Here are three personal activisms most people can do. Let’s start with the difficult one.
|The Single Most Effective Thing You Can do
for Animal Life
|~ Make fewer babies ~
|70,000 years ago there were 15,000 people on Earth.
Now we exceed seven billion.
More people means more garbage-less-nature.
|See more about the World Human Population.
And now for the other two personal activism, that almost anyone can do.
Let's Stop 'It'
People always call an animal an it
, whereas they call a human a he
. But an elephant, chimpanzee, horse, cat or mouse is as much a he
as a human. Calling an animal it
makes him an inanimate depersonalised object to which we may feel we can do anything we like without moral thought. As the philosopher Jeremy Bentham said: "animals...stand degraded into the class of things." (1) We compound the offence by calling our own inanimate creations, like a car, ship or country, a she
, as though they are sentient beings.
Where should we draw the line? Should we go so far as to call insects him
? Yes, because by creating a barrier we create uncertainty about where to put the barrier. Furthermore, insects are deserving of more moral respect than people generally give them. Science is discovering that insects are not simple-minded, totally guided by instinct, but rely much more on advanced mental mechanisms than hitherto assumed:
“Insects display a variety of phenomena involving simple forms of tool use, attention, social learning…, emotional states and metacognition, all phenomena that were once thought to be the exclusive domain of much larger-brained animals.” (2)
Invertebrate harmony is the view that we should try to live in harmony with all creatures no matter what their moral status and treat them with respect and compassion. So let us practice animal rights at the lowest level, that of the invertebrates: like bees, ants, all sorts of bugs, spiders, worms and other animals without a backbone. Invertebrates make up 98 percent of animal species, are vital to the well-being of the biosphere, and we can learn to appreciate them and the many wonderful things they do.
People harm lots of invertebrates for very little reason and often commit the number fallacy: because there are lots of them it does not matter if we kill them. But neither number nor body size determine the value of life. On the economic front many invertebrate species benefit the human economy; it is only a few species that harm it. Moreover, without flower pollination, the churning of the soil and other key functions carried out by our boneless friends, life as we know it would largely cease.
Invertebrates are tiny, but if we are aware of them and practice invertebrate harmony, even on a small scale, then we shall be more compassionate beings. And by standing and watching invertebrates we shall also have a better appreciation of the wonder of life.
(1) Bentham, Jeremy. An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation
. 1789:311, chapter xvii.
(2) Perry C J et al. The Frontiers of Insect Cognition.
Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences. 16, 2017.
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