Paste it in the head!


Friday, July 14, 2006

Steal this book

As soon as I read a review of Terry Glavin's Waiting for the Macaws in the Globe and Mail, I knew I was going to read this book.

I believe wholeheartedly--and fervently--that environmental destruction is one of our most violent and senseless crimes. Every day, species disappear from our planet, not as a result of some freak cosmic event--a meteor collision, for example--but because of our actions. Our selfish, avoidable actions.

Glavin illustrates the disappearance of species after species by isolating different animals--a tiger, a whale--that have inextricable ties to human cultures, and whose extinction has enormous ramifications for the world at large. In doing so, he reinforces the oft-forgotten truth that, no matter how hard we try to separate ourselves from nature, to elevate ourselves to a guilt- and consequence-free position above our actions, we are still inhabitants of planet Earth. Every species we hunt and villify and poach out of existence; every unique human culture we strip of its language and customs and, ultimately, dignity; every single time we support politicians whose environmental and humanitarian policies set us back instead of moving us ahead; every wasted opportunity to teach children to have respect for all life forms--each and every one of these willfully ignorant and destructive actions will come back to hurt us, tenfold.

They will hurt the mammals and birds and fish and insects and plants, sure, and they will hurt the poor and land-dependent first, but eventually, they will hurt us, too.

That's what gets to me the most--it's not enough to realize that our actions hurt others; we have to realize that, in the end, we are hurting ourselves, in order for us to stop. Stop killing, stop mining, stop raping, stop overfishing, stop being heartless.

I'm going to step down off my soapbox long enough to say that Glavin is actually making me reconsider vegetarianism. It takes a lot to make me do that.

Now, get your hands on this book. Beg, borrow, steal: I don't care how, just get it.


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