in common in terms of inhale and exhale and. the basic principles underneath. So breathing's been studied for thousands and thousands of years there are seven books of the Chinese Tao that deal only with breathing. What happens when we do it improperly and all of the benefits we can get. It properly. So all of those ways, all of the different practices do have one thing in common, and that's because they allow you to slow down and consciously listen to yourself and feel breath is affecting you so there's many different tools in this toolbox. If you want to slow down and become more relaxed, you can exhale longer than you inhale so that will have a very powerful effect on you. You for relaxation. If you want to stimulate yourself and get going, you can breathe much faster. So what I've found is throughout time throughout millennia. These different cultures at different times different peoples were discovering the same exact thing over and over so it's very interesting that right now we have the science and the techniques and measurements to really prove what these people have been saying for so long. Why does the X. Hail quiet system? Because the exile is para sympathetic response rate. Now you can put your hand over your heart if you take a very slow, inhale in. You're gonNA feel your heart speed up. As you exhale should be feeling your heart slowdown. So exhaling relaxes the body and something else happens when we take a very deep breath like this, so the diaphragm lowers when we take a breath and. And that sucks. Bunch of blood, huge perfusion of blood into the thoracic cavity as we x hail, that blood shoots back out through the body, so the diaphragm is considered the second heart, because it plays such a huge role in circulation, and it lowers the burden of the heart, if we breathe properly, and if we really engaged the diaphragm, so these slow and low breaths, people should be practicing these as much as possible. This is the way your body wants to take an air. If you, WANNA, start breathing to calm yourself down. Do you have any suggestions for the length of the inhale and the length of the exhale. Sure and this was a study I'd stumbled upon. That's about twenty years old now that some Italian researchers. Gathered a group of subjects, and they had them recite the Ave Maria so the Catholic prayer cycle. And then they had them recite all money putting me hum, which is a Buddhist prayer? Would they found that it took about five and a half seconds to recite each of these prayers, and then about five and a half seconds to then inhale. And so by breeding about five and a half seconds out five and a half seconds in they found that blood to the brain increased, the body, entered this state of balance, in which all of the organs all of the system worked in harmony with one another and they they covered these people with sensors, and we're able to see all of this. All data sheets and the study is widely available, so they later found that you don't need to really pray to these benefits, even though you can do that if you like, but just by breathing at this rate. About five and a half seconds and five and a half seconds out. Don't worry if you're second off, you know the point is to relax yourself. You were able to get the perfect amount of air into your body, and out of your body, and really allow your body to do what it's naturally designed to do, which is function with the least amount of effort and they've. They've taught this breathing. Psychiatrist have taught this breathing. Pattern to exile eighty depression, even nine eleven survivors, who had this ghastly condition called ground class lungs, and it had significant effects on them, but just breathing this way. You've said if you exhale longer than you inhale that that can be very calming, so if both the inhale and the exhale are five and a half seconds you're not doing the longer exhales, does that does that matter so so the body wants to be balanced, right? We want sympathetic balance. We won't para sympathetic balance so just in regular day to day activity. You want to have that balance before you go to sleep. You can extend that Xcel and become more relaxed, but I would not be extending that xcel before meeting or before important phone call. So. You can use these different tools to do different things. You can also inhale longer in xl shorter if you want a little boost of energy. So the even Steven like the most balanced way of breathing that I found after studying the stuff and talking to the leaders in the field, was that five to six seconds in five to six seconds out. James in talking about breath and its impact on our health and our anxiety, you referred to the sympathetic and the Para sympathetic nervous system without going into too much detail. Can you just explain briefly? Would what each of them are? Why whether relevant to breath? Sure, the sympathetic nervous system is the system that triggers a fight or flight reaction. So, when we sense danger, the sympathetic nervous system switches on floods, our bodies with hormones and allows US become meaner and leaner in the fight harder or to run really fast. That's what that does, so. The Para sympathetic is the opposite. This is the side of the nervous system that triggers a rest and relax response. And we WANNA. Be In this state when we're eating food mostly throughout the entire day, we want to be in a parrot sympathetic state. The problem is that nowadays. All of us are kind of half stressed. We're not really running away from a tiger or lion or fighting for our lives, but we're not really relaxing either, so we're. We're staying in this grey zone. Where during the? Or half away during our