In the world of animals, it’s not just the endangered animals but every living creature that’s worthy of our caretaking. It’s hard for me to be so all inclusive, because visions of giant cockroaches are creeping into my mind’s eye, but the truth is that every living thing has a place.
I’m not one to believe that animals have the exact same rights as people, (otherwise we’d have to put aside obedience training funds in equal amounts to little Johnny’s college fund) but they certainly do have the right not to be treated cruelly without purpose or meaning.
And to protect species in danger of disappearing forever, we could take the following steps:
o Education about the endangered animal, especially in schools near their habitat
o Breeding programs where children could learn about animal health and care
o Eco-tourism that would support both of the above
I’m not a fool; I realize these programs take money and time. But to me, the biggest problem is a rampant lack of ethics among world leaders who could be supporting their people and their animals but choose not to. This may due to greed or stupidity, but whatever the cause, I believe there is a solution.
And that would be?
In one simple word, Communication.
It’s so easy for people to think of themselves as separate from others, either animals or people. When you’re far away from trouble, and have nothing much to do with it on a personal level, it’s easier to pretend it doesn’t exist.
Here’s an example- Were you upset when you heard about the horrific loss of life, both human and animal, after China’s last big earthquake? If you did then you are especially sensitive to the world and that’s quite unusual today. For many people, unless they knew someone personally involved in the tragedy, it seemed too far away to fret about for long.
The same goes for animal protection, especially for some of the species that may not be quite so cuddly, like reptiles or other exotic pets and animals. One of the things that Steve Irwin brought to every TV-watching citizen of the world was his appreciation for the “scary animals” like crocodiles, snakes or Tasmanian devils. I miss his exuberant “Isn’t she a beauty?” His legacy is a strong one, and because of his show I think many more animals are looked upon kindly than were before.
He is a good example of what communication can do because it doesn’t always have to be one on one. For example, I believe that through art we have one of the best forms of communication. It’s not a “Hello and how are you” kind of communication, but a way to evoke warm feelings and closeness with both the artist and the creation.
Which brings me to my next point. Art can be a softener, a communicator and something that can change the way people feel about things. Specifically, it can increase awareness of our entire world, including all its creatures, both human and animal.
If I were a filmmaker I’d create a movie with impact about the lemurs of Madagascar, who are losing their world to encroaching civilization. Or perhaps I’d go on a voyage of discovery to China where the giant pandas shuffle through their bamboo forests.
Art is a big subject. It can help bring about an understanding between people and even species. I truly believe that everyone can create, and everyone should. And if your creativity should take you in a direction towards greater protection and understanding of the world of animals, good for you!