I must admit that I am having one of those moments again.
I had WWF calling me to help protecting some cuddly animal. Last time it was a polar bear, then a panda and I have to admit I have forgotten what it was this time. While I love all those animals, I am also thinking about all the other hundreds of species that get extinct every year and that no one considers:
If the low estimate of the number of species out there is true – i.e. that there are around 2 million different species on our planet** – then that means between 200 and 2,000 extinctions occur every year.
So while I in a way generally appreciate what the WWF is trying to do (raising awareness by connecting people to cuddle animals) we are also losing awareness for the bigger picture, which is: Climate Change, Pollution and Habitat Alteration. The last item you can probably address by collecting money and preserving wildlife parks and reserves, however what you cannot do is stop climate change and pollution. Sooner or later those species will get extinct due to a lack of adaption to changing temperatures in both air and water. Reserves will get lost due to those changes as well when the vegetation will adapt to the climate. Are we going to shift the reserves with the changing vegetation? We pat ourselves on the shoulder and feeling good when we donate $10 to save some cuddly animal when in 10 years their habitat will be gone and meanwhile 1,000-10,000 species died unnoticed.
Can we please concentrate on the bigger picture and raise awareness for that one? Saving a panda is similar to distributing 10 oxygen tanks to a group of 50 people in a burning house. You are selective about the help you are providing and it won’t help long term anyway. Stop acting on symptoms, address the problem.
Next I had an email in from Greenpeace. While I really love the work that Greenpeace is doing and having donated money in the past, I sometimes wonder about their actions.
Along with five other women, I scaled Europe’s tallest skyscraper to show our leaders and Shell that we don’t want Arctic drilling.
I seriously doubt that any Shell executive would care about some people climbing some tall tower. Why on earth would they? And the general public probably is rather wondering why some weirdos would risk their life to climb some building to wave a flag. Seizing a drilling ship or pinning up posters would probably be seen as less extreme and would not shift Greenpeace into the weird treehugger corner.
I believe you have to get the “mainstream” people on your side and that is certainly not what you will be achieving with extreme actions. People cannot connect to it. Most people that I have spoken to did not even know about it. And when I told them, they looked at me blank like: “Why are they doing it?”.
It remind me a bit to the movie “Life of Brian“, the suicide group portraying their resistance to the Roman Empire:
Hope is renewed when the Judean People’s Front come charging towards the Romans, but as a political statement they intentionally commit suicide rather than concentrating their efforts in liberating Brian and his fellow sufferers.
Ranting stop (for now)
What can be done: Much
Buy organic, buy renewable energy, toss your petrol car and get a Hybrid car for a starter or an electric car if you happen to live in a country that has any or if you have enough money. Build better and more efficient houses. Reduce plastic “consumption”. Use the bike, train or bus more if you have public transport.
Push for “responsible” oil companies: The issues of cheap oil and what the solution may be.