Fat bear. Skinny bear.
October 31, 2015 § 4 Comments
Summer bears are fat. Winter bears are skinny. Bears eat when food is abundant, sleep when it isn’t. Averaged over the course of a year, bears exist on just enough.
The needs of bears have not increased across the history of the species. A bear’s “enough” looks the same today as it did when the first bear found a berry patch.
Perhaps it is because we are self-aware and therefore driven by the need to impress, perhaps it is because our clever brains are always improving on the berry patch, but our species has never been satisfied with enough. As humans we demand an ever-expanding “more.”
On the macro scale, “more” is the thumping machine of an economy that falters if it does not constantly grow. On the personal scale, “more” is the never-ending flood and ebb of acquisition and disposal.
Where “enough” is steady and satisfied, “more” is restless and insatiable.
When humans were a scattered few the ecosystems of this planet could tolerate our voracious appetites. There was plenty of give in the system.
Not any more. We are the experiment that is about to overrun the petri dish. We cover every surface, consume every raw material, and turning things around seems unlikely because we believe in our right to more. We believe that more is necessary.
In a recent debate a Republican presidential candidate, accused of being a climate change denier, said, no, he believed that it was real but that the American economy couldn’t afford to do anything about it. He contended that a faltering economy was more dangerous than a faltering planet. He chose blindness over insight.
And it is easier than ever to turn away from the results of our use and abuse. A virtual landscape never shows damage. It is forested, pristine. It can be color-enhanced to make the sky look even bluer.
Instead of viewing the results of our greed we can now choose an idealized, sanitized and prettified version of the real world.
The more we shift our gaze from the day in front of us to the one dawning on the screen in our hand, the less likely we are to survive as a species.
Take a look at what is real, and consider the simple math of limited supply and limitless demand. The more we acquire, use up, and pollute, the more degraded, simplified, and inelastic the natural environment becomes.
Our invented collective systems, economic and political, are not going to save us. Our only hope is to change the one thing over which we have control.
It is time to embrace what every bear knows. Enough is enough.
Speaking of those bears both fat and skinny, the state of Florida just staged a bear hunt because, in our quest for more, we could not leave them enough space statewide to accommodate 3,000 of their kind.
They pose a threat to our garbage cans. In their quest for enough they consider what we throw away a meal.
Besides, wouldn’t a stuffed bear be a great trophy to add to the others? One can never have too many.
Note: To see bears in action go to this live-cam. What wonderful creatures.