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Thinking The Unthinkable

August 5, 2011



I’m sick of hearing about whale and baby seals and rhinos.

Yeah, whales are neat.  I’ve seen them first hand in Alaska when I was in the Coast Guard and I do wish people would leave them be, but….

The world is stuffed with refugees, hungry people, sick babies, homeless folks, war, famine and disease.  Until these things are taken care of I say to hell with the whales.

Call me a species bigot.

I’m also very sick of Greenpeace, out-of-work actors and all the other eco studs who pull the environmental cloak around themselves like some holy shroud while making sure the cameras are on them at all times.

While so many desperate people are fleeing wars and strife and struggling to survive on homemade rafts in so many places one might think that a group with the resources of Greenpeace might have set a little aside, say one boat, to save some human beings, but no.  They’re too busy running around in their Zodiacs chasing Japanese whalers, waving flags at nuclear subs and getting on the six o’clock news.

And there is another way to look at the whole environmental question.

Being an insomniac, I spend a lot of time abed awake while my mind wanders, sometimes fetching up in strange and unexpected places.  The other night it was elephants I was thinking about.  Their problems with people wanting their teeth and habitat loss.  I was wondering if anything could be done to maintain a viable population in the wild with the world whirling the way it is and then it occurred to me that perhaps nothing should be done.

Perhaps it’s time for the elephants to go.  They are, after all, survivals of prehistory.  They’ve, in the long view, been living on borrowed time for centuries after their brethren on the plains of America and Europe have gone.  Maybe the world’s getting beyond the point of being able to carry elephants.

Not a popular suggestion, but let’s play devil’s advocate for a moment.  Extinction is as much a part of nature’s plan as creation.  Human beings didn’t invent the concept.  It has long been the way that the planet has gotten rid of species that couldn’t adapt to changing situations.

Couldn’t hack it.

If the elephants or rhinos or that owl up in the northwest can’t cope with the changing scene, perhaps our spending and setting aside reserves and so on is improper interference with the natural orders.

Animal people say that the elephants’ problems are caused by man.

Okay, but, like it or not, man is a part of the natural cycle too.  We are members of the animal kingdom and the argument can be made that as we are natural, so are our works.

Even the deforestation and pollution and toxic waste.

I don’t pretend to know the destiny of the world and I don’t really like the conclusion this is leading to, but it’s a possibility and should be mentioned.

Perhaps the devastation of the planet’s ecology is the destiny of the earth.  Catastrophe is part of the natural order too.  Perhaps the end of life, the end of man, is just one more episode of earth’s story.  That we and our beastly kin are passing shades like all the saurians and sabertooths that have passed before.

We say “the end of the world” and we mean the end of mankind.  In our arrogance we think that when man is gone everything will end but, unless we manage to pull the planet apart stone by stone, the earth will continue whether we’re here or not, just as it did for millennia before we arrived.

Perhaps it is the earth’s destiny to spin barren and lifeless through space like our brother planets and man is the tool to achieve this.


Cynic that I am I don’t believe that we’ll ever stop dumping toxins and pollutants into our air and water as long as someone’s making a profit off of it.  Pessimist that I am i have no faith in miracles.  The elephant’s on the way out.  Maybe we are too.

Time will tell.


From → destiny, evolution, nature

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