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Excerpt from The Myth of Human Supremacy

Winged Warning (p. 263)

From chapter "Supremacism"

Also today, I read an article on Truthout entitled, “Winged Warnings: Built for Survival, Birds in Trouble from Pole to Pole.” Some of the article contains important information about the collapse of the biosphere, but human supremacism can’t help but raise its narcissistic head, as the very first quote in the article reads, “If birds are having issues, you have to think about whether humans are going to have issues too.” Later, a section of the article called “Proxies for People” states that “studies on how endocrine-disrupting chemicals affect birds is a main plank of future research that may also have implications for human health.”

Or gosh, maybe if we really cared about human health—never mind the rest of the world—we’d disallow the manufacture of endocrine-disrupting chemicals. But that can never happen, because it would go against the authority and primacy of the technics over our lives.

Then I read another article today about how wildlife populations worldwide have collapsed by 52 percent in the past forty years. Of course this horrifies me. It horrifies me even more that this collapse has come on top of other collapses on top of other collapses on top of other collapses, which means current populations are the merest fractions of what they once were. The world used to be what is now unimaginably fecund. We are witnessing (and as a culture, causing; and as an environmental resistance, doing nowhere near enough to stop) pretty much the final despoliation of this once-vibrant planet. This horrifies me. It all evidently horrifies the journalist, but seemingly for a different reason. Once again, the very first quote used in the article is, “‘It’s the loss of the common species that will impact on people. Not so much the rarer creatures, because by the very nature of their rarity we’re not reliant on them in such an obvious way,’ said Dr. Nick Isaac, a macroecologist at the NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology in Oxfordshire. He says that recent work he and colleagues have been doing suggests that Britain’s insects and other invertebrates are declining just as fast as vertebrates, with ‘serious consequences for humanity.’”

So here’s my question: does everything have to come down to how it affects humans? Can we not talk for even a few hundred words about the extirpation of huge swaths of life on this planet without making it all about us? “I’m so sorry you’re dying because I’m overworking and starving you. When you’re dead, who’s going to cook me dinner?”

Why can’t these people just want to save these nonhumans from this horrible culture because it is the right thing to do? Why can’t we save them out of love? Why can’t we save them because they are important to the earth? Why can’t we just save them? Full stop. End of sentence. End of paragraph.