Nurturing creativity with art, animals, and science fiction

Tag: habitat encroachment

Banned! Too political, they said.

The Artdog Image of Interest

Normally when we think of a banned book or other communication, we assume it’s considered pornographic or inflammatoryAnd of course we immediately become curious, if we’re most people.

But . . . they banned a supermarket chain’s Christmas ad, designed for children, as “too political” to broadcast in the UK.

Say what?

This week’s Image of Interest is a video whose story kind of begs for me to pass it on. Yes, it’s designed for kids, and yes, it does make a strong point. Whether or not that point is a dangerous or political point, I’ll let you decide. It just might be the most adorable banned video you’ll ever see.

You see, the point isn’t about a political party or a politician. It doesn’t consist of hate speech, and it’s not inciting anyone to rise up in rebellion against the government. It’s not attempting to inhibit any unalienable human rights.

It’s about deforestation and habitat loss due to palm oil cultivation and production, and it’s also about orangutanstopics I’ve addressed on this blog within recent months. What it does have the audacity to do is point out a problem that is widely acknowledged in scientific and environmental circles, and largely ignored or unknown by the general public.

I consider it my honor and privilege to spread this message as far as my humble little blog can spread itIt appears that lots of others feel the same way I didThe world’s caring people need to learn about, and pay more attention to this problem, before all the Pongo Faces are gone forever.

IMAGE/VIDEO: Many thanks to Iceland FoodsGreenpeaceAustralia’s The New Dailyand YouTube, for access to this banned video.

Needs, yes. Greed? Not so much.

The Artdog Quote of the Week

Several posts this month have obliquely referenced the difference between need and wildest “want.” as it applies to the use of resources. From the very first post through discussions of respect for the original (animal and plant) inhabitants of an ecosystem, habitat encroachment, the role of corporations, and all the way through sustainable protein, this blogger has explored a range of eco-centric questions that weigh upon the fate of life on Earth–and beyond.

We only have one Earth, so far. Let us not exceed its capacity, until we have the capability to live beyond this sphere!

IMAGE: Many thanks to Seeking Answers from April 2013, via Green Heart at Work, for this image and quote from Mahatma Gandhi.

Habitat encroachment

I’d like to expand on Monday’s meditation a bit more, if you’ll indulge me. It, a recent conversation I had with my sister, and couple of articles I read in, of all places, The Costco Connectionhave inspired me to continue thinking about the intersection of humans with nature.

One of the ways that humans increasingly intersect with nature is through habitat encroachment. It’s a common theme: humans move into an area, change it to suit themselves, and push other species out.

I’ve been unable to find the origin of this photo, or which rainforest it is (my guess is the Amazon). But it’s a pretty stark example.

The story of the Ivory-billed Woodpeckers from Saturday’s post is a classic example. Their last known-for-sure habitat was in the so-called Singer Tract of old-growth forest in Louisiana. Even before it was being logged by the Chicago Mill and Lumber Company, conservationists were trying to preserve it. However, the business interests of the time fought these efforts, going to the extent of actually logging it faster than normal, until the final bit was cleared–and the last known-for-sure Ivorybill had disappeared.

As in the photo above, we often think of habitat encroachment as horrifying raw gashes in virgin rainforest, and it’s a major issue there, for sure. Rainforest destruction is actually increasing–even though we know the rainforests are our best defense against climate change and a host of other ills.

Different continent, same habitat-devastation problem. This photo was taken in Africa.

But habitat encroachment is a problem literally everywhere that humans exist. No matter where you live, a few centuries ago it either was virgin land with no humans on it, or supporting a much smaller human population than it is today. We (and our invasive companion animal species) have done untold damage to our own local environments.

Do you ever have raccoons in your garbage (or, more dangerous, bears)? Are you troubled by the fear of foxes or coyotes snatching your pet from your back yard? Before you get all indignant about pesky varmints, it’s well to remember that they were here first. Historically, the human answer to such issues was to kill, or at least remove, the wildlife.

Bears eating unsecured trash may seem like a nuisance, but the situation is dangerous for both the humans and the bears.

But eventually there’s no place left to go. Sooner or later, we either co-exist and take intelligent precautions–or the animals will go the way of too many lost species before them. Whether it’s elephants on the roads of Sri Lanka or coyotes in suburban US back yards, it’s getting to the point where the humans just can’t have it all their own way. Humans now live alongside mountain lions in Los Angeles; across the Pacific, humans live alongside tigers in places like the Sundarbans of India.

In the recent Nature miniseries Animals with Cameras, one of the episodes featured sheepdogs ranging the hills of southern France among a flock of sheep–and very effectively deterring the predations of a pack of gray wolves that had recently returned to an area where they previously had been eliminated. Here and there, people are learning it’s possible–even valuable–to learn to coexist.

Some traditions are really effective: sheepdog with a flock of sheep in southern France. The dog is one of several related local types used to protect the sheep from wolves; this kind of sheep-protection is the origin of the Great Pyrenees breed. (Photo by John Linnell).

Interactions between wildlife and humans will only become more frequent in the future, as climate change further disrupts habitat and changes patterns, to add to the increasing interactions due to urban sprawl and human population growth. A new way of looking at the situation is beginning to emerge–but all too many humans still react with fear, misunderstanding, and deadly force when confronted with unexpected wildlife “invading” spaces that until recently belonged to them.

But these are baby-steps, in the grand scheme of things. It will take a lot more public education before we routinely see developers and civic planners thinking in terms of preserving and planning for wildlife corridorshighways consciously built to minimize roadkill, and many other strategies designed to help wildlife species continue to exist, despite the omnipresence of humans.

IMAGES: Many thanks to Munchee Daily’s article on World Wildlife Day 2016, for the “Wiping out Rainforests” photo; to the African Wildlife Foundation, for the photo of the devastated African rainforest; to Bear-Smart Durango (Colorado) for the photo of the bear cub and the trash; and to John D. C. Linnell and Science Daily for the photo of the french sheepdog with its flock.

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