Thursday, 21 May 2009

Countdown to extinction – The Orang-utan’s scorched earth

I find the plight of these creatures rather upsetting, it really represents for me how devastating us humans are to the rest of the planet and how little we care as a species for all the wonderful things around us, even each other. If anything else was spreading and destroying as fast as we are we would kill it immediately and be talking about how terrible it is what this ‘thing’ is doing. People see the holocaust as one of the lowest moments in the history of humanity but this is far worse. More humans get added to this overcrowding world each year than the total number of people killed in WW2, yet for some reason it is fine to kill off our closest cousin.

I saw program called Orang-utan Diaries, with one of my favourite ladies on TV, Michaela Strachen, who went into the jungle and found a baby orang-utan tied to a tree where poachers had killed the mother and left the baby there. It affected me so much when I saw what members of our so called intelligent species had done. This was not an isolated incident, Michaela was crying, it was so tragic and still haunts me to this day to the point where I have recurring dreams about Borneo and its plight.

I can’t watch wildlife programs like these anymore for the fear of the depressing, yet familiar line about shrinking habitats and how many more years are left before they are gone for good. I do support charities and make donations from time to time, but is throwing money really enough? It is ironic that this shows the very best of what humans are capable of in terms of compassion, but only due to the acts of the very worst. It is as though like WW2, the sight tragedy forces us to reflect and raise the moralistic core within some of us.

Like ever sane human I do not want to die or commit genocide, but to be frank, if 90% of us were wiped out (which could be likely in the future due to lack of resources and exploding overpopulation), it would be the best thing to happen to mother earth for a very long time. Of course I don’t want to be in that 90% nor my closest friends and family but, the fact is, without trying to sound narcissist or self indulgent, I do possess a certain mindset or mental model as a result of my upbringing, which I share with my family and friends. I am proud it, and just wish more people would be aware of the things that really matter rather than be lost of their day to day grind.

Thinking takes effort, and yes you have to take the rough with the smooth, but as a person it can really mould you. They say that people with Asperger’s and Autism are more drawn towards animals and also the physical world more than other people, but I don’t think that matters here. Logical, rational thought on a deep level, combined with compassion is something anyone could potentially practice. You don’t need the IQ of a Nobel prize winner to appreciate subtle beauty and put two and two together.

I think people over a certain cognitive age of development should not automatically be free to every right at their disposal. On a moral level people should have to earn their human rights, and be able to lose them, and not have them handed to them on a plate, expecting the world to do everything for them. The mentality which implies you can behave and act as you wish at the expense of others as a birthright (fellow humans or animals), and still be entitled to the same basic things as someone who shows a positive contribution to society and the world. But please don’t think I am implying everyone should do at least ten hours of community service a week or else they are not allowed to eat! We need a change in lifestyle that’s all, sounds simple but in reality it isnt.

The bottom line is, humanity stinks (with the exception of only rare moments of brilliance). The majority excretes vulgarity, blind over consumption, and arrogance. The ignorant and sickening selfishness driven by being set in our ways is beyond that of any other creature known. We claim to be intelligent and superior and that we own this world, not simply the lease holders, but we carry out acts with such cold hearted, primitive and myopic intent. There are animals that kill, although for mere survival with just the R-complex and limbic system to rely on for their judgement.

Our tendency to resort to over indulgence, so easily corrupted by power and greed, is certainly not a sign of intelligence. If we were indeed placed upon this rock by some all powerful being(s) as an experiment to see how an intelligent species would fare in such a material environment, we have certainly failed, or at least on the brink. If there was an all loving god, where is this mysterious entity now to prevent such acts of evil? The truth is, we have to rely upon ourselves, and what we do, not merely by what we just believe or hope. A man is defined by his actions (as Kuato said on total recall!) which means it is up to us as a collective force to make the difference. If this does not happen things are only going to get worse.

Otherwise may the younger generation inheriting the smouldering, war-torn, polluted, and chaotic world potentially left in the wake of this civilization have the intellectual courage, integrity, creativity and strength to tolerate the insanity and absurdity of this awful culture and bring about actual change where we have failed, if they ever survive themselves. Our culture’s addiction to systemic violence, industrial capitalism and environmental exploitation, as evidenced by the current epidemic of poisoned landscapes and shell-shocked nations, seems to be heading in only one direction.

I am not a Marxist, or a complete anti-capitalist, (as it works fine in some industries), or even a raving vegan shouting ‘peace man’ at every given moment, I work for a private company which is there to make profit, I eat meat and ride a motorcycle. Despite this I have come to the conclusion that there is no room in a capitalistic culture (especially on a global scale) for a conscience or logic, and it is all about consuming more and more faster and faster until nothing is left, and then blind panic tightens its grip, and everyone loses out apart from the absolute minority that benefited the most in the first place, another shining example being the financial crisis.

This is especially the case in terms of draining resources, exploiting workers, creating a brainwashed cultural mindset, and of course the destruction of habitat. Humanity effectively has three future paths to follow: 1) Globally each and every one of us change our attitudes and show more moral restraint in our lives, 2) The state(s) or some other kind of enforcement will have to become ruthless at tremendous human cost or 3) Mother nature will eventually fight back, via Darwinian means. I know which one could be the most desirable for us and other life forms on this planet to prosper and have a future, yet the chances of that happening is rather slim.

