31 August 2009

brown, basted and ready to be carved...

Today I submitted my thesis. I should be feeling elated, with a sense of achievement. Instead I just feel exhausted and worried. All of the literature that I read is still spinning circles in my head and I'm left wondering how many animals are in the same situation as the tuna, how many others have lost the fight like the Yangtze River Dolphin declared extinct in 2006. I keep fast-forwarding three years and speculating whether the same announcement awaits the Bluefin Tuna or the Mountain Gorilla or the Amur Leopard or the Orangutan or countless other species that live their lives on a balance.

Biodiversity loss is one of the most alarming consequence of human activities on the planet. The influence of global warming is only accelerating this. The Polar Bear which was added IUCN Red List was the first animal to be included due to direct man-made activity. The species that we aware of and have catalogued only contains a small portion of the wealth on this Earth, there are many many types of plants, animals, birds, trees, insects out there waiting to be discovered - like the renowned naturalist E.O. Wilson said "we are destroying the library even before it has been catalogued". But what we don't know won't hurt us, right? wrong!

Through the loss of species both known and unknown we are not only losing an evolutionary link, we are also losing a potential use of and for that organism. Every organism supports the fabric of life in some unique way, therefore when we lose an animal or plant, we also lose a service. It can be medicinal purposes; the service of acting as a decomposer, a pollinator, a scavenger, a top-predator etc.

Preservation of biodiversity is one of the most important aspects of environmentalism. Respecting the boundaries of the natural world is no longer just an ideology, it is an issue of morality. Our needs-based consumption patterns must be curbed and we must remember that "we do not inherit the Earth from our parents, we borrow it from our children". It does not speak well of us as a 'civilized' generation to stand idly by and condone the destruction of species for short-term economic gain. Apathy in this case may as well be akin to participation. This epoch of death will be judged harshly unless we gather forces now to persevere and preserve.

The human race is at the crux of our History, a point that is testing our mettle and our maturity. If there was ever a more louder call for action, it is now. The choice between the Kingdom of Heaven and total annihilation is out there for our taking.

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