It is tragic when the idealism of youth begins to fade away and die. When humanity is revealed for what it is rather than what you thought it was the disappointment can be paralyzing. That one word now encompasses the entirety of my view of human society: disappointment.
More tragic is the disappointment you feel when you have carried such idealism longer than most. The hopes that are finally abandoned. The feelings at realizing your naivety.
I carried until recently the naïve belief that the diversity of wildlife on this earth as well as their habitat could be saved, preserved, from human destruction… usually called erroneously: development. In my youth the wildlife agencies that pleaded for donations to save this or that animal or wildlife refuge were still pleading for donations to save those very same animals or preserves, or in many cases reporting the demise of said animal or preserve, today. What a fool I have been. I contributed money to those groups thinking, foolishly, that the money would go to more than salaries and producing more advertisements for donations. To say these agencies were ineffective is to use too mild a word. Needless to say, I have stopped all donations to such groups. Instead I have given money to zoos, the last… real… refuge of soon to be extinct animals.
To be sure, it isn’t just my naivety about the environment that has been lost. It is also my opinion about the general honorable nature of humans that has been cast aside. That sense that humans are a noble species is a victim of my loss of naivety. I had held so much more hope for human beings. I had thought that humans would eventually see what they are doing to this planet and would take action. Well, they took action alright. Over the last fifty plus years I have been cognizant of what has been going on I have seen the destruction under the guise of “development” continue and accelerate.
Ignorance supported by many means has permitted the continued growth of human population. Those that come after, never having seen what was before, see what remains and proclaim “we’ll just use what we need to build our homes and make what wild remains fit for what is left” never realizing that each generation before and after does and will do the same. Those of the older generation, like me, that have been alive long enough to see the carnation wrought by at least two generations are pooh-poohed, and ignored. Even those who say they support nature seek out new places to build that dream home tearing down forests rather than renovating old structures, or tearing old structures down to rebuild in a spot already cleared. What can I say? Even my generation is guilty of this.
I imagine the limits of this earth will prevent a situation where we will be standing elbow to elbow with no room to move. The poisons we create will be enough to suffocate us before then as well.
The “most intelligent life on earth”, what a nice epitaph that will make.