I have tried to understand why the global
outrage of the shooting of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe was so
In addition the incarceration of Ustad
the dominant male tiger from Ranthambore into a cage
received huge global coverage in the social media.
In both cases these were big iconic
animals, magnificent specimens. Both were ambassadors, they
allowed human beings to photograph and interact with them.
Both had names. Both were wronged by human beings. Cecil was
killed and Ustad incarcerated.
In the greater scheme of things Cecilís
death is not that serious. As an aging dominant male he was
probably at the end of his tenure. Ustadís incarceration is
more serious because tigers in the wild are down to 3000
(some say itís closer to 1000). Ustad, having been removed,
a younger male will take his territory and new genes will be
So why are so many people so incensed? I
believe these ďnamed iconsĒ are symbols of what we as
human-beings are doing to planet earth. Instinctively we
know we cannot continue on this destructive path. Climate
change, human population growth, hamburger culture (use of
land under cattle) and burning fossil fuels are far more
important than Cecil the lion or Ustad the tiger. However,
we canít get to grips with them, they are too big and they
I recently went to the city to buy my
daughter a motor car. Naively I believed that I would have
the pick of several makes of electrically powered,
environmentally friendly cars. I was completely mistaken.
Only Toyota had a Hybrid (runs on electrics and petrol),
none were available in the country and the last one had sold
4 months ago. No other brands were even contemplating
bringing environmentally cars into South Africa.
Now the burning of fossil fuels is far
more important than Cecil the lion or Ustad the tiger, but
we do nothing! We are paralysed.
Only when the public refuse to buy petrol
and diesel cars will the motor companies produce
environmentally friendly cars. Only when mass media and
social media and people are protesting outside the motor
companies, like they did outside Palmers dental practice,
will the motor companies change. Itís never going to
So we are like the frog happy in the warm
water, gradually moving to boiling point.
In the political and financial magazines
of the world, the people we admire most are the rich people.
Forbes magazine is always listing the richest people in the
world, the richest people in the USA. (I look for my name
but it always seems to be missing). Therefore monetary
wealth is the yardstick.
Countries too are listed. The wealthiest
countries spend the most on the military. It seems a country
thatís wealthy needs to spend an awful lot on protecting
that wealth and protecting their supply of oil .
Have you ever seen a list of the most
environmentally friendly countries, the least polluted
countries and the cruelest free country and the most
spiritual country. If so, please send it to me.
Have you ever seen a politician or head
of state survive who puts the environment ahead of the
economy? Therefore our global values are to create wealth.
Not sustainable wealth, just wealth! The richer are getting
richer and the poorer are getting poorer. Hardly a recipe
for global peace.
Our ethics are disintegrating. We shoot
male lions in enclosures where there is no chance of escape
for large amounts of money (as the rand weakens, the canned
lion industry will expand because it's paid in dollars).
We separate young elephants from their
mothers and send them to China, the cruelest country in the
world, to pay off debt.
We kill millions of sharks to satisfy the
shark fin soup market which is a luxury for rich people.
We chase animals with beaters while
wealthy ďhuntersĒ sit on raised deck chairs blasting away at
the big, the small and the pregnant.
The list goes on and on. The laws of the
countries are all written from a human perspective. Nowhere
do they acknowledge the rights of animals to exist in a non
Except for Buddhism, none of our
religions protect and acknowledge the rights of fellow
species. Many of the religions in fact promote animal
cruelty in their religious ceremonies.
Therefore our values donít protect the
earth and fellow species. Our laws donít either, neither do
our religions, and our leaders are in the business of
gaining at much personal wealth while they are in power.
We are morally, ethically and
ďThe world is waiting
For a new direction
One based on
The laws of NatureĒ
Tread lightly on the Earth