While US TV talks about Iran and Impeachment, an entire continent full of animals is burning to death.
I remember back in the ’90’s, it was a thing among a certain segment of the environmental activist community to openly grieve and mourn the loss of trees, animal species, ecosystems, and etc. Basically, the idea was that these are living things that have been destroyed and killed by humans, but no one ever mourns for them. Humans have other humans who would mourn their loss, so why not non-human beings? Why shouldn’t they be like really mourned. Openly wept for. Cried for. Felt the loss of. Why not?
The question is rhetorical. It’s because humans tend to think of themselves as more important than any other animal. The Bible even more-or-less says so. But are we really? Just because we have opposable thumbs and big brains, that makes us more important than anything else? Oh, no, no, that’s right. It’s because “God” said so. Or, so we are told.
The other reason why I think this practice of mourning the losses of the natural world was developed was because we humans, with our big brains, believe that it’s silly to mourn the loss of animals, plants, and etc. We’re supposed to somehow be above feeling that loss. We’re supposed to be tougher than that. That’s why so many people are hesitant to show much emotion when a pet dies. It was “just a stupid dog” or “stupid cat.” We feel almost like we are not allowed to mourn them, like it’s a loss we’re supposed to be able to just suck it up and get over.
If you’ve ever lost a pet, you know this is not possible.
This practice of mourning the loss of trees, forests, animals, etc, was ridiculed to the extreme by those who believe humans should be above such behavior.
But, what about when entire continents die? When entire species are wiped off the planet, in one fell swoop, because of human greed and stubbornness and self-righteousness and stupidity and inaction? Are we allowed to mourn now? Does it seem “silly” now?
I mourn the loss of Australia’s wildlife. I grieve their absence from my home, my planet, my family of carbon-based life. I mourn the loss of Australia’s ecosystems. They were innocent, blameless, helpless to defend themselves. Today, I mourn them.
Tomorrow, I will swear on the graves of my own ancestors to avenge their deaths. All of their deaths. We must not let them die in vain. We must fight the climate crisis like we have never fought anything before. We must fight it in their names.