days we're half asleep. So that's what I found was so interesting about. Breeding is by just breathing. You can elicit these different nervous system states so you can take command of something that was supposed to be automatic. That's what it's called the automatic nervous system, but you can control it, and you can stress yourself out if you want or you can relax yourself just by breathing. We typically do wrong. When we breathe like speaking for myself I think I'm a very shallow breather when I'm not paying attention to my breathing, I think my my kind of state is shallow breaths. So what's wrong with that? Well you can think about breathing as being in a boat right, so you can take a bunch of very short stilted strokes, and you're going to get to where you WANNA go. It's GonNa. Take a while, but you'll get there, or you can take a few very fluid long strokes and get there so much more efficiently, so your body doesn't want to be overworked all the time. Because if it is then things, start to break down, so you want to make it very easy for your body to get air especially if this is an act that we're doing twenty five thousand times a day. So by extending those inhales an excels by moving the diaphragm up and down a little more you can have a profound effect on your blood pressure on your mental state on even on longevity, because so much of longevity is correlated with respiratory health and long size. Games Nestor is the author of the new book breath the new science of a lost art? Critic Kevin. White had spent a lot of time over the past few years. Watching movies set in the jazz world. He has a new book about films that Tell Stories about jazz called. Play the way you feel. Here's his take on what he caused the stock jazz movie ending. Over ninety some years of movies about jazz, some plot points and story elements keep coming back. We see young musicians who'd been mentored by African American elders who worked basement clubs and want to play the way they feel when the man just wants him to play the music as written. It's the movies, so they are romantic. Complications sometimes tied to divergent musical tastes. Such problems may be resolved in a version of the stock jazz movie. Ending a Big New York, concert or parties at odds are reconciled. It turns up by nineteen, thirty seven and the romantic comedy Champagne Waltz. Fred macmurray plays a saxophonist who turns old Vienna onto jazz, killing business at the Waltz Palace, next door, and wrecking Fred's romance with the waltz kings opera singer granddaughter. In the end they're all on stage New York. Romantic and musical differences are resolved, is gigantic jazz and classical orchestras Mesh on a swinging the classics mash up of Tiger Rag and the Blue Danube. It's kitschy music, but clear storytelling symbolizing the wedding, too. College. That ending got tweaked in the nineteen thirty eight Irving Berlin song, fast Alexander's ragtime band, moving the reconciliation between bandleader and singer to Carnegie. Hall the gold standard for classy venues in the movies. That template came back with minor variations for decades. In Nineteen forty-sevens, the fabulous Darcy's battling brother Bandleader, Jerry and Tommy Dorsey, playing themselves patch up their few just long enough to play a double concerto, just as the Real Dorsey cooperated long enough to make the movie. A couple months later came the film New Orleans with the most over the top New York concert ending which clears the way for an opera singer marry a jazz booker. At symphony hall the singer Acquire Three Pianos philarmonic Orchestra and Woody Herman's big band all cram on stage to murder in the film's instant. Hit Song which we've already heard Billie holiday do rather better. The New York concert capper turns up through the nineteen fifties. A jazz movie tradition as in the Benny Goodman story or Saint Louis Blues were w c Handy's disapproving people finally, his Blues Music once performed in concert alongside Mozart and Mendelssohn. More, variations came later. In nineteen seventy two's lady sings the blues after an analyst us. Diana Ross Billy holiday is finally allowed to play New York again at Carnegie with violins. The real holiday did play Carnegie Hall, but without the FIDDLES. In Two thousand sixteen. Nina Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone. WHO's been living in bitter French? Exile plays a free concert in central park and discovers people still love her reconciling. Nina, Simone and America. No reconciliation ending as grander implications. You know have. Ever run in three, you know. Serve. Me Yeah. There are other examples, but you get the idea. reworking durable plot points isn't unique to jazz films. Of course, that's just storytelling. Still these particular echoes and variations reinforce parallels between jazz and filmmaking. because. All so work myriad variations on set themes, and sometimes fall back on stock licks when inspiration fails and sometimes knowingly quote from works to affirm the historical continuum. Jazz like the movies can sometimes spin familiar lick to make it seem new again and worth bringing back one more time. You know what it means. To Mess, New Orleans. East. and. And, Yet slung long grass. Stay away. Given Whitehead Rights for point of departure and tone audio. His new book is called. Play the way you feel the essential guide to jazz stories on film. Coming up, we hear from Science Writer Sonia Shah 2016 Book Pandemic Warrant of deadly viral outbreaks. Her new book. The next great migration is about migration is an enduring feature of human history. This is fresh air weakened. Cellphone footage shows police killing unarmed black