Letter: Humans threaten web of life on earth

Letter: Humans threaten web of life on earth

While “many a truth is said in jest,” there’s a jest said in truth regarding the Westerly Sun’s Sunday, Aug. 12, cartoon where the shark dominates the beach scene proclaiming, “Seriously? YOUR beach? My family’s been coming here for 420 million years!” Ah, if sharks and animals could talk. “Share the road” with bicyclists and pedestrians, but how about “Share the Planet” with plants and animals?

“Sapiens,” by Yuval Noah Harari, remarkably covers the history of humankind that informs us that for millions of years, Neanderthals, which eventually evolved to humans, roamed the Earth just like all other animals. It wasn’t until 30,000 years ago, a drop in the bucket of life on this planet, humans: 1) domesticated fire; and 2) developed agriculture, separating them from all other animals by enabling them to control the constant need for food. This raised humans’ status and self-perception as they evolved into a chosen-species mindset where religions were invented enabling cohesion among previously unknown strangers.

My research says sharks first appeared 450 million years ago, but if 30 million years is trivial, how insignificant is 30,000 years? Reality is a complex web of life that has evolved with species interdependent approaching the NATO proclamation that an attack on one is really an attack on all with all life on Earth dependent on Earth’s ability to produce and sustain O (oxygen) and H2O (water). As we continue to experience record heat, unprecedented wildfires, unyielding drought, devastating floods, and garbage-dump oceans, and evacuate the state of Florida for Hurricane Irma less than a year ago, it’s perverse for President Trump to prioritize military expenditure while abandoning the world’s climate treaty. Imagine how logistically problematic it is getting the whole world to agree on climate-stabilization efforts? All species on this planet (including humans) are dependent on humans not to ruin the air, water and climate that is a necessary condition for life but is compromised at our own peril. Military expenditure is America’s highest priority? Hasta la vista baby!

Jay Lustgarten


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