In this beautiful essay, naturalist Paul Rosolie reminds us that it’s not just about ecosystem accounting. It’s about individual, intelligent animals. It’s about tapping into our compassion and empathy. It’s about the suffering in the world, and how we could choose to reduce it.
Whenever I come face to face with wildlife, especially in when it is something like a family of elephants, it strikes me how we depend on euphemistic terms to soften the truth. When we learn that since 1970 half the wildlife on earth has been ‘lost’ or that species are ‘vanishing’ so rapidly that A Great Silence is Spreading Over the World, the language used in communicating these abstract ideas neglect what Dr. Jane Goodall wisely notes: “It’s not just a species facing extinction, it’s massive individual suffering”.”
~Paul Rosolie, “World Wildlife Day 2016: Why Wildlife Needs You“
These are amazing beings with whom we share the beauty and wonder of this world. They have complex and fascinating lives. They are different from us, but that does not mean that they are incapable of thinking and feeling. We have the choice to use our unique human gifts of elaborate foresight, language, imagination and abstract reason to find ways to help them thrive. Doesn’t that behoove us to use our gifts on their behalf?
Happy World Wildlife Day!