Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Happy World Wildlife Day

Image Collage by PeapodLife "Happy World Wildlife Day 2015" 
"When I hear of the destruction of a species, I feel just as if all the works of some great writer have perished."
~ Former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt
Source: http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=features/children-06032014
March 3rd is World Wildlife Day, an opportunity for us to appreciate biodiversity in all its forms. It is a chance for us to reflect on the benefits of healthy ecosystems filled with enduring populations of flora and fauna, and how we are better as a species for being good caretakers of the natural world and its fragile ecological balance—as opposed to efficient and ruthless masters of exploitation.  

World Wildlife Day is likewise an occasion for us to take a long, hard look at the international trade in endangered wildlife products. This means taking a long, hard look at ourselves—an exercise which is often times easier said than done. The fact is many of us may be consumers of such products without being aware of it. Or perhaps we simply choose to look the other way. And yet, if we value the continued presence of these creatures in the wild, we cannot afford to be complacent.

"Getting serious about wildlife crime means enrolling the support of all sections of society involved in the production and consumption of wildlife products, which are widely used as medicines, food, building materials, furniture, cosmetics, clothing and accessories."
~ Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Source: http://www.un.org/en/events/wildlifeday/

As the above quote by Ban Ki-moon suggests, we have a role to play in the preservation of endangered species; as do governments and the private sector. But it is not enough to “get tough” on wildlife crime. In parts of the world where economic opportunities are limited, we will always find individuals turning to whatever means of survival is at hand—including harvest and trade in illegal goods.

So long as there is a demand for products containing wildlife parts, there will be a supply…until, that is, demand outstrips supply and the wild population and/or ecosystem collapses. The cascading effects of species loss can be disastrous on ecosystems.

True, ecosystems are self-balancing and constantly adapting to change, but it is naïve to think that that they will “recover” to their pre-existing state after the loss of a major species. Instead, a new ecosystem will evolve, one in which a number of other species may likewise disappear.

For as difficult as it may be for us to comprehend, nature itself has no attachments to species. Sacrifice is a fundamental aspect of life. Working with ecosystems day in and day out, we at PeapodLife witness how ecosystems sacrifice individuals for the sake of the whole.

Nature has been responsible for several major extinction events on the planet, and countless minor ones. Nature moves on: new species emerge; new harmonic and symbiotic relationships develop. Negative chaos gives way to positive chaos.

The real question to ask ourselves on World Wildlife Day may be this: are we a part of the negative chaos or the positive chaos? Are we contributing to harmonious and symbiotic relationships or exploitative, conflict-based ones? How does our relationship with our immediate micro environment translate into our relationship with the macro environment?

Image: Endangered Species 

If it is a question of sensitivity—of feeling the plight of endangered species and the loss of species on a deep, almost personal level—then wouldn’t a personal relationship with an ecosystem in our micro environment increase our sensitivity to ecosystems and their endangered residents on the macro level?

PeapodLife doesn’t believe this to be so—we know it. We have witnessed it, time and again. By inviting ecosystems into their lives in a meaningful way, individuals develop a deeper sensitivity to the profound purpose and meaning of nature in their lives. It’s almost inevitable. We, like all creatures, are not separate from our environment. If we immerse ourselves in the embrace of nature’s nurturing embrace, we will have a greater tendency to “pay it forward;” to repay and embrace nature in kind.

When you bring a PeapodLife ecosystem into your life, every day is a Happy World Wildlife Day.

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