Thursday, July 8, 2010

Isn't it time to re-educate ourselves?

This was my personal status a week or two ago:
“Once we lived with nature, cooperated with her and understood her, then we "evolved". Now, we have "evolved" so much and taken so much of nature away, that, once again, we have forced nature to live with us. It's time to "evolve" again and learn to understand nature.....are YOU up to the challenge?”

I thought I’d take this time to explain this in more detail.

With the change in phone calls about native wildlife that we have been receiving for the last few years, something has been striking me about our ever changing world. We, humans, as a species have gotten so far away from Nature that we truly do not understand what it does or how it behaves anymore. We think we are somehow responsible for making Nature work? We have forgotten that Nature takes care of Nature in wonderful and much more positive ways. We used to understand this!

Once, our ancestors lived off the land, in cooperation with Nature. They knew how foxes, deer, bear, skunks, and all other species in their area lived, what their habits were; when they moved, how to live in harmony with them and only take from them what was needed. They knew the best time to grow what plants for food and beauty.

We didn’t have refrigeration, so we only killed what we could store and keep safely. The rest was used for clothing, blankets, and other useful items. Our gardens contained enough food to feed our family, our extended family and to use for barter with others. Excess was not something that most humans knew or wanted. In fact, for the most part, it was frowned upon.

As humans have “evolved” and come up with great new inventions, such as refrigeration, air conditioning, cars, etc. we have changed the nature of nature (last part of statement borrowed from Leland, thanks Leland!). Not having to use our feet or horses to get around anymore has made us much more mobile much more quickly. New ways to build, with newer technology has lead to massive, constant building, taking huge, natural areas and making them into big cities. Now we “create” natural areas inside of the artificial environment that we have created. Most of these natural areas contain plants and other things that aren’t even natural to the areas they are put in.

In an effort to survive, Nature is changing to live in this new “environment” that we are creating for it. We never used to get calls about foxes in yards during the day unless something was wrong. We’d never before gotten a bobcat in on rehabilitation. These animals are usually so elusive, that even if they are in trouble, humans never come upon them. In fact, the number of fawn coming into rehabilitation when they truly weren’t in need is increasing year by year. Why is all of this going on? Are more animals really in trouble?

No. Humans have moved into so much of these animals’ natural environment that the animals are “evolving” and adjusting to live WITH us instead of fighting against us. Fewer are showing true fear (which is important for their survival) toward humans. We’ve even witnessed does parking their fawn on people’s back decks, presuming they are safe and fox kits looking into sliding glass doors.

We are continually called to "green" neighborhoods that put so many chemicals on their lawns that they are poisoning native species, like baby bunnies, which in turn poison the hawks who eat them. We have gone into these same neighborhoods and listened as people very proudly explained how the sharp wires that they put around their ponds (which are not visible by humans, so as not to detract from the look of the pond) to keep geese ("messy creatures, aren't they?") out. All the while they are bragging about these wires keeping out the geese, they are explaining how this same sharp wire cut off the foot of a great blue heron. At that point, the same people bragging about this "wonderful wire", makes the statement "we have to take care of our wildlife", meaning the heron, not the geese. Nobody seems upset when the bunnies and geese are harmed (though they do want the bodies removed quickly), but having hawks and herons hurt is something they don't like and don't seem to understand that making a very green area unnaturally green is creating this problem!

Whose right is it to determine which wildlife is desired, acceptable and which are not?

We have given wildlife no choice but to live with us, yet most of us do not understand them nor do we want to live with them. This leaves two choices for wildlife; we kill them all, because we fear them, or we educate ourselves about these beautiful creatures and evolve yet again so that we may all live in harmony once again.

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