Friday, June 4, 2010
"Will urban sprawl spread so far that most people lose all touch with nature? Will the day come when the only bird a typical American child ever sees is a canary in a pet shop window? When the only wild animal he knows is a rat...glimpsed on a night drive through some city slum? When the only tree he touches is the cleverly fabricated plastic evergreen that shades his gifts on Christmas Morning?"--Frank N. Ikard 'North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference, Houston, Texas, March, 1968--
Pretty powerful message, isn't it? I woke up this morning not knowing what I was going to say here today...my mind was a blank. And then I watched the news and saw those horrid pictures of the poor animals in the gulf...covered with oil...some dead, some almost dead...and I began to cry. What humankind is doing to this Earth and all of its creatures is criminal. And when a species cannot survive or reproduce in its environment, it dies out and becomes extinct. Today, at least a third of all plants and animals face extinction. And, it has been estimated that by 2100, half of all the animal and plant population will be gone.
Yes, extinction has always been a natural feature of evolution. The fact is that for some species to survive, others had to fail, but today, the extinction rate is increasing far too rapidly as a result of human interference on the ecosystem of the planet. Primates, birds, and many amphibians are particularly threatened, but we continue to invade and build up in their natural habitats. The above quote was frightening, yes...but it IS happening right now. There are American children who live in our inner cities who have already lost all touch with nature.
Our ancestors knew; they were so much smarter than us; they understood the interconnection between all life on Earth, and they respected it. We as a society feel entitled...as if everything there is belongs to us. Some say that this is a result of patriarchy, that matriarchal cultures value the world around us. I happen to agree with that. We don't own the planet earth and all that we find upon it; we co-exist with the animals in nature, in the wilderness; and, if we don't stop now, we too may become extinct as we slowly disrupt the eco-system on this planet that we live.