Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Who's Protecting Mother Nature?

Credit: Elk by U.S. Fish & Wildlife
Animals can’t balance a checkbook or post on Facebook, but when it comes to health and survival, many animals are invariably smarter than humans.  Unless trapped in a cage, you will likely never see an animal take a dump in the same place it intends to eat and live, yet humans do it every day and in countless ways.  Animals insist that all those in the pack abide by all the social rules that affect the social order.  Those that don’t abide are driven out, which usually means death, or they just have their throats torn out resolving the problem immediately.  Humans fool themselves into believing that they are more humane, more evolved, more sophisticated, and spend billions of dollars to house, feed, and care for those who will never be part of nor contribute to overall social welfare in any way.  Animals, and even insects, understand that everyone must personally contribute, but humans assume that there is always someone else to look after their needs and responsibilities.  Animals and humans are alike, however, in that they get what they deserve.  The difference is that animals understand this, while humans don’t.  Humans, like turkeys looking up to find the source of the rain, witlessly stare at the heavens, confounded by the cause of their own suffering.
Animals work and strive to create the world they want and need to survive.  They understand the need for shelter and habitat, food supply, and the continuation of their species.  You will never see them work against these goals, because, again, when it comes to survival, animals on the whole are smarter than humans.  The leading reason why this is so is because animals are not subject to self-delusion.  Humans are not guided by much beyond self-delusion, and there but for our curiosity, I would suggest, is the next single, greatest distinction between animals and humans, our apparent limitless capacity for self-delusion.  In comparison to animals, we are less faithful, less honest, less dependable, less rational, less objective, less cooperative, less supportive, and a long list of other ‘less-es.’  We have no doubt that we are more intelligent, more perceptive, and more diverse than animals.  We are taught that we are created in God’s likeness, but in total honesty, too many secretly strive to mold God in their own image. 
Let us take more concrete subjects that are dear to most of our hearts as paddlers---nature, wildlife, waterways, natural resources like beauty, peaceful solitude, clean air and water rather than resources like copper, coal, oil and gas and whatever else can be turned into money.  So, it would seem totally alien, totally against our interests, to vote against our desire to protect and preserve these priceless treasures, and yet we did.  We put into offices of power the largest collection of people ever in American history to create our new kakistocracy.  These are people who only think in terms of what can be dug up or torn down for money, and who think only in knee-jerk terms of today with no ability to conceive how today’s actions will impact the long-term future.  We had the power to prevent this, but sat on our duffs and ignored the chance to avert the disaster we now face.  Almost 100 million eligible voters did not vote in this last election.  According to the Environmental Voter Project, if “did not vote” was the name of a candidate, he would have won by a landslide with 490 electoral votes.  Even among those of us that consider ourselves environmentalists, over 10 million of those that think in environmental terms did not vote.  This proves we are not as smart as animals.  If we had simply performed the easiest and most rudimentary task of walking to a voting booth and flipping a lever, we could have protected our public lands and parks, forests, streams, rivers, and oceans, wildlife, the health and safety of our planet, and the lives of our children and generations to come.  This is not about politics, party, bigotry, emails, pussy grabbing, loss of decency or many other things that were used as a smoke screen to hide what was important.  We willfully and wantonly caused issues to turn against our own best interests.  If we really think of ourselves as being further along the evolutionary continuum than the simplest animals, we need to prove that by being more discerning and less easily manipulated, and to use the power given to us as citizens.  We need to shake ourselves out of our sense of comfort and superiority as to be above such matters.  Since any political party can begin to look more to its own greed and power over the need of its citizens and society at large, we need to demand better candidates and proposals.  Instead of political platforms that are made of lofty promises, we should demand proposals that contain actual detailed plans for action.  We need to look at news not as reality TV, but information upon which to make wise decisions.  As Dorothy Thomas would warn both the citizen and the journalist, “There is nothing to fear except the persistent refusal to find out the truth.”  We, therefore, need to demand the end of fake news regardless of source.  We need to protect what is important and ignore the crap thrown in our paths as diversions.  Instead of all this, while we had the power to protect our most important treasures, we squandered it all.  Since, instead of seeking wisdom and truth, we have insisted upon being voluntarily stupid and led about by our need for incessant titillation.  No matter how bad things get, we have proven that we deserve the worst, and are likely going to be getting it.

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