Friday, August 22, 2008

To Hell With Endangered Species

Ecosystems on this planet are in an eternal state of flux. Life adapts to its environment in a perpetual sequence of birth and extinction. While few species become dominant and successful - thriving on the available resources, many go extinct, unable to cope up with competition for the eternally scarce resources.

The human race, of late, has found the planet quite welcoming. You can find a human being almost everywhere. From the parched deserts of Saudi Arabia to the frigid infinities of Siberia; from the torrid heat of Sub-saharan Africa to the fertile plains of the Ganga; from the lowlands of death valley (I'm sure there's a guy living there) to the hills of Switzerland.

Just like cancer spreads around the body, the human race has spread around the planet. The human race is a miracle of evolution (so miraculous that most humans themselves, unable to believe it themselves, believe in a "god" to fill up the blank). I feel reasonably sure in contending that it is probably the only race in this history of planet earth which figured out how life came about - or at least made an effort in that direction. (Almost all cultures have made efforts in that direction - even the tribals have dieties that they worship. No culture pulls a blank when they are asked "How did the world come about?".)

The human race has placed a great strain on earth's the eco-system. Modern humans do not compete with other species for resources. Humanity usurps resources at will, driving all competition to extinction. Humanity is to its colleagues in the eco-system what Vito Corleone is to the New York city mobsters. (Only, humanity is not out to exact revenge.)

I am a firm believer in Darwinism. If I were alone in pristine wilderness and I saw an animal wounded, I would not stop and save it. I would let it die (it will feed other littler creatures that count of these sorts of windfalls for their very existence). So, I am more than happy to see the unfit perish.

Animals that are being driven to extinction are being driven to extinction because they are weak. Let them die. Why should we save them?

Additionally, what is the point of saving the tiger in India? Its numbers have dwindled so drastically, that it is as good as inexistent in the larger picture. Its impact on the overall eco-system is exactly zero. I say, to hell with the tiger. Don't waste money trying to conserve it.
They're going to die as soon as we stop pouring money into them. Because they roamed a huge area before. A few square kilometers in a national park are never going to do them any justice.
Spend that money on other environmental causes. Like increasing the number and size of national parks.

The same applies to the california condor (there's about 50 of them left). Because as soon as the efforts stop, the condors will begin their descent into extinction all over again. They just have no habitat left.

The human race likes to get the impression that it is having the cake and eating it too. Just like people get a warm fuzzy feeling when they witness their philanthrophy feeding an underpreviliged third world kid, they get the same feeling when they see their donations rescue a tiger from "extinction".

And to me, there is something fundamentally unethical and hypocritical about eating meat (when there are extremely healthy and tasty vegetarian alternatives) and then making attempts to save endangered species.

The only sustainable way out is to just forget about the tigers and the condors. To hell with endangered species.


unicorn said...

Man, you think in the fourth dimension. ;)

Anonymous said...

If a weak animal(including humans) should die then why are we spending money on making new drugs and developing health care.. let all our near and dears die...who bothers?? As per you a weak animal has to die/extinct

Rap said...

Humans are special to other humans. (And for this very reason, cannibalism is taboo). So, the arguments of strength and weakness ought not be extrapolated to humans. Let me explain in more detail:

My contention is, if one can kill a pig and eat it shamelessly, then why is one so obsessed with saving a tiger - that can't survive without a lot of continuous investment from us, notoriously fickle human beings? The tiger has almost zero effect on the eco-system now. It is just a pure burden on us.

Saving the leopards which are not endangered. Now that's a smarter idea.

Saving species from being endangered is a whole different ball game - because you are saving a known eco-system from collapse - stopping it from evolving into something more hostile to us.