Lions and Tigers and Bears: Oh My!

10.11.2007

Майкъл Кешмън

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China is eating the world. Her economic power is growing and her people can increasingly afford to consume all the things previously unavaliable to them. The world’s most populous country has seen what the swiftly depleting cornucopia still has to offer and they want to be a part of it in a big way. Long standing traditions and superstitions have become blended with western ideals and homogenized. Conspicuous consumption is the new buzz word for the grandchildren of Chairman Mao and all the remaining copies of “The Little Red Book” have been used as kindling to ignite the fires of capitalism and consumption in the hearts of a people that have known only less and too little for so long. This new super consumer base will, if left unregulated and unchecked, decimate countless animal species in their preparation of the “family stew”. Borneo, it’s not so distant neighbor, has become a supermarket trading in the body parts of rare animal species that are used as anything from jewelry to the ingredients of a soup that supposedly cures impotency. The globalized oceans provide shark fins in decreasing amounts, but rapidly increasing in price with the free market system not at all geared towards sustainability. Goodbye Jaws as the seas will all be scowered to fill the sushi buffet up as much as possible, just like their efficient Japanese neighbors taught them. The West has showed them by example to take more than they need and not to bother to save the leftovers. Lions, and their brothers the tigers can provide their claws while the cousins of both, the bears, will have to part with many a pancreas to provide soup stock for the pot. The rhinos will become hornless after their prize possession is powdered to add a touch of spice for an ever increasing and discerning palate suddenly able to afford the price of its demise.

In order to achieve their never-ending quest to remain virile and be reminded of the potency of their youth, the cauldrons will have to be filled, fueled, fired and then portioned out. Always making sure that all get their piece of false spiritual security and immortality, though a select few always receive the larger slices. No problems as far as evil spirits go; luckily for the affluent eastern consumer, amulets and charms made from the bones and horns of pretty much any rare species, should suffice to keep them away and should make quite a fashion statement in the process as well. It will be keepin’ up with the Jones’ in a big way. When no longer only 1 in 164 people own a car, China will rule the earth industrially and strip her bare if the current paradigm holds. On that side of the world, they are all watching reruns of Dallas on their new domestically manufactured DVD players, and I really feel that eventually everyone will want to play the part of JR Ewing in real life. Sorry endangered little critters, but Papa needs a new ten-gallon cowboy hat and big red Cadillac convertible.

A wiseman once said that, “When there is less than half of something left it is already gone.” We, in the modern world, haven’t seen anything yet as far as loss of species and environmental degradation is concerned. When China and India dominate the economic stage by 2050 the world will be using roughly 32 times the amount of energy and resources it does now.

“Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!” exclaimed Dorothy during her encounter with countless dangers on the famous quest to find the Wizard at the end of the Yellow Brick Road. She was afraid of what lurked in abundance in the dense vegetation of some unknown forest waiting to spring from the shadows and consume her and Toto. In the real world Dorothy and her trusty companions would not have to fear being attacked by wild animals in a future landscape that is treeless and barren.” Lions and tigers and bears, OH MY!

November 2007