09 June, 2009

Be Still The Wildebeest

No more migrating herds.  That's the conclusion one can draw from this article, which is in itself a worrying thing.  But more worrying is that the author also discovers that there are no historical data to work out the rate at which this pattern is changing.   And more worrying than that is our attitude to it.

I bet that you just read that and the hair on the nape of your neck didn't prickle when you read it, you didn't reflexively clench down on your seat from the news.  And yet that's exactly what should be happening, on a pandemic scale.

Because the reduction in migrations is another proof of the damage we've done already, and the fact that some migrations have stopped simply due to extinction is more of the same.  You and I should be shittin' kittens and blue lights, yet we're so numb to what "they" have done to "our" world that we just sort of shrug and move on.

With so many species checking out, isn't it time we stopped cataloging these losses and instead started concentrating on not losing the bastards in the first place?  Did you eat beef more than once or possibly twice this week?  Did that beef come from further than 25 miles away?  Then you're probably indirectly responsible for the death of one springbok or oryx this week.  Multiply that by your suburb and you can see where those herds are going.  Dying of the butterfly effect of our hamburgers and steaks.

A good way to visualise this is to imagine that your steak actually came from a wildebeest or a kangaroo or a reindeer.  Even if you only had one steak or burger, a whole animal had to die for that meal.  Which divides the blame you feel among a few dozen people who also bought beef, but if you're doing that every day, well just start totaling that up in your head...

I'm far from a raving vegetarian - I believe a certain amount of meat is a prerequisite for us to be healthy - but I don't advocate huge beef herds slaughtered hundreds of miles away...  Again, take personal responsibility people!  Think about these things and then maybe go for a bit of locally grown lamb or rabbit or chicken.  Spread the load around, soften the impact...

My parents keenly felt the effect of every wasted scrap of food, because they grew up in a time when food wasn't mass-produced as it is today, and they knew that you made every last bit count, from having that luxurious steak dinner once a fortnight to saving the leftovers and making a casserole or stew.  Because when they grew up, food was still wrested out of the earth with much effort, and everything was used.  We seem to have no such qualms today, and that's not a good thing.

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