Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Heartbreak in the making

I try to avoid off-the-cuff environmental commentary because I've become overly self-conscious about the stereotypes that can invoke (e.g., the bleeding heart liberal with a swan song about everything). Still, I am grieving tonight and don't feel like making apologies for wanting to express it.

As a vote on ANWR approaches, my heart feels like breaking. Even though the public opposes it by a vast margin, even though the administration itself admits that ANWR doesn't contain enough oil to do anything for our shortage, even though the USGS estimates it will take 7 - 10 years for us to see a drop of oil, still the government persists with its agenda. For the sake of making a political statement and holding up a faltering way of life, we are about to alter a wild place irreparably. Once we go in, there's no going back - something you think we would have learned by now after all of our Exxons and Superfunds and Amazon burnings.

But we don't learn anything; never have, never will. I wouldn't mind if it only affected people - if we serve as the implements of our own destruction, then we reap what we sow. However, we are determined to take every living thing down with us, to eradicate much of the life that has coursed over this planet for thousands of years, and which would continue to do so for generations more if not for our fatal intervention. We operate on ignorance: I don't want to know about the endangered species! Other animals would probably like to remain ignorant of us, but they don't have that choice.

Here's an interesting tidbit: in about 10 years, leatherback sea turtles could go extinct because they keep ingesting plastic bags that are clogging the oceans, and because we've turned their beaches into waterfront resorts. They've been around longer than most animals on this planet, and certainly longer than our miserable little species. We are wiping out something with almost perfect evolution, something which has been able to withstand more change than we can even imagine. We are destroying a piece of our global heritage -- and no one gives a fuck! They're just turtles, right? If they can't keep up, then they might as well drop out of the race. Ohh, how I wish that the tables would turn.

What upsets me the most is that my grief and despair don't seem to echo with most people. I can't even share my pain because I don't think the powers that be understand or care. No one in power cares about anything other than our own rapidfire progression towards fame and fortune, and few politicians are willing to forsake a dollar today for a national refuge in the future.

You know what I would like to see? I hope that if and when there's a judgement day, the other animals get to determine our fate. I want us to have to stand before the species we've eradicated and try to explain why our needs superceded their very existence. Let them look into our eyes and see what's there, if anything is.

1 comment:

Adolph Elton said...

What it could be useful for?