Back to the original topic, the senseless direction and complete lack of respect and compassion shown by faceless corporate bodies who will not be satisfied until they have reduced Borneo (not to mention the rest of the world) to a lifeless monoculture of plantation. The thought of this just reduces me to a state of turmoil, trying to comprehend why people behave this way, especially if they have children of their own, I mean what sort of world would they have to live due to the acts of their ancestors? Is a short term profit worth the eradication of so many precious species and ecological process that are vital to the wellbeing of the whole global biome?

Wherever you look, man is destroying every beautiful animal and habitat on this planet. Gandhi said you judge a country by the way it treats its animals. When it is all over, and we have wiped out every threatened species, I hope we will feel it was all worthwhile and live like kings for millennia. I have donated money because I felt so helpless and had to do something, but what about these big companies who are destroying all these habitats for ridiculous sums of money, and why is every government in the world so silent? We are not militant enough, and the end is nigh. I never donate to world aid charities because I don’t see them to be important enough and their priorities are wrong. Does that make me cold hearted? Maybe to some people, but personally I think that with a population of 6.8 billion already (and predicted to reach 9 billion in only a few decades), there are other charities out there with much more urgent needs.

It should be obvious that the benefits of protection are more sustainable long term than total destruction; once its you cannot re-grow a whole eco system overnight. Why do they not protect their own country? It is such a shame, a downright tragedy that deforestation will not only threaten their existence and that of others, not to mention that the area will lose a lot of stable, long term commercial success through medicines, eco tourism, and sustainable produce. It is so short sighted to allow this destruction and the governments should clamp down hard on poachers/illegal loggers – take their homes away, or banish their over inflated families to the mainland or a place very far away.

Where orang-utans are concerned it will be one more significant and high profile extinction amongst many we are responsible for, whales came so close, - we are never happy with killing own species so we need to make things as hard as possible for every other. Unless we really all pull together it will not only be those poor little apes of the forest which disappear, due to overpopulation and out of control breeding, as a result of over consumption of so many resources in such little time.

Put simply, we face catastrophe. In order for deforestation to lessen worldwide, and for people to realise what they are doing, we must educate those who put so many in danger and don’t realise the implications of an unsustainable population boom, because they need food and money to live. Traditionally t is always the poorest people who are exploited and forced to cut down tress for the mindless consumerist wants of the richest, and it always the poorest people who have the most number of children due to unavailable family planning or education.

We seem to have this complete obsession with absolute freedom at all costs, the right to do anything we please during our mundane day to day grind. We need to fill that empty void with a drive to better ourselves rather than filling it with over consumption.

I am no child hater, quite the opposite I have a gorgeous nephew and niece, but surely having less children per couple would mean as well that each potential child would in effect have a better quality of life, being able to have a larger proportion of what is available? And surely living within your means and being less dependant on materialistic endeavour would be more fulfilling in terms of making the most of living your life? I don’t know, maybe you do need a certain mindset or wiring of the brain to appreciate the real depths of what this little, yet extraordinary world is all about, spiritually and physically. I fear for the future generations, yes produce as many as you wish, but that will only mean there will be more souls to potentially endure this future scorched earth.

The more I see of humankind, the more I am in love with my pet spider called Sammy.

1 comment:

Wild Animal said...


You've written a lot which deserves detailed consideration but I don't intend to try and do that here and now.

On the whole, I agree with (almost)everything you've said though and I'd love the chance to discuss some of the other things with you sometime.

For now, I'd just like to offer the following couple of points:

[Quote]Humanity effectively has three future paths to follow: 1) Globally each and every one of us change our attitudes and show more moral restraint in our lives, 2) The state(s) or some other kind of enforcement will have to become ruthless at tremendous human cost or 3) Mother nature will eventually fight back, via Darwinian means. [Quote]

Realistically, I think option 3 is the only likely possibility and cannot happen soon enough for me. To quote Russell Means

[Quote]All European tradition, Marxism included, has conspired to defy the natural order of things. Mother Earth has been abused, the powers have been abused, and this cannot go on forever. No theory can alter that simple fact. Mother Earth will retaliate, the whole environment will retaliate, and the abusers will be eliminated. Things will come full circle, back to where they started. That’s revolution. And that’s a prophecy of my people, of the Hopi people and of other correct peoples.[Quote]

Point 2
[Quote]They say that people with Asperger’s and Autism are more drawn towards animals and also the physical world more than other people, but I don’t think that matters here. Logical, rational thought on a deep level, combined with compassion is something anyone could potentially practice[Quote]

I'm currently reading several books and I read something that I wanted to quote here, but i can't remember where I read it! (I also sometimes read books backwards which doesn't help!) but essentially it suggested that the reason the human race has managed to be so 'successful' is due to the scientific and technological advances that have been made. And that such advances are arguably due to people with AS traits making the breakthrough insights that come from focused concentration and specialisation. In short, without AS qualities, we wouldn't have fire or the wheel!

I need to think on this somemore but it's sobering to think that without AS people e might still be living in an unspoilt world...