What if those who are never heard
would actually be listened to by political decision-makers?
Imagine that representatives of different species were invited to attend an important national or international meeting, for example a parliamentary session of the German Bundestag or the European Union or maybe a United Nations Conference. Among them are many who might not be considered extremely important or very popular species (like spiders, flies, tits, mice, worms, algae, bacteria etc.), but they insist that they want to be heard. What would they tell politicians and lawmakers about their situation, the interdependence and vulnerability of ecosystems and current conservation efforts? What would be their major statements, suggestions, complaints or political demands?
Here are speeches by some animals attending the first cross-species wildlife conference:
I am literally beginning to doubt humanity. Humans should be trying to make the world a better place, a place which is worth living in. Without us, the animals, no ecosystem would work properly, though ecosystems are vital for the survival of humans, too.
Instead of caring for their environment, humans build streets and I do not know what else in regions where there have not been any settlements yet. I am asking you if you know how much animals suffer from the man-made loss of living space? I do not want to constantly live in fear of dying anymore and I do not know how long I can still take it. It is horrible not to know how long I will be able to fight for my very own survival. It hurts to see all of my friends and family die.
Humans are always complaining about how hard it is to help us, but this argument does not make any sense to me. If you stopped pollution, deforestation and climate change, there would be little need to help us! I think I do not talk only for myself when I say that the current situation is your own fault, isn't it?
I am begging for protection, begging to get my liberty back and I am asking for an explanation why animals have to go through all this, because no one of us did something to deserve this! There are fewer and fewer reasons for me to see the good and kind in people, while I notice more and more selfishness. In the past animals and humans were able to share the planet, because back then no one hurt others on purpose. The world was a better place back then and humans have to go back to this sustainable way of living to save the wildlife! I bet everything would change if humans themselves were threatened with extinction.
Why is nothing done for us? Why do you keep enlarging your human habitats though you don`t need to? You are destroying our animal habitats and our future for no reason. You are taking our habitats away from us - bit by bit - because you cannot get enough and cannot suppress your greed. But now you have to stop it! We need more space which humans don`t enter. We need our liberty back! We want a place to live without having to defend it and without being stressed because we might lose it soon!
Furthermore, you should be aware that you don’t only hurt us, but also your fellow humans. The poorer people live in poverty and therefore they cannot survive without hunting us. They hunt more and more of us without even thinking about it, while the rich people on this planet have more money than they could ever spend. A solution could be that the rich learned to share with the poor!
Yes, it would help if only you learned that we all share this planet. Learn to share or more and more of us wildlife species will become extinct!
The Antelopes (Pia and Antonia, Year 8c)
Many animals and plants are close to extinction, our planet is becoming more and more polluted and humans are taking over our natural habitats. Please listen to our perspective, as the affected animals!
Paul Oxton, the famous wildlife photographer and conservationist, says, “Humanity can no longer stand by in silence while our wildlife is being used, abused and exploited. It is time that all species and living organisms stand together, to be the voice of the voiceless before it's too late. Extinction means forever.” It is true that the state of our wildlife in the developing countries is pathetic. On a daily basis, I hear from other members of my species that they can slowly see how the life quality of our fellow species is decreasing.
Human beings are the most dangerous species that has ever lived on this planet. No other species, neither animal nor plant, has done as much damage to the planet as humans. They have destroyed the forests and polluted the waters.
I am standing up against humans destroying our forests and our habitats as the main leader of the Golden Lion Tamarin Monkeys!
Although we are innocent, we have been dragged to the verge of extinction. Still man's hunger is unsatisfied! Humans have turned the sacred affairs of life into mundane trade and commerce. For humans all animals and monkeys are raw material for the production of profitable goods and merchandises! Any animal that comes within the range of man's greedy range is soon gone forever. Think of animals such as foxes, minks, rabbits, wolves, wild cats, beavers, tigers, leopards, and many more; humans hunt all of them for trading their furs in return for money! I have seen during my lifetime how the number of species and animals in my natural habitat, the forest, has decreased. Humans forget that we, the animals, are an integral part of the natural ecological system.
The price of human greed is being paid by us, the poor, innocent animals. Some animal species are getting depleted at an alarming rate. If the present state of affairs is allowed to continue, the other animals and humans in future will not get to see many majestic animals even in the zoo. If you want to know the sad tales of miseries of animals and the injustices being done to them by man, do listen to us, the affected animals. You will shudder to know how we, innocent creatures, are being butchered by local men and poachers.
We are equally precious and should equally share the earth as our habitat. Humans must treat us with respect, the same way as we treat them with respect. They must not subject us to pain, separation from our habitat or natural environment. They must stop exploiting and killing us for fun and food. Besides, it is not morally and ethically right to deprive someone of the right of living in their own home. Forests and their other habitats are the natural home of us animals. Humans must let us live in our homes. Humans must follow the precept of ‘Live and let others live’ conscientiously. Being the most intelligent and dangerous animal, it is the responsibility of human beings to take care of animals. We are a part of this ecosystem, please learn to appreciate us.
The Golden Lion Tamarin (Johanna, Year 8a)
Do you Remember Me?
We have maybe already met, though probably rather in a negative context. I am known for knocking over garbage cans, digging in gardens, or doing other things that rather seem useless to others. And because I am associated with these useless things and appear so ordinary in the human realm, it is easy to forget the crucial role I play in the ecosystem.
I am a badger. And rightly you must be wondering what a badger has to do with the existence of the ecosystem. To clarify this question and to better understand our environment and ecosystem, it is worth listening to me.
First of all, why am I important? The most important thing to understand is that I am not replaceable, even if I seem so ordinary, especially in the forest ecosystem. I strengthen the soil in search of insects and worms. I am one of the very few species that clean up the forest by digesting carrion. Because of the fact that I eat almost everything, I break down nutrients which is why I support the circle of recycling and fertilizing by plants and microorganisms. I am essential in this whole complex process.
But If I am so important in our ecosystem, why are you destroying my habitat?
My co-species and I are about to die out, because you people cut so many trees in the forests and this destroys our living space. This is a huge problem, because our badger burrows and our offspring are in the woods. By acting like this, you are endangering me and my family more and more and also threatening your own existence, because we badgers are elementary for the growth of the trees, trees are important for photosynthesis and photosynthesis is essential for you. So why do you endanger us and yourselves? How do you justify your actions? Do we animals and plants deserve to be treated this way? Do you really think this is OK ?
I hope you can use your influence in your society to establish more natural reserves, especially in the forests. I hope you learned from my speech that we need to protect not only already endangered species; you also need to look after us ordinary species to prevent our extinction. So act now - otherwise it will be too late!
Thank you for listening.
Photo by Victoria Fischer. URL: https://unsplash.com/photos/dZ_6TKL5AsY
Photo by Matt Flores. URL: https://unsplash.com/photos/5uIkDWUQ8io
Photo by Vincent van Zalinge. URL: https://unsplash.com/photos/GvSLkDH7XdI
Released into the public domain via Unsplash.