ADVICE FROM A SEA LION Soak up some sun Keep your whiskers clean Let troubles roll off your back Don’t flip out Spend time at the beach Have a playful spirit Make a splash!
It is a negligence of the mind not to notice how at dusk heron comes to the pond and stands there in his death robes, perfect servant of the system, hungry, his eyes full of attention, his wings pure light… – Mary Oliver
“There’s Rosemary for you, that’s for remembrance! Pray you, love, remember.” (Ophelia, Hamlet) – William Shakespeare
I can’t help wondering how many more years we will be able to view sea lions and great blue herons in places where humans predominate. We’re in the midst of a mass-extinction event called the Holocene or Anthropocene extinction. If the current rate of human disruption of the biosphere continues, one-half of Earth’s higher lifeforms will be extinct by 2100. Seventy percent of biologists polled in 1998 acknowledged this event. It is happening, humans are causing it, and it is ongoing. What is being done to educate the human community and dismantle the anthropocentrism, the human supremacy, that drives behaviors that contribute to the destruction of our planet? Oceans, grasslands, mountaintops, and a host of unique habitats have been plundered and colonized to suit the human appetite for consumption.
Environmentalists are in despair. You can read a million articles and books on the subject. In the last one I read, Eileen Crist says, “In the twenty-first century there will be a reckoning with how we’ve lived, what we’ve done to the planet and ourselves, and that reckoning will set in motion an awakening: a different way to go about things.” Rather than just feeling BLUE about being GREEN, I hope to inspire the humans I know humbly to consider their place in the Tree of Life. Back in the 1940s, Aldo Leopold said we should change the role of homo sapiens “from conqueror of the land-community to plain member and citizen of it.” That attitude, combined with our ability to solve problems, may finally lead us to restrict the damage that we inflict and bring our species back in balance and scale with the rest of the biotic community.
My thanks to Tina Schell, our host this week for the Photo Challenge. Visit her blog to see gorgeous photos of one of the United States’ unique habitats, Kiawah Island.