Obama pledges to combat poaching elephants | If humans are so smart, why do we act so stupidly?

Or shall I say, why do human beings act so irreverently towards the earth and the creatures with whom we share our planet? I’ve written in a former blog about the plight of elephants and rhinoceros due to poaching https://carolkeiter.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/battle-for-the-elephants-documentary-speaks-louder-than-words/

Elephants in Africa

Elephants in Africa

You can read World Wildlife Fund’s article about Obama’s pledge to fight against wildlife crime.
http://worldwildlife.org/stories/obama-pledges-support-to-stop-wildlife-crime-in-africa?utm_source=wildwire&utm_medium=email&utm_content=july2013&utm_campaign=wildlife-trade

I’m honored that Obama has shown his concern and taken action to defend the rights of other species with whom we share this planet. He recognizes the delicate process required to affect change. It’s an integrated system that has to be dismantled. The actual poachers have a quasi militaristic/mafia type organization with sophisticated weapons and transport. Barack Obama as well as Hillary Clinton and others realize that not only does money need to be infused into local economies to combat this problem, but also education. The way to counter this criminal warfare against elephants and other species which inhabit this earth, is to withdraw the incentive; use money and programs to leverage against the poaching operations. Since the indigenous inhabitants of areas of Africa where this poaching exists are lured because of its financial rewards, the people need to be educated about the true worth of these creatures (as opposed to ivory torn from a dead elephant) and enticed with incentives to no longer have interest in poaching. For example, if programs would become available to guide people into ways of conserving water, land, reveal alternative types of farming, growing, building, and display renewable ways of generating energy, etc. and showing the true benefits and appreciation of real ‘live’ elephants (i.e. their uniqueness and intelligence) the people would no longer feel the need or desire to engage in this trade that destroys their treasures. By creating means for local people to help themselves and learn techniques to live more prosperously and harmoniously in their environment, they will be less inclined to ‘sell out’. Certainly part of this investment Obama pledges will also need to go into educating people on the ‘buyers’ end, who want ivory for various reasons. Though the demand for ivory carved for ornamentation or for alleged cures may be ingrained in generations (or over millennia) of people in China and other parts of Asia, the world is a different place now. Our world suffers from over population for one thing. And in this post industrial era, desires of the past need to be reassessed. It is no longer okay to plow through acres of forests, wetlands, to dump toxins into water supplies, or to act in any other careless ways that obviously damage or obliterate pristine environments, just because there may be profit in it for someone. Whereas somehow actions such as these were overlooked or tolerated when the earth seemed to offer an endless supply of abundance of everything, we now know that this is far from the truth.

As our technological advancements have increased our knowledge of the world and extended our reach to every corner of the globe, we have effectively shrunken our world to within reach of a click. Many of the things that we produce to make our lives easier and more convenient have made a dramatically negative impact on our environment. We can no longer blindly pretend that our actions don’t have consequences; drilling for oil, fracking, dredging, coal mining all affect the delicate balance within the ecosystems where these procedures happen. Our production of tools and toys have repercussions affecting everything around us; i.e. superfund sites (designated toxic waste areas) speckle the areas where high tech production of computers and electronic gadgets takes place. Many of these are out of sight, yet can’t be ignored; we can’t discount the consequences that affect air and water quality, environmental health, the dramatic increase in extreme weather (storms, draughts, fires) and the physical and mental health of human beings. We have continued to scourge the earth in the last 60 years. Despite all of our sophisticated high-tech gadgets, the human condition is dramatically out of balance and morally bankrupt. Our emotional and psychological insights haven’t evolved in the same exponentially rapid pace as our technological knowledge. Smart devices have outsmarted human relations. We have machines that talk to us, and yet neighboring countries or rivaling ethnic groups still haven’t mastered the ability to talk through their feuds. Yet what is more savage than warfare against our fellow humans, is the fact that our modern luxuries and expectations coupled with overpopulation and negligence towards other species, means that in the not so distant future, the plethora of creatures who inhabit this earth, of which we are the guardians, will be gone. Massive extinction precipitated by ignorance, greed, short-sidedness and a complete lack of reverence for life. It will no doubt ultimately precipitate the decimation of our own species, by playing too recklessly with the delicate balance of our ecosystem.

Ironically, it is primarily modern ‘civilized’ man of the ‘developed world’ who is responsible for so dramatically destroying the health of our planet and annihilating an alarming number of creatures. There is something glaringly uncivilized about the way in which we have continued on this path of environmental destruction and species irradiation, without having empathy for our fellow man and fellow inhabitants of this planet. As one observes the hierarchy of predators and prey in all species, nature reveals that it is the strong that survive. My question is, if we human beings are so intelligent, with our abstract thinking and rational thought, what has gone so glaringly wrong? Perhaps there’s something very lopsided and obviously missing, when merely measuring the standard IQ, intelligence quotient. We have been fatally disregarding emotional intelligence (EQ) in this equation, and for that matter, an empathetic quotient. It seems to be pretty clear that actions strictly driven by economic motives and consuming, is where we continually go wrong. We need to make more ‘conscious’ assessments about how each of our thoughts and actions affect and ripple throughout our entire environment. Considering that this incredibly beautiful planet with its inextricably interwoven life forms is our only home, to not act responsibly is criminal. If human beings are so ‘gifted’ and the most intelligent species, why have we done more damage to all of life than any other species? What is missing, that we have been so tragically unconscious and acted so unconscionably towards the miraculous ‘gift’ of life? “Don’t destroy what you can’t create.”

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Viewing endangered species in the USA

A directory of endangered species by region in the United States.

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/05/13/travel/endangered-species.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=thab1