The earth’s ecosystem didn’t pop up overnight. It has developed over billions of years, and humans have only been a part of it for a few hundred thousand at most. This has not stopped the human race from crowning itself masters of the world, and we’ve sanctified that mastery through the religions we create. Nature has a far better handle on how the world functions than we do, but rather than learn from nature, we have set ourselves in opposition to the natural world with disastrous results. We wipe out ecosystems and exterminate species with little or no regard to the role each plays in the environment.
If we destroy a species that serves a vital function in the ecosystem we’d better be prepared to take over that function or deal with the consequences. If we don’t understand what that function is, we need to do all we can to make sure that species is protected until we learn. Animals, who have just as much right to inhabit the planet as we do are disappearing at an alarming rate due to our oftentimes willful negligence. People think nothing of killing an elephant just to make a few trinkets out of ivory and the rhino has nearly gone extinct because people believe its horn can be used as an aphrodisiac. For every person actively involved in trying to protect these creatures, there are many more trying to thwart these efforts, or turning a blind eye to the problem. Rather than try to preserve these creatures, we document their passage and invent reasons why they didn’t survive to justify our slaughter of them.
The history of humanity is awash with our attempts to deal with problems we’ve created for ourselves. We lay claim to parcels of land, or wider territory and to defend those rights we’ve claimed for ourselves, we go to war and slaughter countless others. We indiscriminately dump our waste into the available waterways, then must pump the water full of chemicals to make it drinkable. We create materials that don’t biodegrade or are hazardous to health, then pollute the environment trying to dispose of it, further compromising the environment for other creatures living there.
We need to stop feigning ignorance and start acting on what we’ve learned. Whether it’s religion or politics, we’ve become very adept at figuring out how to justify our destructive ways, in some cases making them desirable traits rather than negative behaviors that need to be corrected. We need to abandon our tribal mentally and start thinking globally, because otherwise, it will soon be our turn to face extinction.