In the early days of the pandemic, stories of animals roaming free and reclaiming the land made people think that nature was rebounding. But the rise in hunting and poaching caused by financial pressure has put species at risk. It’s not just ‘popular’ animals like lions, rhinos, elephants, giraffes or apes; the suffering extends to many others, from bears (black and brown) to birds to all kinds of creatures in-between.
Burning down the house
The same way we exploit animals also extends to exploiting plants, from the smallest (and surprisingly important) fungi to the largest (and also important) trees. And the same way we exploit the land through plundering and profiteering also extends to the sea. Indeed, humanity seems to be so concerned about reaping the ocean’s riches, sometimes illegally, that we don’t care about the short-term consequences or the long-term costs.
Our tendency to pollute our waters and our land even extends to outer space. But the bigger concern is here on Earth, where fossil fuel emissions are making people sick and making the planet hot. It’s not just about melting ice caps affecting specific spots; as should be apparent from the latest wave of powerful storms and extreme heat, natural disasters will become more common, leading to the greatest migration the world has ever seen as people seek safe places to live.
Home sweet home
While governments are focused on how to protect the planet from future pandemics, climate change is a far more catastrophic and existential risk. That’s why we urgently need to transition away from fossil fuels and embrace green energy like solar and wind. More than that, we all have to play our part, whether it’s by running sustainable businesses that use innovative technology, becoming climate activists, or just changing what we eat (because methane).
Ultimately, if we don’t want to be a forgotten species, we have to replace fear with hope, no matter how dire things seem. It’s much like Michel de Montaigne writes in Essays (also available on Audible):
There are so many bad spots that for the greatest safety we must glide over this world a little lightly on the surface. We must slide over it, not plunge into it.
This is our last chance.
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