Thursday, December 3, 2009

Extirpation. Sorry, Mr Prairie Chicken

1. to remove or destroy totally; do away with; exterminate.
2. to pull up by or as if by the roots; root up: to extirpate an unwanted hair.

I always feel ashamed when I read news of yet another species’ extinction.

This time it’s the prairie chicken.

Okay, I suppose I should take some comfort in the fact that it’s only the Canadian version of said beastie and that there’s some remaining on the American prairies... where it’s still open hunting season on this fowl because apparently there’s a sustainable population.

Sometimes I hate my own species.

How the hell did we naked vulnerable apes end up ruling this planet, running amok with our crazy-ass breeding ability, our tool-making, our fire, our shit fouling the beautiful earth that has given us everything? How is it that we have managed to be so damn destructive?

In the Gany’honyonk, the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving address, we say at the beginning it is an honour to be a human being. This is because we are the only animals that can speak about everything else. We are the only ones to know that everything else is alive. Deer know they are alive, eagles and bears and turtles and insects too – but human beings are the only ones who know that everything else exists and is to be honoured. In the speaking of it, we honour its existence and its place on the planet.

And that is why we give thanks to everything, from the water rushing over the land, to the plants and berries, to the animals, straight on upward to the stars. We honour the life force that creates us all. We honour nature. We honour our evolution.

And in the speaking of this evolution, this incredible intertwined biosphere, we acknowledge our duty as human beings to live within it, to be of one mind with the planet and its bounty.

We have failed in our duty. All of us human beings, we have failed.

We have so sadly negated our responsibility to the earth, done terrible harm to this incredible planet, this jewel that shines so softly in our little corner of the universe. I think it’s because our species can’t live beyond our little lives. Hell, most of us can’t live beyond our next meal. So how are we supposed to think about the consequences of our actions, about how our dependency on petrified dinosaur poop and the subsequent plastic and toxic chemicals is going to affect our next seven generations, let alone the millions of other creatures along for the ride on Spaceship Earth?

People always say, “It’s not my fault that this is happening. I didn’t ask to be born.”

Well for fuck sakes, you’re here now, deal with it. This is ultimately the problem with mankind. No one wants to take responsibility for anything. Capitalism conveniently preys upon this tendency, saying in its seductive whisper, it’s not your fault, just buy something and you’ll be happy, and then people say it’s not my fault, I’ll just buy something... And so it goes. More plastic, more cars, more waste, more people...more more more and suddenly... no more prairie chickens. Or passenger pigeons, or dodos. And soon on that list, polar bears. Siberian tigers. Right whales. Cod. Salmon. The list goes on and on and on. Talk about bad karma, mankind is going to be burning off that extinction shit for a very very long time as dung beetles of the first order.

Sometimes I think we should just die of an infectious plague, or an asteroid crashing into us, or giant space insects coming and devouring us, because we suck.

I apologize to you, prairie chickens. It’s all of our fault.