Thursday, June 19, 2008

Are humans even on top?

Throughout history, when faced with issues affecting either humans (AIDS, cancer, genocide) or the environment (hunted whales, diminishing rainforests), both the government and the general populace were in favor of the latter. This is something I have never understood.

Fifteen or twenty years ago, when saving the Amazon rainforests was the hip bandwagon for everyone to jump on, it was because of the thousands--and maybe millions--of species that live within the world's most diverse ecosystem. Scientists would bemoan and complain about the hundreds of species lost everyday with rainforest deforestation. So many varying types of flora and fauna that would never be discovered, and succinctly, categorized.

And animal rights groups such as PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) have also never made sense to me. They seem to value animals' lives over humans'. There may be a drug that cures cancer, but according to PETA, we shouldn't be allowed to test it on lab rats, because that would be inhumane. Well, you can't spell "inhumane" without human. So what is really inhumane is not allowing this drug to be tested for the betterment of humankind, as it dooms many cancer victims to a life of pain and suffering.

I think we can all agree come to a majority opinion that human beings are the most intelligent creatures on the planet. With this power of being at the top of the food chain, or whatever we call it, we should be responsible for all living things underneath us. This holds true in the animal kingdom the same way as a monarchy, with a king being responsible for all of his subjects. However, in order to best care for those who are below us, we should first care for ourselves, should we not? It only makes sense to make sure our health and safety are secure before adjusting our focus to that which we watch over.

Some may think this is selfish, when in fact it is selfless. In fact, it is those who disagree with me that are selfish. They are deeming the lives of plants and animals as more important than their fellow humans. I am not resigning that "Saving the Planet" is a lost cause, and we should all just bide our time until we bite the big one. Instead I am saying that we CAN'T save the planet if we AREN'T AROUND to save it. It is physically impossible to do something when you are not present to do it.

Therefore, we need to take care of H. sapien problems first, damn the expense, before we worry about the world's problems. That is to say, the environment's, mother nature's, or the earth's problems. Because if we focus so much of our attention on the diminishing habitats of lifeforms that can't climb the evolutionary ladder, rather than which crazed individual has his finger on the proverbial button and could incinerate the entire planet, it doesn't matter how many Brazilian tree frogs were saved this week; they'll all be dead tomorrow.

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