An emailed apology and suggestions for the reversal of the damage we are causing to Earth
|From: Concerned [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] |
Sent: Monday, August 28, 2017 10:46 PM
To: Mother Nature [Mother@nature.com]
Subject: The Explosion of Humankind
Dear Mother Nature
Most of my emails or letters begin with a polite query about the recipient’s health and general wellbeing. Sadly, I do not feel I can ask you how you are, because it is common knowledge that you are not well. I believe most of us know that you are suffering, but I do not wish to be included in a group of individuals who are responsible for your current physical and mental condition. Writing “I hope this letter finds you well” is facetious and pretentious, because we are all aware of your current condition.
Many of the members of my species are extremely concerned. We know you are not well, and we hate to see you suffering in this way. What is even more disturbing is that we know we are responsible for what has caused your pain. No other species on this planet has done more damage than our own. What a terrible and shameful legacy to leave for future generations.
There is a Native American saying: “We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children”. The fact that we are supposedly the custodians of the planet makes our neglect even more appalling. We have been irresponsible, inconsiderate and disrespectful of our world. So much has been destroyed and damaged, especially during my lifetime. Species have become extinct, forests are vanishing and pollution and waste is poisoning our planet.
We only have ourselves to blame.
In 1950 there were just over 2,5 billion people living on Earth. As I write this message, the world population clock reads 7,528 billion. A fifty percent increase in 57 years. It is unsustainable. We use up more natural resources than any other species living on Earth, and we return less to the environment than any other species.
Because I am an African, I going to use my continent as a reference to point out what our species has done to you and Earth. The examples I give are not unique to Africa; the whole world bears a collective responsibility for the damage we have caused.
When Africa was first colonized a couple of hundred years ago over a million elephants roamed the continent. Today, around 400,000 remain. Some countries claim they have too many elephants, and want them sold or culled. The size of Africa has not changed; the number of people living on the continent is rapidly multiplying, leaving less space for animals. We are watching the disappearance of some of the last of our most iconic species. The rhinoceros, lions, cheetah, leopard and giraffe immediately spring to mind. Almost fifty percent of Africa’s lion population has vanished over the last fourteen years. The elephant is under threat, and it is said elephants will be extinct within eight years because of hunting, poaching and human encroachment on the lands they once called home.
We cut down our forests to make room for ourselves, our crops and farmed animals. Should an elephant break down the fences we erect to protect the crops we insist it be destroyed. The same fate awaits a lion that kills one of our goats, sheep or cattle. Recently, a police officer in Zimbabwe was killed by one of two elephants that had been provoked, stoned and teased by local people. Both elephants were deemed “problem animals”, and were euthanised. In Zimbabwe, a human being that deliberately kills another human being may be sentenced to ten years in jail.
As our population has increased so has our sense of entitlement. Why is a human life so much more important than an animal’s life?
The increased population means increased pollution. In February, a whale swimming near the Norwegian Island of Sotra was euthanized after authorities realized the animal was dying a slow and painful death. The autopsy on its carcass revealed its stomach and intestines were clogged with plastic. Instead of food, its stomach contained thirty plastic bags. It had starved to death, ingesting plastic waste used and discarded by our species.
It is said by 2050 there will be more plastic that natural life in our seas. The debris from our species’ lifestyle is filling the environment and does not compost or enrich the world the same way as natural products. Plastic and other man made materials release toxins and poisons that adversely affects our Earth, as well as ourselves.
Our creation of plastic has created a vicious cycle. The guilt is hard to bear. There are many of us desperately worried about our world. We want to change what is happening. I recently read a paper, discussing what we can do to lessen the pain and damage we are inflicting on our world. Mother Nature, I would be grateful if you would offer a comment on the following suggestions:
Do not buy products made from endangered species. Fur coats, bones, tortoise and turtle shell, coral and ivory – each item containing these products has been obtained from an animal, usually under incredibly cruel circumstances. The same applies to palm oil (destruction of habitat) and baobab tree products. Terrorists groups that wage war on our planet have been implicated in the trade of ivory.
Do not go to a circus using animals for entertainment. Not one of those animals joined the circus of its own free accord; most have been sent there after suffering a terrible atrocity. Each animal has endured long periods of terrible mistreatment in order to “train” them to perform.
Do not buy an animal from an exotic pet store. Most have been trapped, and inhumanely removed from their natural environment. Eighty percent of parrots destined for the exotic pet trade die after been stuffed in cages or plastic bottles during transportation.
Do not go to “sanctuaries” offering animal interactions. The lion cub that interacts with humans, the lions that “walk” with humans cannot be returned to the wild. When they become adults, they are sent to game farms and placed in cages to be shot by “hunters”.
Do not go to places offering elephant rides and elephant interactions. Those elephants were stolen from their mothers and subjected to horrific mental and physical abuse in order for them to make money for their “owners”.
Do not use plastic. Every year we use up to one billion plastic bags globally. The bags find their way into landfills, forests, rivers and oceans where they choke and starve wildlife.
A few other practices we feel can make a difference:
Recycling: the best way to realise how much waste can be reduced when products like glass bottles and plastic containers are reused.
Save water: turn off the tap while brushing one’s teeth or shampooing hair, or installing a water tank to collect and store rainwater for gardening.
Save electricity: go solar, turn down the thermostat on electric geysers and do not boil the kettle for one cup of tea or coffee.
I know each of these suggestions is small and may not make an immediate difference to the strain we have placed on our planet. However, if each of us tries to follow a few of the suggestion I do feel it will have a positive effect. Your feedback would be appreciated.
Scientists tell us we are now entering the sixth mass extinction: the death of a huge number of species over a relatively short period. Former mass extinctions over the last 500 million years have been caused by geological factors or climatic events, such as the asteroid strike that wiped out dinosaurs. Naturally, there are no records of what happened to cause such catastrophic changes to Earth, but there is one constant: nature lived through and survived each mass extinction.
It is believed than this is the fastest mass extinction the planet has undergone. In the past century, two hundred species have vanished from our world, a massive acceleration from previous extinction phases where the loss of two hundred species would have taken ten thousand years. This mass extinction also differs from the others, because it is the only one caused by a species.
Finally, I would like to thank you from taking time out from you busy schedule to read my email. After presenting my facts above, I have one question for you, Mother Nature:
Will the sixth extinction end with the extermination of man?
I look forward to hearing from you.
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