Monday, 1 September 2008

Kiss the Great White Shark Good-bye

Tahiti is right in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, one of the most isolated islands in the world. The dolphins here are increasing in numbers, and all of them are perfect. None have new scars inflicted by shark's teeth anymore, because the oceanic sharks are almost gone. If they are so depleted here, they must be even more depleted elsewhere too.

When a commodity becomes scarce, it becomes very valuable, as is seen with ivory, tiger parts, shark fins and so forth.

As the white shark goes down to extinction, its jaws, teeth, and other parts, will become so rare that collectors will try to get one. Princes in white marble palaces in obscure parts of the world, with a taste to display the biggest tiger skin, the most interesting gorilla hand, the biggest elephant tusks, the most curled rams horns, and so forth, will hear of a new treasure, the jaws of the famous sea monster, soon to disappear. And he'll send out his minions to get one.

Illegal wildlife smuggling is estimated to bring in five billion US dollars annually, roughly a quarter of the global wildlife trade.

I used to be idealistic about humankind changing, but power comes down through money, and the big corporations who are profiting by the destruction of the environment have not changed.

At least, not enough.

There is no excuse: the recently publicized oceanic ecological crisis has been reported for years, by the United Nations, Worldwatch Institute, which monitors world-wide conditions, and others.

All ecological systems are in some sort of crisis, other factors affecting the planetary biosphere, including many that were unforeseen, have appeared.

Examples are: the emergence of new diseases, the failure of antibiotics, and the potential of the ocean currents to change quickly and bring on a sudden climatic crisis. In addition, resources are at their limit--wood, water, metals, forests, soil--and the manufacture of materials has polluted the land, air, groundwater, ocean and living systems. Then there is the hole in the ozone layer, and the catastrophic rate of extinction.

Anyone reading this message has 500 chemicals in their bodies that didn't exist a hundred years ago. (Its easy to look over the literature to check out the details).

We thought that science, that pure method of finding out the truth, would solve all problems. But now it basically serves the consumer dollar, and it has not become the dominant mode of thinking of those in power, in spite of the promise it held once, in spite of the many pleasures and toys with which it has pampered us, particularly, for the last hundred years.

Predicting the future is a tricky matter, but can be done to a degree, always remembering that imponderables can change the order of events, delay, or speed things up. All one has to do is closely follow the trends of the past, and extrapolate them through the present and into the future. As extinctions have been accelerating in the past, for example, we can expect them to continue into the future. As people were worried about over-packaging thirty years ago, now we have a problem with materials running short, yet things are more hyperpackaged than ever.

Science has so far failed to find any life anywhere else, or even another remotely habitable place. Nothing but zillions of light-years of unimaginable cold and dark surround us, yet look what we're doing with the Eden we had.

For sharks, children of eternity, another eternity must pass again before they could ever reappear. Alas.

Try to think of something more purely evil than a species, who methodically kills off the other species sharing its planet. (Jesus said, "By their works , you shall know them.")

But we think we're so great, the greatest, the only one (!) made in the image of God.