Posted by: Green Knight | January 6, 2013

Any Species’ Death Diminishes Me

We just lost the Javan pygmy rhinoceros in Vietnam; its Indonesian relatives are holding on, but just barely. The West African rhino has even more recently been declared extinct. Lions are down to about 15,000 total, in five viable populations. Imagine Africa without lions; but places there are still serving lion burgers to tourists, and CITES still refuses to list them as endangered. We did a Greenpeace event a couple of years ago to try to raise awareness about the plight of the Sumatran tiger, of which there are about 400 left. Rhinos and orangutans are in serious trouble there and in Borneo as well. I could post a bunch of articles and petitions on here, but for once I’m gonna be lazy and make YOU look it all up. It’s readily available online. Do it, and make a difference.

As a former archaeology major, I’m aware that humanoids were partially responsible for the extinction of the megafauna at the end of the last Ice Age. We’re talking about the mammoths, mastodons, giant ground sloths, wooly bison, and other critters of that size. Climate change was definitely a factor as well, but back then, WE weren’t CAUSING the climate change. This time we’re doing a double-whammy on the midsized species that are left. Gaia will survive if we wipe ourselves out; the microbes will carry on without us. But I happen to LIKE (most) multicellular life. I do my part to help keep it sticking around. How about you?

I don’t have all the answers, but you can’t even come UP with answers unless you have pesky gadflies like me who ask the QUESTIONS first. Socrates is one of my heroes. The main reason I write this blog, and the main reason I’ve been teaching for over 20 years, in one way or another, is to stimulate thought and creativity. Humanoids are lazy, and tend to wait until the crisis to come up with a solution, but we’re usually smart enough to  come up with one at the last minute. I personally think that we really ARE at the last minute, so take off the tinfoil hats and put on yer thinking caps, please.

I think my paraphrase of John Donne is appropriate.



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