A humane person is one who shows compassion and concern for others, which includes animals. The two words, humane and human are interconnected but they sadly, as our world may be approaching a sixth extinction, do not always apply to each other. People are human but not necessarily humane. The book The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolber, 2014, explains how we are entering into a modern, man-made, sixth mass extinction. Countless of other scientist, business people, politicians, philanthropist, are and have been sounding the bell for some time.
“The most intellectual creature to ever walk Earth is destroying its only home.” (Jane Goodall, The Guardian, Nov 2018)
“The world’s 7.6 billion people represent just 0.01% of all living things, according to the study. Yet since the dawn of civilisation, humanity has caused the loss of 83% of all wild mammals and half of plants, while livestock kept by humans abounds.”The Guardian – Damian Carrington May 2018
“The debate is over about whether or not climate change is real; it is now time to act to solve the problem.” (David Suzuki Society)
This is a very scary thought. It is believed that half the world’s animals have disappeared in the last 50 years. Forests, grasslands, steppes the size of England are disappearing; our oceans are warming up and becoming a dumping ground; our air and rain are full of toxins.
“The causes of loss of natural habitat are multifold. There are the big-time, hi-tech operations, like the clearance of Central American forests for pasturing “hamburger” cattle, and the almost overnight conversion of wetlands in the industrialized countries. There are small-scale activities, like the peasant who cuts and fires tropical forest only one hectare at a time (but along with 250 million other peasants) to grow food, and the herders who graze their few goats or cattle on marginal lands (along with millions of others), thereby promoting desertification. There are the insidious effects of certain industrial practices, such as the release of factory wastes high in the air where they acidify the rain that falls on the forests and into thousands of far-away lakes. And plain old urban sprawl puts nearly 500,000 hectares of land under buildings and tarmac every year in the developed countries.” (The State of the Ark, Lee Durrell 1986)
The above paragraph from Lee Durrell was published in her book in 1986! Thirty- three years ago this paragraph was published, and we still have not acted. It is the same cry for action against the same human- made causes that are destroying our world today.
The food that we eat have caused an imbalance in animal populations. 70% of birds that now exists are farmed chickens. A staggering 60% of all mammals are for human consumption.
“I was shocked to find there wasn’t already a comprehensive, holistic estimate of all the different components of biomass,” said Prof Ron Milo, at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, who led the work… “I would hope this gives people a perspective on the very dominant role that humanity now plays on Earth,” he said, adding that he now chooses to eat less meat due to thehuge environmental impact of livestock.” (Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, May 2018.)
Other devastating causes are deforestation, poaching, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions caused by burning of fossil fuels for heat, electricity and transportation.
70% of greenhouse gases are caused by 100 companies. We can change habits to shop compassionately, responsibly and ethically but if these CEOs and shareholders don’t change or be made to change, we are in trouble!
“Just 100 companies are responsible for more than 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988. The guys who run those companies – and they are mostly guys – have gotten rich on the backs of literally all life on Earth. Their business model relies on the destruction of the only home humanity has ever known. Meanwhile, we misdirect our outrage at our neighbors, friends, and family for using plastic straws or not recycling. If there is anyone who deserves the outrage of all 7.5 billion of us, it’s these 100 people right here. Combined, they control the majority of the world’s mineral rights – the “right” to exploit the remaining unextracted oil, gas, and coal. They need to know that we won’t leave them alone until they agree to Keep It In The Ground. Not just their companies, but them. Now it’s personal.” (The Decolonial Atlas, April 2019)
Why do we not see how we are destroying the planet? Corporate greed, politicians, lobbyists have cleverly hidden us from the carnage that we are doing by allowing us to over-indulge, become lazy, making huge profits from marketing products that we don’t need; and to achieve all this we have to work harder for less to pay for all the popular products, our cost of living and paying taxes.
“The following is a joint press release from the United Nations Global Compact, the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) and the We Mean Business coalition. “We have less than 11 years to fundamentally change our economies or we will face catastrophic consequences,” said Lise Kingo, CEO & Executive Director of the UN Global Compact, one of the member organizations of the Science Based Targets Initiative.” (UNITED NATIONS, New York, 13 June 2019)
“What do we need to maintain – or ensure- that temperatures don’t rise above 1.5C? It’s going to take corporations, corporate leaders, local politicians who might grapple with how to reduce community-wide emissions in their cities and towns. Architects need to do their piece to maximize energy efficiency in new buildings, commercial and industrial as well as residential. Every part of society has to participate.” (Richard Heede, the co-founder and co-director of the Climate Accountability Institute)
We, as consumers, shareholders, employees, employers and humane humans, must act now to slow the killing of this planet by its greedy, ignorant and careless inhabitants! David Bowie sang that we had “five years” remaining. In around six years we may actually be singing that song.
With about 7 billionpeople on this planet, a drop in the bucket can become a waterfall! What can you do…
- Take action: tell all your levels of government to take action. Voice your concerns to family friends, grocery chains, clothing chains, that we need change now.
- Take a bus or ride a bike: find ways to reduce carbon emissions by using public transit or getting exercise while you bike or walk.
- Watch your energy bill: put on your dishwasher or wash your clothes later in the day on off hours. Turn off your lights when not in use and your power bars that keep your TVs, computers, satellite boxes on all day.
- Eat Responsibly: It is hard in your busy day to shop for food and do your research as well. Yet, we must do more of it. Where and how your food was made and what your food is can be a cause of suffering or destruction on our planet.
- Stop the Waste: Those “Rs” are still hugely important! Reuse, Recycle and Reduce.
- Stop Investing in our Destruction: Don’t buy shares with fossil fuel companies and encourage companies to lean toward alternative sustainable resources.
(Source, David Suzuki Foundation)
Humanity needs the action of people with humane motivations. The complete lack of empathy and psychotic behaviour of those who make profits from destroying this planet; live in ignorance; or just do not believe there is an emergency must be over burdened by our concerns and moved to take action. Will you get onboard and stop our mass extinction?