Selfishness enters debate

For 14 years I owned and loved a dog. I sympathize with dog walkers.

For 14 years I owned and loved a dog. I sympathize with dog walkers. But media buzz exhorting the city to permit dogs on the foreshore trail through the nature preserve is too perfect a microcosm of a fundamental flaw in our culture: an almost totally human-centered selfishness and its inability to respect and protect nature for its own sake. Whenever possible, we should try to just let nature be, not endlessly use, abuse and degrade it through our delusion of ‘Dominion’ and ownership.

Deadly consequences of this human-entitlement belief include run-away degradation of Earth’s ecosystems in the atmosphere (pollution and climate-change), on land (deforestation and desertification), in water-bodies (think Montreal sewage or the oceans’ vast plastic-ridden ‘dead-zones’) and crashing world-wide biodiversity as natural wildlife habitats and their species are extinguished by our insatiable, dubious needs.

Only a mindset believing we’re separate from nature – except to ravage it as an unlimited resource as its self-styled, superior ‘owners’ – could explain our ongoing, disastrous cultural behaviour.

The foreshore dog-access issue confirms this self-centered cultural mind-set with startling clarity.

Ask yourselves, why can’t the foreshore and its wildlife be left alone?

And with so many alternative areas for canine-recreation, how can the focus of dog-owners be so insensitive?

I wonder what aspects of canine behaviour ‘inclusive-trail’ dog-owners don’t understand?

Like their predator relatives, dogs physiologically “mark” their surroundings, and this chemical marking carries with it olfactory signals of a potential predator’s presence. Obviously, such signals adversely affect wildlife !

Invoking canine behaviour certainly isn’t necessary to justify dog-exclusion from one tiny part of the Shuswap. The true cultural culprit is our ethically-flawed dismissal of natural foreshore values for the sake of our own exclusively human ones.

Tom Crowley


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