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The World’s Most Endangered Species April 16, 2020

Posted by voolavex in Social Issues.
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I think it started out innocently enough – maybe not globally, but where a ‘wet market’ is an okay cultural thing to do.  (Called ‘jinbo’ ; in some parts of China it is a tradition that is said to insure good health).  Eating a live bat or mouse is not for everyone, but I have seen actual photos of young women doing it, so it is done and obviously with gusto.   Quite frankly, I find bats kinda’ cute but I am also well aware of what they harbor and what they can spread.  Covid-19 is likely just another in a long list of pathogens they carry.  This known fact, about bats, however, would keep  me away from fooling around with them.  I have eaten live creatures – on the half-shell, but I no longer eat those due to the possibility of flukes.  Doctor’s orders.  Sigh.  Yes, I miss them, but I also digress.

The novel coronavirus – now called COVID-19 is a doozy.  A killer, unbigoted, and brainless virus that has no shame, sense or consideration for the humans (and possibly some animals) on Earth.  And  is a potent reminder that this is our only planet.  Despite our fantasies and realities, this is IT.  And never has total devastation been excluded from our fate.  When apes stood up and walked we brought forth a brand new chapter in the long history of this globe.  And I daresay, not a very benevolent one.  I suspect cavemen did bash other cavemen over the heads and that cave wives were dragged by the hair.   And I am not entirely sure how we happened to stand up and start to ‘evolve’ into humankind.  We have nothing to go. by.  Nothing that explains it and nothing to follow.  So I imagine that any belief is okay.  And I think it is possible that there is no reason and that it was an anomaly of the Cosmos.     The fact is that when we looked up at the cosmos, we invented what we saw to suit the moment we saw it.

I don’t think  this was exactly unexpected.  Or at least the possibility of it happening ; some time in the future was usually how it was qualified and discussed – but it didn’t come with a time frame and so we humans just kept on doing what we have always done.  I think in legal terms it is called ‘reckless endangerment’ and we have come to the point where we do it without a second thought. And at this point it has been weaponized, monetized and deadly, daily.
When I was a girl I learned that a bird had gone extinct.  My frame of reference for extinction was the dinosaur. The idea of a bird – in recent history disappearing, was not only terrible, but unique.  And its name, The Dodo, gave it a hint of stupidity; this ‘dodo’ bird stopped existing.  How dumb.  And we laughed when it was mentioned. We did not have in mid-century an endangered species list (we made up for lost time on that one) and then we did.  Creatures great and small were disappearing.  They did not commit suicide either or kill each other.  Humans had stolen their habitats and hunted them for sport and their numbers started to drop.  And to drop very fast.  We had exploited the planet for everything it had and we kept looking for more to loot. Stealing irreplaceable creatures and resources.  Climates started to change – but ‘not really’ we said, it was just a Chicken Little scenario that had very little basis in fact.  Except it was fact – aerial views of the planet provided illustrations of what we we doing.  Mainly for profit. And indeed the rich got richer and the poor got poorer  – just the way it had always been.  Just the way we did things.

As a species we snatched and grabbed everything and anything we could.  Using terms like ‘traditional customs, cultural/religious beliefs and  scared practices, we kept on shooting and maiming and raping and burning and dumping more and more and more.

Fascinating, rich people decided we could terraform ‘local’ worlds and settle them if the heat got too high on Earth.  Or the cold got too cold.  The shores might disappear and ice might melt, but by that time we would be colonizing airless planets and starting over.  To do more of the same. After all we had just entered a new century where nothing was impossible.  Artificial Intelligence (using whose as a template?), our new best friend the algorithm, text messaging, face time and driverless cars.  Yowsa.  Instant alerts on just how this brave new world would operate for the best future of mankind.  To never have to open a door, turn on a television, tell the time or entertain a single independent idea because we had Alexa and Siri and we had it made.  So we could be our authentic and best selves.  And since we would own this future, we had no need to worry.

And who are we now; the clever inventors and techies, the code writers, the extremely forward-thinking humans reliant on manufactured assistants to do their bidding?  The thieves of childhood and imagination and thinking outside the box? Wearing masks and gloves and staying alone inside.  Daring each other to go to the shops, risking our lives to go mail a letter And in some cases listening to the insane ravings of a leader who has no right to lead, but won’t go away.  Accompanied by the hiss and whoosh of ventilators, all over the planet saving us for more death and destruction?  I wonder.

Will any of this change the future of those brave, mighty hunters shooting innocent creatures to stuff for their walls.  And children who have stopped running and jumping rope and laughing because they have avatars to kill on the couch.  And who might still get sick and die if they went out unprotected. Viruses have strange lifespans.

Smug, self-important humans.  Believers, fantasists, power mad dictators, humanitarians, deniers, bigots, oppressors, saviors.  Writers and lawyers and doctors and folks who won’t think of others and won’t wear a mask.  This is exactly who we are.  And many of us sensed this coming, just not now.  and Surely not the day those lovely young women and their human chums went to the wet market and ate a live bat.  Do you need an introduction?  We are humanity, the most endangered species on Earth.

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