Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Disregard of environment is immoral

Recent news that sage grouse would not be listed under the Endangered Species Act, while celebrated by industry, was for some of us a moment of great sadness. Not because it was unexpected; it wasn't. But because it confirms again that nothing really matters to us but human comfort and material prosperity. We continue to believe that only humans are necessary and important.

Sage grouse are a sagebrush-dependent species, which for us laypersons can be understood simply as a species whose health directly mirrors the health of the habitat it occupies. If sage grouse are becoming extinct, the habitat is also so fragmented and degraded it can no longer support them. There were once hundreds of millions of sage grouse, along with vast numbers of bison, bears, mountain sheep, elk, deer, wolves, lions and billions of smaller animals, birds and fish occupying the sage-steppe ecosystem. We have ruthlessly and in many cases systematically exterminated them and their habitat for our own benefit and continue to do so to this day.

Every species, not just human beings, needs a place to live—a home that is safe that provides food, shelter, water and a place to safely raise children. Our belief that we have the right to dominate every inch of the earth's surface for our use, whatever its effect might be on the rest of creation, is wrong, ultimately self-destructive and immoral. It demonstrates a profound ignorance of the reality of ecological interdependence as described by science and a callous disregard for the sacred nature of life itself. We are not exempt from the laws of nature. Everything, every creature, down to the smallest microbe, matters.

We must, I know, manipulate our environment to survive. But our pathological disregard for the rest of the living world displayed by this action and countless others will in the end lead only to our own debasement.

Kelley Weston


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