Global Conservation vs. Individual Thinking

The Attenuation of the Biological World — Part 4

Global Conservation vs. Individual Thinking

Predictions that as many as 60% of all life forms may well go extinct by the end of this century — compounded by our increasing consumption of animal products and the ever-present possibility of rogue detonations of purloined 80 percent plus enriched uranium (20 percent being the weapons grade threshold, 3 percent the energy production norm) all adds up to an unprecedented peril to which one species has put all others. These threats also spell doom for the imagination, which would roost, if only it could, on a veranda, listening to the crickets, serving tea to one’s neighbors, behaving with generous decency, fairness, justice. Only a meager few tribes still exhibit this “window on the soul of humanity”; the Todas, the Tasaday (prior to their assimilation), the Bishnoi, Inner Badui, Karens, and a few others. Such communities — be they Quakers, vegetarian Seventh Day Adventists, or the many millions of Jains — have provided a pellucid example of our ability to leave a light footprint. We need not be unruly monsters in the night.

Construction SiteBut the gentler traits of our upbringing have been largely ignored in our relationship to most other animal and plant species and this reality is obfuscated by the dreams of developers, manufacturers, job creation and Gross National Products that have failed to write down the quarterly profits and losses according to the obstruction or downright destruction of nature’s otherwise free services upon which we all depend, not least of which, some 80 percent of all medical cures or treatments deriving from the direct utilization of wild plant species, of which there are a known 400,000 or more. The brazen denial of the extinctions occurring at a vastly accelerated pace exceeding by at least a thousand times the “natural background rates” for extinction, must leave any feeling, thinking being in a state of utter panic. And yet, that panic is suffused within the age-old preoccupations with self-preservation. One cannot deny the truth of evolutionary pressures, punctuated equilibria, boom-and-bust population dynamics and the inevitability of death. We all eventually succumb to fears of mortality, in one form or other. But when we add to these basics the biased, typically invasive and vastly imperfect structure of scientific investigation, gap analysis of the breakdown in our ability to actually protect anything, whether the rich biomes of the Gulf of Mexico, the more than 4,000 U.S. designated Superfund sites, cities like Bhopal, the Gulf of Alaska, the wildlife across the tropical rainforests, the coral reefs and mangroves, the Tall Grass Prairies, and all those species on the brink of extinction, it becomes clear that individuals who would, otherwise, be intent upon doing their share to assist in the redemption of our collective undoing, are sapped of energy, inspiration, resources or the knowhow to navigate the politics, legalities, economics and community/biocultural values that argues for so many differing ethics, orientations, deities or lack thereof. We are, in other words, a species of total chaos. Our true selves have been reduced to what we term “the hypothetical species,” namely an ideal creature capable of resurrecting the paradise that is truly Earth, but seen only in Renaissance pastoral paintings, or movies like “Avatar.” Yet, even “Avatar” is odds with its value system: there are warriors, they are meat-eating and this indigenous habit is promoted within the overall vision of harmony. Yet, what is there philosophically to separate the killing of an innocent herbivore from the slaughter of an innocent tribe and their sacred trees?


We do not need to kill to survive. This is not radical thinking by any means, but basic ethics.

Part 3: The Importance of Conserving Animal Rights
Part 1: Lack of Conservation Progress (the beginning)

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