“Love is the sap of the tree of Life.”
As I was writing my recent post “Just A Leaf” I came up with the simile “tree of life” which I had obviously heard or seen elsewhere. I was struck by the way the leaf was part of this tree which gave it life and in which it played its own role in sustaining the life of the tree. This thought then expanded out into how we humans could be seen as part of a tree of life as well. What about our dogs, the wuppies, are they part of a tree of life as well? The same tree or a different tree? Is there only one tree of life or are there multiple trees of life, perhaps one tree per species? There would then be the tree of life for humans and the tree of life for dogs and another for cats and another for each of the species that make up life on this planet. A pretty big concept. A whole forest of trees of life covering the planet. But when I saw this forest in my minds eye there seemed to be a number of dead grey lifeless trees littering this lush green forest, the trees of those species that have gone extinct, died out. Trees with labels like dodo, tasmanian tiger, passenger pigeons, pyrenean ibex and others. There was an excellent article published in the UK Telegraph which details a number of these extinctions, read it here. The view became clearer as I saw the human tree of life overshadowing many of the others and cutting off life-giving light to some with its broad overreaching branches.
This view might have been influenced in part by the news I read recently of the death of the last remaining male northern white rhino. There now remains only two females of this entire species which once roamed Africa in their hundreds, possibly thousands. Why has it got to such a critical state for this ruggedly-beautiful species with links back to the dinosaur age? Old men with erectile problems. Thats right, the answer lies primarily in the belief by many older men that the Chinese remedy of powdered rhinoceros horn is a most efficacious remedy for failing libido as they get older. This demand for a wonder remedy for older mens’ erectile disfunction has led to poaching and killing on a broad scale of the source of the remedy, rhinoceros, just so older men can rage against the natural decrease in sexual function as they age and continue to have sex as if they were still in their youth. This seems so out of balance and integrity as to be laughable, until you consider the plight of the rhinoceros. These large magnificent beasts being wiped out for just such a small proportion of their bodies, and for such an unnecessary purpose.
As chance would have it, I also came across the release of the Living Planet Report 2018 and the startling observation from it that about 60% of all verterbrates, excluding humans, had disappeared from the planet since the last report in 1970. That’s right, 60% in just over 40 years!! Maths is not my strong suit but it would seem to me that at that rate of destruction we will have wiped out all other verterbrates within the next twenty years or so. Can this be right? Surely not. Is the crescendo of the anthropocene era closer than we think as we then crash headlong into the sixth extinction?
“The anthropocene era is a proposed epoch dating from the commencement of significant human impact on Earth’s geology and ecosystems.”
There is an excellent book called “The Sixth Extinction” by Elizabeth Kolbert detailing the path in to this anthropocene era and the likely cataclysmic extinction of life as we know it, in what could be called a slow suicide by humans. It is written by a journalist so it is not some turgid scientific journal and is highly recommended reading if you want a better understanding of where we are, where we have come from and where we are likely going to.
In the saddest of all coincedences, whilst I was writing this post on the “trees of life” the shocking news came in of yet another mass shooting in the USA, this time at the “Tree Of Life” synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA, where eleven people were killed by a single gunman armed with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. Eleven more families left to mourn and suffer from the loss of their loved ones for the rest of their lives. All because one man, an anti-semite, decided to focus his hatred on just one branch on the human tree of life, those of the Jewish faith. With over 12,000 gun-related murders in the USA this year to date, 2018, adding to over 20,000 gun-related suicides, is the USA branch on the tree of life on its own individual path to self-extinction?
Love may be the sap but unless all humans can develop love and empathy for each other and for all other living things there may well be an end to all trees of life.
- Telegraph extinctions article
- Last male white rhino dies
- Living Planet Report 2018
- Anthropocene Era
- The Sixth Extinction
- The Tree of Life mass shooting
- USA gun violence data
Image courtesy of Pixabay