Saturday, 28 January 2012

Biological Diversity is just a fold in the fabric of life.

Today I hopped onto Facebook to find a link to the following page/article:

It is a group called the Center for Biological Diversity, calling for a boycott on the movie "The Grey," which features a group of Alaskan oil workers crash landing in a frozen wilderness teeming with local Grey Wolf packs.

The reason for this dramatic stand? The production crew of the movie hired a local trapper/hunter, Mr. Dick McDiarmid, to catch and kill four wolves. Two of these carcasses were to be used as props for the film, and the other two as meals for the actors, to assist in their ability to do their jobs - sensory engagement and stimulation has a profound impact on acting, and the deeper an actor is immersed in their character and context, the better they perform.

The director is accused of being all manner of things, from wasteful, to disgusting, to evil. Little enough of this vitriolic mudslinging is coming from the Center for Biological Diversity itself, but they are at least partially responsible for the responses they incite in their readers and followers.

Okay, seriously...this boycott is ridiculous. It is fundamentally contradictory and damaging to their cause. They are attacking a tiny little facet of one tiny issue. As the trapper Mr. McDiarmid says he gets $100 per wolf pelt...what do you think happens to the rest of the wolf that is killed for its skin? The meat, offal, bones, claws, fat, much do you want to bet that every piece of every wolf he or anyone else kills is never wasted?

Getting people all fired up over this, for no reason other than they can, and have hollywood hype to exploit, is immoral. Both the Centre and its followers don't even know *why* they are getting angry. A couple of wolves were killed and used for something other than providing for human survival. So *what*? Animals are killed and otherwise used for all manner of things, in huge numbers. This has always been the case ever since humanity came into being...our eyes are not in the front of our skulls for nothing, you know.

The Centre for Biological Diversity is dedicated (as per their description and mission) to preserving endangered species. A noble cause, except this - the Grey Wolf is not endangered. It hasn't been for over a decade, since conservation and sustainable practices were employed 25~ish years ago. The Grey Wolf's genetic diversity may have suffered thanks to American hunters in the past century, but our own race, homo sapiens, has one of the blandest and shallowest gene pools of any species on the planet, which actually now that I think about it, explains a lot. But the Grey Wolf is no longer suffering any more than human overpopulation and the very nature of life itself are causing.

Instead of ideological soapboxing and plugging into Hollywood hype, a moment should be taken to consider that this behaviour and this stance are undermining the justness and integrity of the cause. There are lots and lots of good-hearted, intelligent and educated people putting actual effort and time into researching, to come up with these conclusions, you know - who develop conservation and sustainability practices that are creating a new balance for the 21st Century ecological landscape. Life is about the cycle of energy - and predators have their part to play. Wolves interact best with humans and the prey animals and so on if their populations are controlled (and human population is not), if their contact with humans is minimal, and they are hunted occasionally. As I said, our eyes are in the front of our heads for a reason.

Biological diversity changes all the time, just at a much more placid and unfathomable pace than humans can comprehend. We had better start comprehending it however; just as the people who are actually contributing to resolving these issues are beginning to do. Biodiversity is just a fold in the fabric of life. A thousand years after we humans shuffle off (or get our act together and stop the kind of behaviour I am picking on), the earth will have a flourishing biodiversity, that looks nothing like it did the last time it flourished - a thousand years after Rome fell.

Spitting the dummy about this and not, say, growing one's own vegetables, endorsing sustainable and practicable population controls for humans, or campaigning against the millions of instances other than four wolves in a movie that people participates in the killing of animals for. Boycotting this film is a bit like making a scene at a restaurant if one's vegan meal accidentally contained a little bit of meat, and demanding the meal remade, often and loudly, so everyone around caught up in one's moral crusade that one forgets that to send the dish back is obscenely wasteful, as the animal who died to put the meat in the dish is now dying in vain.

I call for a lull, however momentary, in the ideological soapbox derby, taking a deep breath, and thinking about what's really going on here.

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