Thursday, February 26, 2009

For the love of god, save the whales!

Okay, so remember when I bored you all with my new obsession with nature, and you all tried not to yawn too conspicuously (some of you unsuccessfully)? Well, here's more!

Planet Earth raises some interesting questions, like what exactly is "wildlife" anyway? Is wildlife just life that we humans haven't managed to destroy? Yet? Destroy yet? And why are we automatically discounted from it? Granted, we're not exactly wild, no matter what we hope our sports cars and permed hair say. We're pretty fucking domesticated. But we are animals, not necessarily any more or less important than camels or sting rays or krill. I recently read an interesting book called The Well-Dressed Ape that reminded me just that: we're all just animals, lowly wonderful animals, living and trying to make the best of what we have. Humans just so happen to have a lot. We live in the suburbs and have hair straighteners and make sock puppets. But we seem to think that our ability to film nature documentaries makes us something better.

So my colleagues and I have spent several of our most recent shifts absorbing this BBC goodness. But then we ran out, and had to make do with that Keanu atrocity, The Day The Earth Stood Still. The basic premise: aliens come to save the earth. Not to save humanity, mind you, but to save this mad-awesome planet that has amazing skillz, such as the ability to sustain complex life. The aliens have rightly surmised that it's not worth losing the earth for one lousy species, and really, that's all we are - just one species among many. And pretty arrogant too. When we've raped the land enough to threaten the existence of an animal, we then deign to make a last-ditch effort to try to save it from extinction. And now here we are. We've made ourselves into an endangered species: if we kill our planet, we kill ourselves. Every other species gone to extinction at least had the grace not to do it to themselves. They can blame us, mostly, or predators, or a bleak environment. We're the only ones to do it to ourselves. So maybe it is time for someone else to step in. I mean, what have we done lately?

Recycle? Fuck that. Recycling barely keeps pace with the useless new packaging we're always encasing things in. Our need to wrap water in plastic means that one day an archaeologist will unearth our decayed bones from under mountains of Evian bottles and think What strange creatures. At least the dinosaurs could blame a comet.

Save the whales? Save the lowland gorillas? Who are we saving when we can't or won't even save ourselves? Right now, hundreds of human babies are dying of the most retarded shit - hunger, preventable disease, lack of clean water. And here we are putting loonies into tin cans to save the noble rhinoceros. Meanwhile, our answer to "saving" endangered species is to yank them out of the wild, which we've pillaged beyond recognition anyway, and lock them up in a zoo so we can watch extinction up close and in person, and charge $48 a head for it, and pave over more paradise for it, and continue to fuck things up.

And when the last few of their kind are locked up and unable to breed in captivity (no one ever thinks of this before capturing them), our next instinct is "Hey, no problem. We'll just clone them. If we can't have snow leopards, we can at least have copies of snow leopards. That's good enough, right?" Well, you might want to ask the snow leopards. Or tell the curator not to worry that the Mona Lisa just burned to a crisp, because you made a photocopy, yo. Have we not learned that invasive human intervention is the problem, not the solution. How much more ridiculous can we get?

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