"Wildlife is wonderful. We don’t need any other excuse to protect it." Starbuck [21:53]
As I my fingertips play across my keyboard tonight, I'm still very much riding the crest of pure loved-up adrenaline.
So there's no time to enrich your lives with my musings, and unfortunately there's no time to harvest the encoded thoughts and feelings of my contemporaries in electronic communication. 'Cos I want to go and cuddle my girlfriend.
Here's a chunk of it's wisdom for you all, which I would have written myself had I been eloquent (or erudite, to use a word I've never used before). I wish we could all understand the world a little better. The reverse-entropy thing has always made so much sense to me. I guess its forged me into the strong humane individual that I arrogantly insist I am (and I am always right etc etc etc). If more people understood the true meaning life, then perhaps we wouldn't be in such a messed-up place. Anyway, enough of me.
"It is surely sufficient to say that wildlife should be preserved because it is wonderful.
But, somehow, most conservationists can't quite bring themselves to do so. Even those who admit that they want to protect it because they love it can't leave it at that, but insist on seeking some higher justification. It used to be God; now they claim to be acting for "the sake of the planet" or "the ecosystem" or "the future".
As far as the planet is concerned, it is not concerned. It is a lump of rock. It is inhabited by clumps of self-replicating molecules we call lifeforms, whose purpose is to reverse entropy for as long as possible, by capturing energy from the sun or other lifeforms. The ecosystem is simply the flow of captured energy between these lifeforms. It has no values, no wishes, no demands. It neither offers nor recognises cruelty and kindness.
Like other lifeforms, we exist only to replicate ourselves. We have become so complex only because that enables us to steal more energy. One day, natural selection will shake us off the planet. Our works won't even be forgotten. There will be nothing capable of remembering.
But a curious component of our complexity is that, in common with other complex forms, we have evolved a capacity for suffering. We suffer when the world becomes a less pleasant and fascinating place. We suffer because we perceive the suffering of others.
It appears to me that the only higher purpose we could possibly possess is to seek to relieve suffering: our own and that of other people and other animals. This is surely sufficient cause for any project we might attempt. It is sufficient cause for the protection of fine art or rare books. It is sufficient cause for the protection of rare wildlife.
Biodiversity, in other words, matters because it matters. If we are to protect wildlife, we must do it for ourselves. We need not pretend that anything else is bidding us to do so. We need not pretend that anyone depends upon the king protea or the golden toad or the silky sifaka for their survival. But we can say that, as far as we are concerned, the world would be a poorer place without them."