I’ve just been enjoying Andy Harmer’s piece in the Shropshire Mammal Group newsletter. The bit that grabbed me most is this …
So, to conclude this purposely polemical piece with some questions. Is it a worrying trait that conservationists over the last few decades have succumbed to selling a particular species or species group by finding a way that suggests there is a benefit for humans, and is there an inevitable corollary that sends the message that animals that don’t benefit us don’t deserve conserving, and even worse, animals that harm us or compete with us deserve destroying? I’ll nail my colours to the mast and say that if we want to be credible in our efforts to conserve our wildlife, we surely need to be truthful and balanced in our response. I’ve tried to stop eco-splaining in a way that favours one species over another, though lapse in moments of weakness or unpreparedness when someone enquires about mosquito larvae he’s observed in his bucket or asks “what are wasps for?” or “aren’t bats vermin?” or “do we need this many badgers?” and try my best to convey that all wildlife is part of a rich tapestry of life that we’ve inherited and it’s our duty to conserve this ecosystem holistically and challenge our indulgence to elevate an animal’s plight based on how cute, how interesting and how beneficial it is perceived to be.
And the bit that grabs me by the throat is this …
… selling a particular species or species group by finding a way that suggests there is a benefit for humans, and is there an inevitable corollary that sends the message that animals that don’t benefit us don’t deserve conserving, and even worse, animals that harm us or compete with us deserve destroying?
I’m afraid I just have to scream every time I come up against this! I’m not a tactful politician, willing to compromise every belief to get support! I find the whole concept that humans are the best thing since sliced cat-food nauseating and a major reason for the wildlife extinction we’re going through right now. As Chris Packham says, Wildlife Extermination is more like it and this whole idea that only animals (or ecosystems) that benefit humans are worthwhile is one of the biggest drivers to this extermination.
“eat less meat, eat vegetables” … sound grand until you really stop to think. Where are you going to grow the vegetables? How much more habitat are you going to steal from our elders – all the rest of creation – in order to make huge fields of monocrop beans, wheat, spuds, cabbages, etc blah? Hadn’t considered that? About time you did then.
“eat less meat” … those poor, pretty little calves and lambs and piglets. Have you yet realised that that carrot is still alive and breathing when you pull it out of the ground? Have you thought about how it feels as you chop it up while it’s still alive, and then throw it into boiling water or steam? I suspect you already think about the lobsters that suffer that very fate when you order them in the restaurant in Portugal on holiday … but do you also think about the carrot. Or any other veg?
We like “fresh veg” … that automatically means it’s still alive when we cook it! Did you realise that?
As Andy Harmer points up in his article, humans nowadays are massively ignorant of the world around them, of the whole of the natural world. I see it as a Disneyland quality, everything cute and pretty and nobody dies, except the Bad Guys like the Big Bad Wolves! Ye gods! That sort of thinking is why we are in this climate and ecosystem disaster, and most of the sweet-n-fluffy thinking that puts humans first will only drag us deeper.
There are some good memes on Facebook and Twitter now that say, fairly bluntly, we cannot survive until we know ourselves to be a part of nature. For me, they need to take it further; we need to know, and fully comprehend, that we humans are the youngest species of life on Planet Earth. Everything else is far, far older than us and by hundreds of millions of years! Mother Earth herself is 4.7 billion years old at the current guesstimate. You know, when I was growing up in the 1950s we kids really did get that most of our elders did know a thing or two, that they’d been young and idiotic like us back before the Ark, and that quite often we found by painful experience that they’d been right in suggesting not to do some things LOL. But now, nobody is ever wrong, nobody ever makes a mistake, nobody ever gets it round the back of their neck. And on the occasions they do they’re utterly pilloried and we’re all encourage to throw stones at them, especially by the Great God Media. Most folk never even consider thinking for themselves, asking questions, delving to the roots of a problem.
If we don’t change that we’re going to die … does that even compute for you?