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Browsing through my typical news sites I ran across this article.  After reading through it I was left with a mixed sense of hope and hopelessness.  The fact that conservation efforts around the world have been having an impact on the loss of worldwide biodiversity is a heartening thing.  But, it is very difficult to get past that initial number.  One in five vertebrate species threatened.  That’s 20% of the world’s animal population on the brink.

It makes me shiver.

Humans have always seemed to think that we had progressed past our animal brethren.  We look at animals as property or nuisances or things.  When we strip them of any kind of emotion, pain, or the like it is easy to justify things like hunting wolves from aircraft or slaughtering cavalry horses.  We either don’t understand the importance of the natural world around us or have become so blinded by our human greed that we are willfully ignorant of it.

There are consequences to everything that happens in this world.  When a species disappears it causes ripples that roll through the natural world and impact aspects of life we never would have expected.  Human activity has caused more damage to the overall ecosystems of this planet than any other force.

I don’t expect civilization to devolve itself.  Nor do I want it to.  But, I think we as a species need to start understanding a few things.  We need to understand that we are not the proprietors of this planet.  Nature shows us time and again through flood, fire, and disease that we are simply tenants here.  We need to understand that our neighbors have as much right to live and breathe on this Earth as we do.  We need to understand as a sentient species we have certain responsibilities to be caretakers of this place.

The more we destroy, the more dangerous this world becomes.  Extinction will eventually lead to an untenable position by nature of the ripple effects it causes.  We are all connected in a grand system that none of us fully understand and never will.

Who’s to say that the next piece removed from that system won’t bring it crashing down around us?

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