I just watched the BBC documentary, presented by Sir David Attenborough, about the threat of extinction to so much of our wildlife (trailer below). I was so saddened at the reports about the way pangolins are treated, even though their scales are made of the same substance as our fingernails.
One of the points that was interesting to me was when it mentioned that even more of a problem than increasing population (I think the guy remarked that in his lifetime, the global population has grown from 3 billion in 1960’s and now he is expecting it to be 9 billion within his life) is consumption.
They explained that it is not the countries with large populations (India and China etc) who are consuming the most. First of all they said that on average a person in the UK consumes four times as much as a person in India. The UK is definitely in the bad books. But then they added, on average a person in the USA consumes seven times as much as a person in India. America – that really puts you in the bad books. It is people in western lands who are driving this monstrous appetite for more, more, more.
The demand for food of all conceivable flavours and varieties, the demand for all sorts of commodities and “stuff”…it is placing an overwhelming burden on our planet and destroying our wildlife and it’s habitats. The demand for beef means that wildlife habitat is destroyed to accommodate vast numbers of cattle. Currently, the population of our planet is roughly 60% domestic and farmed animals, 36% humans and only 4% wildlife. We have changed the balance of population on the planet, mostly due to the appetite for meat. The demand for fish is having a detrimental effect on oceans. The demand for a perfect shaped pumpkin or other vegetables means colossal amounts of waste as veggies that don’t look the way consumers want them are rejected and left to rot.
I think one of the saddest things in the documentary was the two white rhinos left on this planet. They are a mother and daughter. I cried thinking about what that meant. A species hunted for their horns – people wanting them often for medicinal purposes. Many creatures are hunted as trophies or in the name of fashion.
But the main point made was that this year has put something of a pause on the crazy consumer driven economic world. It is a golden opportunity to change so many of our habits in order to help our wonderful planet recover. It has a remarkable ability to recover, but it needs our help.
The spotlight was pointed on the political governments to make changes. But we already know that political governments will have their “to-do” list and for some reason, the care of our home planet does not seem high up that list. To me, it’s more evidence showing humans were not designed to rule themselves.