Open letter to Geof Barrington:
What is nature?
Is it as the Romantics thought, a facilitation of the sublime?
Or is it simply the treasury we feel entitled to raid over and over again? Or are we nature, doing what years of evolution has hardwired into us?
There is no simple answer.
We have viewed ourselves as outside of nature for generations. We have built our houses and our cities, ensconcing ourselves away from the very nature which initially fostered our species. We have gotten into the habit of only looking at nature to see what we can physically get out of it. We’ve pushed species over the brink of extinction without batting an eye.
I think we’re due for a change of heart. Nature is not something one needs to conquer. Nature needs to be embraced.
After years of rapping Mother Nature on the back of the skull with our knuckles, like impudent school children tormenting their grandmother, it’s time to grow up.
We are part of nature. We are a species of animal. We are as much a part of the web of life as the blades of grass on the savannah. We are all connected and, for better or worse, humans have put themselves into a position of power over nature. Our actions impact everything around us.
The emissions from cars and factories and mass corporate farming effect nature as far away as Baffin Island. Entire islands are being ravaged by global warming. The sheets of ice that prevented soil erosion are melting by as much as several feet a year. This means that new tracts of land are now being exposed to the harsh pounding of the Arctic Sea, and slowly being submerged and torn apart.
What impact will that have on the people who have traditionally used those areas as hunting grounds?
What impact will that have on the animals who lived on the island?
What impact will all the added soil have on the sea?
Nature encompasses everything on the planet. If your neighbour was throwing his/her garbage into your backyard, I can only assume that you would not appreciate it. Are we being good neighbours to our cohabitants? Or are we throwing our garbage all over their living area?
I think we’ve been completely ignorant to the scale of the impact we’ve been having until recently. We can no longer justify our view of being outside of nature. We are nature. Why are we so hellbent on destroying the thing that sustains us? For avarice? For status? For pomp and show?
What good is a mansion and nice cars when our food supply is poisoned by our own emissions and carelessness? The rich will die alongside the poor when the natural disaster we’ve been goading finally happens.
Serious changes need to take place.
Beginning with how we perceive nature.
We cannot afford to see nature as something separate from humans and our world.
We are based in nature. It deserves more respect than we give it.
Is it really difficult to phase out cruelty to animals? Is it hard to institute harsher punishments for defiling nature? What is the motivation to not do this?
Do people somehow think that by accepting kickbacks and turning blind eyes to someone ripping a hole through habitation that it isn’t happening?
The rainforest is burning as we speak, and they just discovered new plants and mammals, which may hold the key to some cures we’ve been searching for. Well, clearly we need money more than we need cures, right? Dying is totally worth a paycheque.
We should totally open up the Peel Watershed to development because who needs those pesky, life-sustaining and utterly indispensable watersheds anyways? They only filter and distribute water to surrounding areas, making ecosystems and life itself possible. That is stupid and interferes with my right to make money, right Barrington.
Pardon me, but common sense called and she said that’s idiocy.
And so is refusing to stand up for the planet which we’ve been raping for years.
Poaching animals extinct is not acceptable.
Poisoning the food chain because it’s cheaper to bury toxic waste and feed animals ground up bits of other animals is not acceptable.
Allowing massive deforestation is not acceptable when we already have a carbon monoxide problem.
Selling cars that are behind the current scientific standard because it’s cheaper is not acceptable.
Do people still really not see how much that affects not only animals and plants and the ground, but us as well?
All the problems we have now are problems that we have brought on ourselves. Instead of ignoring the problems, let’s face them and overcome them together.
Yes, we created the greenhouse effect. The amount of pollution caused by the entire human population prior to the Industrial Revolution does not come close to what we have achieved in the last 20 years. It is time we applied our knowledge to making things better for everything as a whole, instead of human beings wealthy enough to purchase our products.
So let’s do something to reverse it. Let’s sell products that help instead of hinder those efforts.
Let’s institute laws that make poaching and cruelty to animals serious offences. Worth a life sentence. Not only is it a death sentence for the animals they hunt and torture, but it’s a death sentence for nature. You cannot knock out a link in the food chain without it affecting everything. If there were no tigers in India, the deer they hunt would become overrun and the entire ecosystem would become vastly unbalanced.
We can see similar effects in Canada. The wolf was hunted almost to extinction, and now the deer populations in Ontario and Quebec are out of control, eating entire fields of crops in some remote areas.
That’s one less field of crops for humans.
We are connected. Everything is everything.
It’s time to stop approaching this issue as something that is unrealistic, because the longer we take that view, the more trouble we are going to be in. Not only as a species, but as a planet.
Animals in Africa are not causing massive impacts on the web of life. They are living as they always have. It is us who have deviated from the path of working in tandem with nature, and it is up to us to find our way back.
We are nature, and as of right now, we are sick. Ignoring sickness never makes it better. Let’s take the doctor’s advice and make some lifestyle changes.
Jessica Leigh Pumphrey