people. Protesters take to the streets. And repeat for a decade. Why. Ruin move on. A blunt reminder that we've been here before. On Code, switch from NPR. Support for NPR comes from whyy. Presenting the PODCAST, eleanor amplified and adventure series. Kids love here reporter Eleanor Atwood Crafty Villains and solve mysteries as she travels the globe to get the big story available where you get podcasts or at whyy dot, Org. Our guests science writers. Sonia Shah has written several books including one that's made her a sought after interview guests lately that book published in two thousand. Sixteen is called pandemic. She explored the increasing threat of viral outbreaks and our own personal experience with contagious infections. Her New Book Explores another subject of intense interest in recent years, immigration while the trump administration, and some European governments are hardening their borders and cracking down on Immigrants Shah argues that mass migration is nothing new in human history, or for that matter, the history of plants and animals for centuries she writes prominent intellectuals have regarded migrants as menacing deviance, defying the natural order that places everyone in a singular natural setting, but she says science now shows that migration among all species is a biological imperative as important as breathing. SONAL Shah's new book is called the next great migration, the beauty and terror of life on the move. She spoke with fresh air's Davies. Sony share welcome back to fresh air. In an interview at the end of January of this year, you said that covid nineteen will be bigger, more dangerous and more economically damaging than the SARS epidemic You were right. How did you know? Well it seemed. Early on it was clear that this pathogen had kind of found the sweet spot between how deadly it was on one hand, which is not terribly deadly compared to all the pathogens out there that we've had. It was just deadly, enough and transmissible enough to spread really widely, and caused a lot of death and disruption, so the first stars was a lot more deadly, but less transmissible, so it kind of burnt itself out on its own, but this is something that can really sustain itself, because it doesn't kill everyone, you know, it has a lot of as symptomatic spread, and all those the the basic parameters of this virus made it clear pretty early on that this could be the next big one, and of course we know what it is. And you've had a couple of months more experienced to see this unfold. What has surprised impressed you about the shape of this pandemic? Most of it is pretty similar the way we're responding the process by which the pathogen is moving through populations. I mean there's this confrontation between. Human population that's had no experience with this thing. And suddenly it coming into population, so we've seen that before in history I think what's really been so surprising and unexpected about the way. This pandemic is unfolding that really I. Don't think anyone predicted. Was the US response being so chaotic and dysfunctional, and I don't think anyone really predicted that no-one. no-one really predicted that the CDC would become an institution that not everyone trusted anymore. You know that that are the US government would not put forward a vigorous federally lead response so that has been very surprising, and I think that's has changed how the pandemic and the response has unfolded. You, you've been interviewed a lot about the coronavirus in one thing I've heard you say that what we take out of. This will depend upon the stories that we tell ourselves. And when you look at the divergent and competing narratives that we see, it's pretty striking. You have one side saying well this. Came from China or may have come from China even perhaps a Chinese government lab, and that the administration's response was swift and effective, and the death toll is probably inflated, so it's not actually that bad, and then another side that has a completely different view. I'm wondering. Are we going to end up with an accepted understanding of what's happened here. I mean I think. All the stories that were telling right now conform to a basic narrative which is that? We have been invaded by this intruder. You know whether we say it's the Chinese virus, or it's from Wuhan or you know from some other plays. Maybe it's baby so a bat or some strange eating habit or know something outside of us. There's this sense of. US Being the passive victims of these invasive germs, and I think that kind of paradigm of I call it microbials phobia. It's it's rooted in our history of how we've treated contagious diseases. It's rooted in germ theory. The advent of scientific medicine and all of that. And, it's helped us in a lot of ways with antibiotics and vaccines, we think of the microbusiness, invasive contaminant, and then we. Targeted with killing chemicals. What it obscures is our own role in creating the opportunities that allow microbes to turn into pathogens, and to spread between us, and the problem with that is right now. We have this new pathogen here were not gonNA, have drugs and vaccines to save us from it in the short term, what we need to do is change their behavior, but the way we talk about the pathogen really obscures the role of human behavior, and all of this so I think that is something that we need to Kinda grapple with. And so how do we need to change our behavior? A lot of ways I mean I think we need to look more deeply at the way we're interacting with nature We need to look more deeply. Add the crisis of biodiversity, which is really the fundamental driver of all of these spillover pathogens coming