Sunday, August 8, 2010

Countdown: Empty Horn of Plenty

“Few problems are less recognized, but more important than, the accelerating disappearance 
of the earth's biological resources. In pushing other species to extinction, 
humanity is busy sawing off the limb on which it is perched.” — Paul Ehrlich 

I originally wrote half this rant as a part of an upcoming editorial panel dealing with whales, but as that particular post'll have to wait for publication in print next month, I excerpted the section dealing with it's instigating incident instead. The image is an appropriation of Albrect Dürer's famous (at least to some print geeks) 1515 woodcut "Rhinoceros." I'm thinking about replicating it as an actual woodcut for a summer project - my BFA minor was in printmaking, with half of the thesis show devoted to prints, but it's been far too long a hiatus. Should be a challenge and nice break from gripping pens for a change.

“In season, out of season
What's the difference when you don't know the reason.
In one hand bread, the other a stone.
The Hunter enters the forest.”  
– Genesis “Squonk”

Few things have the power to piss me off and consequently sink me deeper into into despair than the plight of endangered species. This after reading an article about the last rhino on a South African game reserve being slaughtered by poachers. 
Butchered simply because of the horn, worth more than its weight in gold, for usage in the cultural woo passed off as "Traditional Chinese Medicine" that ranks right up there with homeopathic remedies and chewing fingernails as far as scientific legitimacy and effectiveness. It's an extension of the therapeutic ego massage gained from display of other similarly compensating and manly body parts that frequently adorn many Alaskan dens.
Over an estimated 90% of the global rhinoceros population have been been killed off over the past forty years to supply this medieval bullshit quackery. 
But it probably won't be some charismatic megafauna poster-child that'll tip the scales, more likely the biggest domino to fall first will be the smallest: a recent issue of Nature has released a study revealing 8 out of 10 of the planet's large ocean areas since 1950 have had an estimated 40% loss in phytoplankton - the stuff that produces half of our oxygen. Take a deep breath.

“All are gone, all but one
No contest, nowhere to run
No more left, only one
This is it, this is the countdown to extinction”

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