by Ila France Porcher
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.