My life has changed a lot in the past two years. It all started with a single nutrition book. I am a university graduate with a degree in general business. I have no speciality.. I know some business.. but that’s about it. I don’t exactly have an extensive list of hobbies.. but one day I decided perhaps it’s time to learn a bit about nutrition so I know what is going into my body and maybe it will help me be healthier or “lose weight”. That one book literally changed my life. I went out with a friend on Saturday and she told me that ‘I’m a completely different person than I was in university’. One book was able to change my life so completely.
It started with one book, then a few more, then a handful of nutrition and health documentaries on Netflix. Then I started taking nutrition classes. One of them being a nutrition and the environment class. I’ve always been interested in the environment and trying to be gentle on it. Making conscious decisions. But this class opened my eyes to SO many more things than I could have imagined. I became a vegan (mostly. work in progress!) in September in order to help save the environment. The impact that meat and fish eating has on the environment is astronomical. From there I started reading books on sustainability. I read the book The Sustainability Secret and it was life changing. It made me want to find more information on the environment and living sustainably, which led me to more books, and more documentaries.
I’ve become aware of the environmental and human concerns with fashion which as all but completely stopped me from shopping for anything. I watched documentaries on plastic and it’s terrible effects on the planet. (seriously, stop buying plastic – it lives for EVER) We see all the packaging and plastics on every item. Like seriously, does every cucumber need to be wrapped in plastic? And from there I learned about toxins and chemicals. Marketing companies are GENIUSES. Do you have any idea how many chemicals are in the makeup you think you need to wear, even the clothing and furniture you buy. It’s overwhelming. And then finally it led me to climate change. My topic of obsession at the moment.
A couple weeks ago I read this book called The Sixth Extinction. I read the first chapter on Amazon’s preview and it was captivating. The author Elizabeth Kolbert discusses frogs in South America and how they are going extinct. They have been around since before the dinosaurs, yet us humans, are causing their extinction. They can outlive an asteroid, yet they can’t outlive us. Which is where I come to my current thoughts about humans, oh wonderful humans. Whenever I try and talk to people about climate change I instantly see their eyes glaze over. Somehow people don’t want to believe it’s real. I read in a Maclean’s article today that only 47% of Americans even believe in it. Less than 1 in 2 people. That astounds me when the signs are so obvious around us. I think in large part that we don’t believe in it because we are so conceited and self-loving that we could never blame ourselves for causing the enormous earth to be heading towards another mass extinction. And there lies my problem.
Humans think we are the most powerful, strongest and smartest species on the planet. Whenever I try and talk to someone about being vegan I am always met with the same response “we are top of the food chain”, “we’re meant to eat meat” … which are such conceited thoughts. If a grizzly bear wants to take me down, it will. Perhaps I can be “smarter” than this bear by carrying a gun, but I don’t have one. Also, my teeth don’t look the same as a cats teeth. Where are my giant canines? Hm, don’t have those either – meanwhile a cat is an obligatory carnivore. Aka: they need to eat meat to survive. We don’t.
This weekend I was in a great mood. But then one quick comment about finances completely switched my mood. I started to worry about my mortgage payment, my school tuition, my credit card bills and I instantly wanted to break down. And then I start to wonder. How is it that we can be the “superior” species, yet we live the most constricted life out there. I’m awake 16 hours of the day, and 50% of that time I’m at work. Not to say I don’t like my job, but if I didn’t have to worry about money, do you think I would be sitting in an office working on spreadsheets for 50% of my day? I work 40+ hours a week just to make enough money to “get by”, pay off my bills, and then head back to work in order to do it all over again. Sure, I travel a bit, but most of the money on my credit card bills is to things like home insurance, car insurance and groceries. ‘Necessities’. If I’m supposed to be the superior race, why am I working at a job that doesn’t make me love life to the fullest 50% of my waking hours. Just to afford things that our society seems to make us think we need.
From a world standpoint – isn’t it strange that we are the only species that puts on a pair a pants every morning? We build these giant houses that serve little purpose. And put on makeup, drive fancy cars and buy “art” and other aesthetically pleasing things. When was the last time you saw a white-tailed deer, or a gorilla put on a pair of pants, pack up his briefcase and head off in his Porsche to work a 9-5? I’m pretty sure that deer is laughing at me as it frolics through what’s left of the forest valley.
How can I be considered the most superior, intellectual being on the planet, yet I am held back by my own species? I live in this tiny constraints that society has put on me. I have to have a “good” job, wear specific clothing, and look a specific way. I’m expected to get married, have children, own a home. Yet in order to do these things I need money. This piece of paper that when you look at what it’s made of, it is quite literally worthless, yet we put so much worth to it. I am controlled by a small piece of cotton paper. (I suppose it’s no longer made of cotton I guess..).
I’ve done so much research on climate change, and got so interested in natural history. I’ve learned about the creation of the earth and the moon. Learned about the major extinctions, ice ages, heat waves. The earth is cyclical. We’re supposed to be in an ice age but we are heating up the planet at an insane rate. There is no clear solution on how to slow down the warming that we are creating, so it’s time to come to terms with the fact that, we, the superior humans, are doomed for extinction. This lifestyle that we created is what will be our own demise.
If I’m so superior, why am I the only species worried about paying bills, meeting deadlines, and living up to certain expectations. What kind of life is that? If it were up to me, every person would have rights to their own plot of land, and they could do as they please with it. Pay no taxes or mortgages on this land and live their life exactly how they want to. But the rich will always want to be richer, and greed in our “intelligent” species will always survive. And I will be here, wondering, wouldn’t it have been easier to be a deer? Or perhaps a seagull. They seem to have a pretty relaxing life.