Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Who died and made us king of everything?

One of my pet peeves is the insistence on defending the environment in purely human terms. Save the rain forest because it might contain medicines for us. Save the ocean because it produces the air we breath. Save the bees because they pollinate our crops. Save the climate because it might be uncomfortable for us. Us, us, us, us.

Who died and made us king of everything?

I recently read Poseiden's Steed by Helen Scales, a fascinating book on seahorses, amazing creatures. But in the epilogue she says "Even if nature wouldn't pay much attention the day seahorses were no longer there, surely they do matter to us ... they matter because they inspire us to care about the natural world." (my emphasis)

She goes on to quote Sir David Attenborough (who I otherwise have great respect for) regarding protecting the planet's biodiversity "The overwhelming reason is man's imaginative health." (my emphasis)

We should save the planet for our "imaginative health"? That's the best we can come up with?

How arrogant is it for us to believe (or at least act as if) the earth was put here solely for our benefit. We're not the end point of evolution, we're an interesting experiment in the value of intelligence. And the jury is still out on the result of that experiment.

If you believe your religion tells you that it's ok to trash the planet, I think you're misinterpreting your religion, but I'm not going to get in a fight about it. I will ask, "Do you crap in your living room?" Well, wake up people, the earth is our living room, and we're crapping in it.

If any other species' population exploded the way ours has, or did as much damage as ours has, we'd regard them as a horrific pest and we'd put vast energy into stopping them. But if it's man, then somehow it's ok.

Politician love to justify themselves by saying "if I have to choose between people and the environment, I'm going to choose people". And everyone nods. Wait a minute, what makes people more important? We just assume they are, but why? The biosphere will do fine without people, people won't do fine without the biosphere.

We have to not trash the planet, not for our benefit, but because it's simply wrong to do so. We are not alone here. All of life deserves a slice of the pie, not just some greedy destructive naked apes with swollen heads who breed like rabbits.

End of rant :-)


  1. Anonymous10:31 PM

    I've been saying it for awhile now, put humans back on the menu...