Over 300 elephants have mysteriously died in Botswana. They are apparently dropping dead on the spot, tusks and all so it doesn’t seem to be poaching.
For some reason, this makes me cry. I guess it’s because I associate animals with happiness, and having them die for unknown reasons is sad. Elephants can live such a long time, so having them die while young and otherwise healthy seems so cruel.
In the current context, I find it odd that this affects me so much when there are so many people dying of COVID, and dying of other things. Maybe I feel sadder for animals because they don’t “deserve” this, but does that mean I think humans deserve to die?
Maybe I feel a sort of inevitability for humans; we’ve done so much damage to the flora and fauna, nature is just trying to even out the score a bit.
There is an objectively bad movie by M. Night Shyalaman called The Happening. It’s probably not worth watching, but the premise is that plants send out a toxin that causes people to commit suicide. It’s not quite COVID-19, but the politicizing of wearing or not wearing a mask gets us to the same point; it is in the “eating your own young” vein (as in “let’s not protect ourselves and our loved ones” then “oops, just killed grandma!” Senecide, instead of suicide)
There is such a rush to “go back to normal”, with people in rich countries jetting around to wherever they want and feeling affronted if they can’t for some reason. (“What, you mean I can’t go to Goa? I feel so deprived! This is not how I imagined my vacation!”) while a good third of the world is just happy if they manage to have something to put on the dinner table, or sometimes even have a dinner table.
I feel like this is our last chance to get things right. We can do this. We can figure out why the elephants are dying, and maybe stop it. We can care for others by wearing a mask and not spreading our possibly deadly infections around. We can be kinder. We can care.
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