There’s a great chasm between the way humans treat pets and the way humans treat the living planet. Everyday I think to myself why is this?
I also understand there are many humans that abuse their pets and carry that attitude with them in their abuse of the natural world, but I am not writing this for these assholes. I am writing for the people who love their pets dearly but can’t equate that love with the natural world.
The pet industry was a 66.75 billion dollar industry in the United States in 2016 which was up 4% from 2015 (talk numbers like that to any vulture capitalist and they might mistake it for dirty talk). Only 40% of Americans do not own any pets.
These numbers speak for themselves but they also speak to the connections we make with our pets. They are considered part of the family. The get toys, beds, baths, gourmet food, etc. We treat them this way because these are living beings with feelings, physical beauty, intelligence and emotions, emotions that include loving us unconditionally. And I think the biggest thing we see in pets is their innocence.
Part of the reason you may say this love and innocence we feel doesn’t fully carry over to the natural world is because the other beings we interact with aren’t domesticated in our homes. I would agree with on that partly, but I’m not going to let you off the hook with that logic.
Any time there’s internet videos of humans connecting with other animals in nature these generate thousands if not millions of views. People will comment how touched they are by the interaction but it seems to me this rush of emotions towards nature only last for a fleeting moment.
I think part of that reason is this….Genesis 1:28, “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”
What’s been grounded into civilized humans thought process for thousands of years is that humans are to “subdue” the planet and take “dominion” over it. Which in turn has made humans think any other living beings are inferior. This inferiority complex has carried over to the extreme of any living being that is not a white heterosexual male needs to be controlled.
This human supremacist mindset has really dismissed the true intelligence and emotions of these animals and the natural world. Human supremacy closes doors on attitudes towards life on this planet. Not many people realize plants and trees also communicate and frankly not many people care.
The thing is we need to care. We need to care about all of it. All of it matters to maintain an ecosystem and habitats for life on this planet. Humans have been indoctrinated for the need to pour their feelings out for and associate with life that is aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Humans lust to have a direct connection with these easy on the eyes beings.
This is shown by the way women are treated in society. Look at the difference between the way a woman that’s deemed “attractive” by society is treated and look at the way a woman that society has deemed is not attractive. The “attractive” woman is treated like a sex object which may garner them certain privileges in society. The “unattractive” woman is disgarded like used tin foil. Unless that tin foil proves to be beneficial to serve our needs.
This attitude carries over to the natural world because unfortunately not all of the natural world is aesthetically pleasing to the eyes.
You hear plenty about saving the aesthetically pleasing looking Lions and Tigers but nothing about something not so aesthetically pleasing like the California Condor. How many people care there’s under 450 California Condors left? And think about how many people care about how many Lions and Tigers are left.
People want the quick fix the quick connection. That’s why pets are so appealing. Entering into a relationship with the natural world takes time and patience. It’s something I am still working on and am nowhere near where I would like to be. People don’t have time or the patience.
This is why people are more upset over the dog meat festivals in Asia than 2.7 Million Animals Killed by Federal Wildlife destruction Program in 2016, and 9 billion factory farm animals dying each year in the United States.
What people also feel when they see these internet videos of humans interacting with animals in nature is a lust. A lust to one day be that human in the video to one day control that aesthetically pleasing on the eyes animal.
When I see videos of humans interacting with animals in nature. I am amazed. Not at the intelligence with the animal. I am amazed the animal is willing to have a vulnerable moment with the human considering the horrible history our species has with theirs. I believe these beings have an instinct engrained in them about the dangers humans pose to them because of our violent past and present. I believe this to be especially true of the beings we can’t pet or that aren’t as cute as Fido or won’t lick our face like Fido does. That’s why I am amazed at these animals having vulnerable moments with humans.
Finally, I feel a profound sadness that people think these things are amazing or special. Is it amazing or special that humans can bound with pets? No, because humans invest in pets, pets’ needs matter more than the natural world’s needs matter. It’s sad to me people can’t wrap their heads around this. It’s sad to know that if people invested as much time in the natural world as we did with our pets there would be not a lot of million hit YouTube videos of humans interacting with nature because humans would be in deep relationships with the natural world and people wouldn’t be behind a computer wasting away….they would be out in nature.
So I ask you to break from the “subdue” and have “dominion” over the Earth mindset. Realize all life is sacred and all life is intelligent with feelings and needs. Engage with the Earth be vulnerable with the Earth. It’s ok to do this because we are part of the Earth, we are not the Earth.
Our species like most other species on this planet doesn’t have much time left. So dare to be different and use that time wisely.