into human populations. I mean it's not just the novel coronavirus. It's also Ebola and Zeka and HIV in the nineteen eighties and. West Nile virus and new kinds of lyme disease tick-borne disease. You know we we have a whole. Host of these pathogens that are coming out of animal populations into humans because we are destroying wildlife habitat at such a huge rate. You know we're. We're losing one hundred fifty species every day, so this biodiversity crisis is the fundamental drivers, so we need to look at that more deeply and consider. Human Health to be connected to the health of our livestock or wildlife and our ecosystems more generally. Speaking with Sonia Shah she's a science writer and the author of several books including pandemic published in two. Thousand Sixteen. Her latest book is the next Great Migration, the beauty and terror of life on the move. One of the things you deal within the book is the long held idea that people on the move, our labral their deviance that it's kind of a threat And it's interesting because you were born in the United States, but both your parents emigrated from India and I'm interested in what your own experience was being a country. in the United States while you still had a lot of cultural ties and extended family in India. What would? Met for your own sense of yourself and identity. I mean I think I adopted the sense. I got from everyone around us that I was somehow place that it somehow you know. Strange and anomalous for this body that traces its ancestry to the South Asian subcontinent to be present in north. America like I. You know I tell people where I'm. You know I'm from I'm from New York, city, that's where I was born and they know. Where are you really from? And that's a very common. Experience of of many people of Color in the United States We're not believed we know we're. Where American were we were born here? You know really most of us are not more than one or two generations is distant from an active long distance migration, and so and all of us are migrants on some timescale or another, except for maybe a very few people in parts of Africa, and so really the if anyone's anomalous, it's not me. It's the people who stayed still right right. Right that for centuries, leading intellectuals regarded migrating. And migrating animals, even as labral like out of out of the natural order of things you know that particular people races ethnic groups, animal species had a natural homeland or Habitat. That's where they belonged who propagated these ideas, and how do they connect the power structures of those of the time? Well I traced most of these ideas back to Lena's Carlin is who considered the father of modern taxonomy and he's this. Eighteenth Century Swedish naturalist and he kind of decided for all of us will wear. Does everything belong? He named everything. and. He you know He. He came from a very Christian household, and like most naturalists of the time he was very religious, and he thought of nature as an expression of God's perfection, so everything was in its rightful place for him. You know so so wherever he found things. That's a quote. Unquote belonged, and that extended to his human taxonomy, so he decided that you know the people in Africa Belong Africa the people in America they belong in America etc to such an extent that he decided that all of these different people's on different continents were not you know didn't have a shared ancestry shared migration history, but we're actually. Actually separate subspecies of humans, and in fact he called Africans even less than human that they were sort of a hybrid between real humans and this other archaic Michele human that he called Troglodyte S-, but those ideas were incredibly influential, because we see them today in our ideas about race and Abou- where people belong in where wild species belong in when a when a wild creature across his drum in a different place into a new territory we think of it as an invasive, we call it an alien, and we hints of all of that in the way, we make policy around around Immigration and newcomers in places around the world. It's interesting that. In the early twentieth century there were a lot of racist theories which held that immigration was a terrible thing that it would dilute the purity of Americans and along with this came the idea that animals to didn't migrate Ryon Air. Animals had placed that they belonged, and you know I guess the status of Scientific Natural Research. Wasn't yet in a position to really test that. You write that over the subsequent decades. We've come to understand just how much mass migration there is you WanNa. Give us some examples of the. Distances that animals traverse routinely in migration. Well I think. This is just trying to get mapped right now. Because we've had this absolute revolution in our ability to track the way animals move I mean in the past we only could see animal movement sort of episodically in glimpses you know. We didn't have batteries lasted long enough to to follow them around. Even if you were able to follow an animal around, you wouldn't have funding for 'cause animal movement was considered sort of instinctual and robotic, and there wasn't a lot of scientific interest in it, but what scientists are discovering now is that you know we're able to use new technology to. Study the way animals move and so with solar technology and GPS. We can track animals twenty, four seven over the course of their lifetime continuously so you can, you can see the full picture of the way they move, and what they're finding is that these creatures are moving farther and faster and more complex and responsive ways, dynamic ways