Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Plight of the Polar Bear

My work spouse and I had a fight today. Not a physical fight of course, but an argument (although let me go on record as saying I’d have kicked his ass if it had been the former).

We argued about whether saving the Polar Bears is a noble cause.

I used to be something of an environmentalist, donating to Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Fund, and other organizations who I felt were trying to protect our planet and all the innocent creatures who were at risk from the human race’s destructive tendencies. I was also a member of PETA, a Nader supporter, and a knee-jerk critic for pretty much everything American.

The ensuing years have brought about changes in my perspective, and as I’ve said before on this blog, I now consider myself a libertarian. I no longer give money to aid agencies like CARE, because I’ve read enough to believe that the resources often end up being misappropriated to corrupt regimes, and that when they do reach the intended recipients, they tend to create a cycle of dependency. I stopped supporting PETA because I felt that their tactics were ridiculous and ineffective and would never sway the majority of the population towards their cause. And I stopped trying to save the polar bears because I believe that when it comes down to us or them, the human race as a whole will choose its own survival over that of any other species. And let’s face it…if the world population surges as it is expected to, the resources that will be required to support it will mercilessly obliterate any attempts by well-meaning individuals to protect the habitats of their favorite critters. And furthermore…aren’t we being just a little bit arrogant when we assume that we and all of our destructiveness aren’t subject to Nature’s laws? Is it not reasonable to believe that we will be dealt with accordingly when She deems it’s time to even things up a bit?

So, veering away from what could become an esoteric tirade and getting back to the original reason for my post…can a lost cause be a noble cause?

I understood why my co-worker became upset at my fatalistic attitude, although I don’t think I warranted the label of “crazy” that he applied to me. My seeming lack of compassion sometimes upsets me, too. There are simply too many just causes out there, and I have selfishly turned my efforts to the only cause over which I really have any control, and that is me. I try to live morally, to be a good friend, to be kind, and I make attempts to minimize my impact by not letting the water run when I brush my teeth, by walking to work when the weather is nice, by unplugging appliances when they’re not being used, and stuff like that. Oh…and I’m not a breeder, so my “footprint” is automatically less than that of anyone who has a child (like this work spouse of mine, who has spawned TWO children, although to be fair he and his real wife also adopted a child).

Anyway, I’m linking to the website for his organization, The Endangered Species Coaltion, because perhaps there is someone reading this who really DOES think that we can save the polar bears, and with that I wish you all the luck in the world.

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