The recent reports from the WWF were stark, a 60% decline in wildlife in the past 40 years, linked directly to human activities. Animals at risk of extinction seems to be an ever popular headline and the picture doesn’t look bright. Why should we care about our wildlife?
Before we can begin to think about the effect of such a loss on food chains and climate change and the global impact, a lot of media has failed to focus on the impact to the individual. Food shortages in the Western World, almost seems inconceivable because we see so many food establishments these days, and the price of the food can be so cheap. Of course there are people using food banks, but to the majority of people it is hard to comprehend literally having no food at all. This lack of understanding makes it hard to believe that there could be a time when there is no food, when humans have to literally force themselves into rationing to have any food supply. Instead, we’re going to try and create some understanding from the viewpoint of holidays or vacations abroad.
With the wealth of information at our fingertips, it seems that people are attracted by the stunning photographs of amazing lands, that seem to appear on bucket lists. There seems no problem with going on a plane, or using other forms of travel to see these amazing wonders like the Great Barrier Reef or some hidden cave in the deep dark depths of Asia. Who wouldn’t want to see these amazing sites?
The natural beauty of escapism is that it is a thriving land. Safari holidays are aimed at seeing the wildlife, but a barren land sees starving wildlife, which isn’t escapism. A snorkelling expedition is aimed at seeing the marine life under the water, but what’s inspiring about seeing dead animals and plants because they have been polluted? It inspires some people to act, which is good, but only if it’s not already too late. If the wildlife is dead that’s upsetting, it doesn’t create restoration.
We seem to have forgotten the experiment where a bean is placed in different conditions – soil, sand, dark or light. Of course, the ones that grow the worst are the beans in sand or the dark. We learned at 5 that a bean can’t thrive in the right conditions. We see travelling as a form of escapism, and it is. But if wildlife goes, so too does our escapism. Instead, what is left is a barren land.
In answer to the headline, we need to before we seriously damage our own health because of the risk to the lack of opportunity for escapism? Also, do we really want to belong to the generation that made Wildlife extinct? Nobody does, that would be shameful. We need to start prioritising how we think about our carbon footprint through the waste and pollution that we create. We need to think of more eco friendly resources. We need to start seeing governments thinking about planet sustainability: a beautiful world is where we want to live. We can only have that if the wildlife is thriving and we start making conscious choices now!