Thursday, February 18, 2016

Humans and Wildlife: Why We Can't Have a Nice Planet

My thought for today: there is something seriously wrong with human beings.

Think about this dolphin.

Think about this shark.

Think about this dolphin.

Think about this chimp.

We've always felt other animals were there for our consumption.  Meat-eaters and vegans can debate the ethics of that, and we can debate the means by which other animals are grown or harvested, but what shouldn't, what can't, be debated is that inflicting pain for our own pleasure degrades, not the animal involved, but US.  The three marine life cases just mentioned are from different nations, but all involve relatively well-off human beings who don't need food - they decided they needed a sick thrill. And the world's loneliest chimp - well, he just wasn't needed anymore, so let him starve.

Animals as they should never be (copyright unknown)

Raising children who don't respect animals is (sadly) not new, but what this makes me think is that we're doing something likely to be even more damaging in the long term: we're raising generations who are disconnected from nature entirely. It's there for our amusement. It's there for selfies and videos and blog posts. But in a world of smartphones and video games and computers, nature is simply "other" - it's like another planet we can hop over to and use when we want.  It's not the source of our food, our building materials, our medicines - even though it is.

To my fellow parents: dammit, take your kids outside. Not just to the park. Take them to seas, to mountains.  Take them to places with dirt.  Show them how it all works - how animals and plants and geological forces shape the world they are standing in.

Teach them respect.

Teach them, above all, connectedness.

Rant over.

Animals as they should be (NOAA)

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