than anyone ever thought before, and what's funny is like we've created all these. These parks and reservations to protect animals, and when when we've actually now studied will. Where do they actually go? It turns out well the drafts you know. They're supposed to stay in the park in Ethiopia that we set aside from. In fact, they're crossing borders and going. You know much farther than that. The turtles are swimming well beyond the boundaries of the marine protected zones. We've we've made up for them. So and we see animals are moving sort of en masse now because of the climate crisis, the climate change that tens of thousands of species are moving towards the Poles and up into the heights, including creatures that we don't think of as mobile we think of coral reefs for example as very still as stone walls, essentially in coral reefs are moving. Coral polyps around Jet Japan for example have moved about fourteen kilometers every year since the nineteen thirties, forests are moving. Up The Himalayan mountains climbing uphill in one thousand nine meters a decade, and there are some animals that have moved even farther like Atlantic cod wish shifted more than two hundred kilometers every decade. So so there's just this. Sense that were just being revealed to us of a planet. That's on the move in in a very dynamic responsive way. Have plenty of animals that have long regular migration routes I mean these little tiny monarch. Butterflies go from New England to Mexico thousands of miles. eels crossed the Atlantic. And I'm wondering what your sense. What? What's the lesson for us about this constant motion among animal species? What's the lesson for our understanding of Human Migration? I think what we can see in animals is that their mobility allows them to adopt to environmental change, so we see in bird species for example if they rely on seasonally available fruits, they migrate more often than bird species that. That safe feed on insects that are available year round bats that live in trees they migrate more than bat species that live in caves. Arthur posit live in seasonal ponds migrate more than those who live inside for us, so the more exposed you are to environmental chain variation, the more likely are to migrate and whole ecosystems depend on animals on the move. You know we see. And this is something. That's a complete reversal to how scientists used to think of wild migrant, says sort of parasites you know as as disruptors in Paris as what we now understand is that you know over ninety percent of the trees in rainforests for rely on the movement of birds and other animals to disperse their seeds. So wild migrants in wild movements really build the scaffolding for. Our Ecosystems. So we can see that in the in the natural world. So, what does that mean about the way we move while we know that humans are not our bodies are not. Attuned specifically adapted to specific niches. You know the way that Lynn Naess and the race scientists of the early twentieth. Century thought of the human body as very specifically adapted to a certain place, so the African body was adapted to an environment, a European body to temperate European climates, etc.. And that's not what we now know about the human body I mean we. Are Genes are not they don't robotically dictate how our bodies function our how our bodies develop. And we're very fungible. Our our genes are very responsive to environmental signals around the genes themselves from. The diets are mothers from the climates were exposed to and that kind of fluidity and responsiveness. It's what allows our bodies to thrive in such widely variable places from the Tibetan plateau to the middle of rainforests. And, it's not the kind of thing that doesn't evolve in species that are staying in one place in that are highly adapted to one specific location, our bodies are just opposite were very fungible, and so our bodies really are built to migrate. So you have to think about like the whole picture of. Why did we evolve this way? And how did our? How did migration come to be such a prominent part of our history? It's because it's benefits outweighed its risks over the long term, so this whole idea of migration crisis is what I'm trying to kind of interrogate, and and it seems to me that it could be just the opposite. That migration isn't the crisis. Migration is the solution. You write the book that the next Great Migration is upon us is this the migration driven by climate change? Yeah that. That's what's happening with. Wild species up to eighty percent of wild species that have been tracked are moving towards the Poles and up into altitude, and we see also gration patterns in humans are also changing and so given what we understand that migration is a response to environmental change in a way to adapt to environmental change. We can predict that as the climate changes that we're GONNA. Continue to see you know a a new kind of migration happening. Show you so much for speaking with us again, thank you. Sooner show spoke with fresh air's Dave, Davies her new book is called the next great migration, the beauty and terror of life on the move. Her Twenty Sixteen book is called pandemic tracking contagious from cholera to a bola and beyond. Fresh air weekend is produced by Teresa Madden Fresh Air's executive producer is Danny Miller our technical director and engineer is Audrey Bentham. Our interviews and reviews produced an edited by Amy. Salad Phyllis Myers Roberta shorrock. San, brigger. Lauren, Crandell, Monterey, Seth. Kelly and Joe will from Molly. Seavy Nesper is our associate producer of digital media I'm Terry Gross.

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