Lately, I have been pondering the relationship that humans (as a whole) have with the Earth. I find the subject very interesting, mainly because it seems that there is such a broad spectrum of opinion on the issue. Some people don’t think about the life around them at all, how they are part of a massive ecosystem, how their actions effect the world around them. Others devote themselves to fighting this mindset and actions by any means possible. Some humans destroy rain forests for profit, while others chain themselves to trees to prevent their destruction. And then you have everyone else who falls somewhere in between on the spectrum.
The single most important thing that both sides need to realize is that humans ARE animals. We evolved to our position today through a relationship with all the other animals and organisms on this planet. We are not better than any other animal, we are simply different in certain ways. This does not give us the right to disrespect or destroy another species. It also doesn’t mean we have to elevate the animal kingdom above human kind. You don’t see any animal, other than humans, exterminating another species or harming itself to protect the Earth or another species. Humans, as a whole, have far more power than any other animal. This means we have a greater responsibility. We can’t just do what we want and not care. We have to respect the life around us.
But what is respect? Is respect not eating meat? Is it never taking another animal life? There is a danger of going too far with respect and not respecting one’s self or one’s species. If you take a cue from the animals that live around us, respect is doing what evolution designed us to do. We are omnivores, have been for quite some time. We no longer hunt (at least not how we once did), but our bodies have not yet evolved to exclusively eat veggies or processed food.
So how do you respectfully kill and eat another animal? Do you have to hunt it or can it be livestock? If a cow lives a full life, gets to eat grass, gets to reproduce, and dies to feed a predator, does it really make a difference if that predator is a human rather than a mountain lion? We have the ability to kill livestock in a much more humane way than any lion could, but many reports say we don’t. That’s sad.
Think about how your actions impact the world around you. Yes, maybe squishing that spider or killing that snake in your yard isn’t a big deal in the overall scheme of global life, but what if you and the 7 billion other people on earth do the same thing. Driving your car when you could bike to work doesn’t seem to have much impact, but think about that pollution multiplied by the 300 million others who live in the US. It all adds up.
Don’t feel judged. But I would encourage you to focus your attitude and awareness. Realize that one person does make a difference. Foster an attitude of respect to the other animals (both human and other species alike) around you. Our relationship to the Earth is one of the main deciding factors of the quality of life for both ourselves and future generations. Maybe if more of us can be thoughtful of the Earth and it’s inhabitants, we’ll make it to the Utopian sci-fi future, and not the dystopian one.
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