Remember the Indominus rex, from Jurassic World? How, once free from its cage, it set off on a deadly rampage throughout the park, killing anything and everything in its path? Leaving behind it fields of slain dinosaurs? It was clear that Indominus was not merely a replacement for “top of the food chain”, it was going to destroy the food chain entirely. This is why Indominus had to ultimately be stopped. Now, try to imagine if there was not just one, but a whole family of Indominus Rexes. Think of the impact it would have on the dinosaur world. Entire species of dinosaurs would be wiped out! The ecosystem would be destroyed! It would even be reasonable to think that, in time, they might be the only species left! Talk about an environmental horror story of an ecosystem gone wrong.
Except that it isn’t just a “story”, metaphorically. This hypothetical dinosaur world represents our own, where- you guessed it!- we’re the Indominus Rex. We humans may not run around chomping into every animal we see, but we murder them nonetheless, in many other ways. Not only do we shoot, stab, catch, and kill magnificent, defenseless animals to sever their heads and put them on walls-faces perpetually contorted in fear or anguish- to look at, but we burn down their homes, strangle them with discarded six-pack-plastic. We hoard hundreds, thousands of them into tiny, disgusting places without enough room to spread a single wing, only to slaughter them in front of each other- a perfect ending to a life of suffering. We spill poison into their ecosystems, slowly and painfully killing thousands, contaminating their home for years to come...
And yet no one is coming to stop us. No one is trying to contain our deadly rampage. We have killed off half the animals on the planet in roughly 50 years (washingtonpost), and no one is checking our power. Because no one can. Because unlike Indominus, there seems to be no other species able to contain us.
But, what if it turned out that killing other species was the only way for the Indominus rex to survive? What if Indominus somehow needed virtually all of the other dinosaurs’ land or meat to exist? Would we think that’s okay? Of course not. It’s not reasonable to sacrifice all the other dinosaurs for the needs of one. So why is it okay for us to? If we were outsiders looking in on our planet, and asked how to balance the ecosystem, I’m pretty sure “contain the humans” would be our first piece of advice.
Like I said, there seems to be no other species able to contain us. But we can still contain ourselves. There is still time for us to collectively realize our mistakes- all of us, not just scattered pockets of us- and scale back the systematic slaughtering of species. However this time that we have, it’s fleeting. And we better act fast, because if we continue with the deadly rampage we’re on, we’ll end up the final casualty of our own destruction.