Lawn mowing is the symbolic practice of an individual, meeting the needs of society to maintain human territory. I understand that my last job was preserving a home by fire-scaping the surrounding acreage, but I continuously asked myself, “At what cost?” Every bit of brush and weeds that I cut, was a habitat for other creatures.
What does it mean to be a human? Some humans get pleasure from causing suffering. Like a cat toying with a dying mouse. I’ve always been repulsed by the need to be the instrument of death, but afterwards I feel like it was the right thing to do. I feel bad for the soul of the guy who drives the exterminator truck.
What is the appropriate response to suffering? Compassion would say all creatures big and small deserve our sympathy. As humans we dominate the landscape, and it makes me want to ask, “At what point do we set aside our perspective that humans are the most important life form, and recognize that we are the biggest vector?”
Our population doesn’t need help growing. The medical field is advanced to the point that we live long lives. When do we start giving assistance to the true victims of our expansion and dominance of the planet?
What about the animals? We call them vectors if they impact the environment or our population in degenerative ways. Like wild pigs, seagulls, rats, mice, or any other human pathogen carrying animal. Isn’t that us?
In the trades this comes up for me regularly. I drop a tree to clear a house site, and a squirrel nest is at my feet in the broken trunk. What am I supposed to do? Do the little babies with no hair have a chance? They are rats with pretty tails.
One of my favorite tools to build with is the shovel, and it becomes a spear. Then I have to dig a grave….
I could get a cat to avoid the use of poison, and then I’d be feeding the number one killer of song birds. I think I’ll name my cat Tweety Plague. I’ll keep him lean and he’ll be happy as an inside cat.
The cat I should get to keep the rodent population in check, is the number one killer of the song birds.