A Voice for the Voiceless

Image credit: http://images.slideplayer.com/1/2655/slides/slide_4.jpg
Image credit: http://images.slideplayer.com/1/2655/slides/slide_4.jpg

In just twenty-three hours on my

Facebook feed I’ve seen a

bloodied orangutan hands raised in an

attempt to protect its

face, savagely beaten or

trampled underfoot by logging machinery –

I’m not sure which as the caption on the

picture didn’t say. Bloodied to

death or thereabouts because it

happened to “get in the way.”


Small wonder when in the last

twenty years we (as in homo

sapiens – the human race) have


destroyed ninety percent of the

orangutans’ home – for what?

Palm oil. Ruthless destruction of

ancient rainforests with an unparalleled

diversity of life so we can have

margarine, soap and packaged

bread with palm oil in. Really?

Me, I’d rather have the

rainforests and their biodiversity

intact instead.


A dog with some German Shepard

in it stretched out on the highway,

its eyes – now that the spark of

life is gone from them – as dark

as the tarmac it lies upon. Its

companion – fur matted in the

rain – keeps vigil at its

side, licking the stiffening

body of its friend. Is this

grooming a mark of love and

respect, a leave-taking? Or

an endeavour to revive, to

lick the life back into

him? I’ll never know, but

either way the cars speed

by unheeding, uncaring;

oblivious to the

dogs and their pain.


A polar bear a sack of

skin and bones, chronically

enfeebled from weeks without

sufficient food, suffering the

discomfort of an injured leg –

and what slim hope does she

have of finding food in the

weeks to come when we (homo

sapiens – the human race) have

elevated the temperature of the

planet so much that the sea ice

where she and her companions

find their seal prey has

diminished so rapidly that

it’s been at a record

low for the past eight years?


I see these things and

I am grieved, sick to

my heart. What monsters

of destruction, what

harbingers of death

we have become.


And what strikes me in all

of this is not just the blatant

disregard for the planet, for

animal life, for any

life except that of our

own; but also the fact that

both the rainforests and the

oceans are largely enigmas

to us, huge swathes of land and

water that we have hardly

set foot in, full of a

multitude of life forms yet



Do you know of any other

animal with a hand so

far-reaching that it somehow

manages to destroy habitats

and ecosystems it has

barely explored, bestowing on

them such irreparable harm?


Do you know of any other

animal that has left such

deeply imprinted footprints

on our planet – the echoes of

which will resound for

hundreds, maybe

thousands, of years?


When did we forget that

we are one with nature?


When did we lose our

sense of awe, appreciation

and respect for the other

animals, for the miracle of

life all around, for our

life-sustaining Mother Earth?


When did we lose

respect for ourselves –

become marauders, destroyers,

the poisoners of our planet –

instead of the custodians our

ancestors and the indigenous

peoples knew to be?


Have we, in our single-minded

race for ‘progress,’ lost sight of

the fact that we, like all the

other animals, are only

granted the gift of

life through the upholder of

all that breathes on this planet, our

beautiful, sustaining Mother Earth?


Can we really imagine

that our bank accounts, our

cars, our jobs and our kitchen

refurbishments are going to

save us when the forests are

gone, taking with them the trees

that breathe out the life-

giving oxygen we breathe in?


Can we really believe that

our smartphones, our degrees,

our encyclopaedias full of

knowledge, our modern conveniences

and our pensions will do

anything to deliver us

when the temperature of the

planet rises above a level that is

bearable for human life, and the

melting sea ice results in such

high sea levels that ocean

waters cascade into our homes?


When we ruthlessly

routinely destroy

the trees, the air, the

water, the soil – the very

ecosystems of our planet, how

can we hope to save our

fellow species? How can we

hope to save our own?


When are we going to

stand up and accept the

responsibility for trying

to put right some of the

devastation we have done?


Are we, in fact, going to

do something about it

while there’s still time;

while we still can?