Monday, March 8, 2010

Musings: "Care, Respect, Humility"

The sky stage, set last night with countless constellations, had been changed by the time Koko and I went walking this morning to a thick wedge of moon and countless clouds in shades of gray, white, yellow and rose that hurtled across the heavens, collided, joined forces, broke apart and piled up atop the mountains.

The musical score, however, remained the same: crickets, and the wind, which whistled past my ears and through the trees and shrubs, causing them to sigh, roar, clatter, flap, squeak and flutter, and setting all the leaves to dancing. Behind us came a strange clomping sound, and we turned to see a runaway cow make a brief cameo appearance.

The Academy Awards were on last night, but I did not watch them because, as the friend whose home I was visiting and I agreed, what’s the point, when neither of us had seen any of the movies, nor we were likely to.

We had just experienced an afternoon of entertainment at the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge watching whales spout and breach offshore, albatross soar and glide, red-footed boobies fight over nesting materials and nene trying to made some headway as they were buffeted by the wind.

I was glad to see the enthusiasm of the other spectators, nearly all of them tourists, who had paid $5 for a front row seat at the show. One group waited two hours for a chance to see iwa — the giant frigate birds — and was not disappointed.

Later, at my friend’s house, I flipped through her magazines and saw an article in National Wildlife about how animals are “adapting” to the global warming that some human animals still think is a hoax. As the article reports:

“The first kinds of behavioral changes were changes in range and timing," says Camille Parmesan, a biologist at the University of Texas, Austin. "Now we’re seeing changes in diets and other behaviors that show some animals are trying to adapt to their new circumstances. Unfortunately, many instances are more an act of desperation than a true adaptation.”

Since we tend to care about things only in terms of how they affect us, it’s worth noting that the habitat disturbances caused by climate change are causing polar bears to enter Inuit camps looking for food and an increase in tiger attacks on humans in South Asia.

Meanwhile, McClatchy Newspapers reported yesterday that oxygen levels in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans are decreasing dramatically, which could disrupt food chains, and thus the entire marine ecosystem:

"The real surprise is how this has become the new norm," said Jack Barth , an oceanography professor at Oregon State University . "We are seeing it year after year."

Barth and others say the changes are consistent with current climate-change models. Previous studies have found that the oceans are becoming more acidic as they absorb more carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

"If the Earth continues to warm, the expectation is we will have lower and lower oxygen levels," said Francis Chan , a marine researcher at Oregon State .

"It's like an experiment," Chan said. "We are pulling some things out of the food web and we will have to see what happens. But if you pull enough things out, it could have a real impact."

The National Wildlife article, while reporting that some animals, like red squirrels, have experienced genetic changes that allow it to adapt, concludes by noting:

“Unfortunately, most species have much slower reproductive cycles,” [John] Kostyack [Executive Director of Wildlife Conservation and Global Warming for the National Wildlife Federation] says. “The climate change we’re seeing is far faster than their ability to evolve.

And when you figure that the human reproductive cycle is one of the longest of earth’s animals, how is that we think we’re going to emerge from this huge shift unscathed? Has our arrogance increased to the point where we think we’re immune to the effects of evolution?

Our own survival aside, the impacts we’re having on the environment and other species doesn’t reflect well on our God-directed duty of “dominion.” Thanks to Dawson for providing this insight from Jane Goodall’s book, “Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey:”

...I explained that many Hebrew scholars believe the word "dominion" is a very poor translation of the original Hebrew word v'yirdu, which actually meant to rule over, as a wise king rules over his subjects, with care and respect. It implied a sense of responsibility and enlightened stewardship. Then I spoke of the humility I have learned from the chimpanzees -- how we humans are not quite as different from the other animals as we used to think.

This was followed by his own observation:

Key words: care, respect, humility.

Given how people in general, including organized Christianity, act toward animals and each other, the "mis"-translation of dominion is appropriate.

But it's never too late to adopt new behaviors. Indeed, it appears our survival depends on it.


Anonymous said...

You don't watch movies??? Television???

Come on, now...join "civilization".

This lifestyle choice thing of yours is creepy.

Anonymous said...

The problem is most humans always have been, and always will be, short-term thinkers.

The price is much steeper now though, to conduct ourselves in such a manner.

Anonymous said...

What does watching television have to do with being civilized? In fact, if you behaved like the vast majority of the people who regularly appear on television, you'd be anything but civilized. Better creepy than sheepy.

Dawson said...

You don't watch movies??? Television???

Come on, now...join "civilization".

Yep. Just think what Joan's missing this week:

1,000 Ways to Die
18 Kids and Counting
After Armageddon
America's Hardest Bounty Hunters
Another Atlantis?
Apocalypse Island
Ax Men
Barbecue Paradise
Battle Hair Loss
Bermuda Triangle Exposed
Biblical Disasters
Billy the Exterminator
Bizarre Foods with Andres Zimmem
Black Blizzard
Blind Date
Brazil Butt Lift
Busted & Disgusted
Celebrity Ghost Stories
Crime 360
Criminal Minds
Dog the Bounty Hunter
Dwarf Adoption Story
EX-treme Dating
Flat Abs Fast
Foreclosure Secrets
Fort Knox: Secrets Revealed
Free Money
Gene Simmons Family Jewels
Guns of the World
Heavy Metal Task Force
I Shouldn’t Be Alive
Ice Road Truckers
Instantly Thin
Lock N’ Load with R. Lee Ermey
Look Good Naked
Machines of Malice
Manhunters: Fugitive Task Force
More American Eats
Need for Speed
Outlaw Bikers
Parking Wars
Pawn Stars
Plastic Surgery: Gambling With Your Looks
Prison Wives
Psychic Kids: Children of the Paranormal
Recession Profits
Roman Vice
Scariest Places on Earth
Seconds From Disaster
Secrets of the Secret Service
Sexy Celebrity Secrets
Shocking Behavior: Caught on Tape
Show Me the Money
Smash Lap
Snipers: One Shot, One Kill
Spring Break Bikini Bodies
Stealing Lincoln’s Body
Temptation Island
The Bad Girls Club
The Confederacy’s Secret Weapon
The Law of Success
The Millionaire Matchmaker
The Nostradamus Effect
The Plague
The Plot to Kill Jesse James
The Real Housewives of New York City
The Secret Life of Tiger Woods
The Woman With Giant Legs
Titanic’s Doomed Sister
TNA Wrestling
Toddlers & Tiaras
UFOs: The First Encounters
Ultimate Cake Off
Ultimate Earthquake
Ultimate Tornado
Ultimate Tsunami
When Yellowstone Erupts

That's only a sampling of shows from a scant handful of the Basic Channels.

Anonymous said...

That included at least 10 of my fav's.

But never seeing movies?? it against your "religion"?

Hawaiian Amish?

Anonymous said...

"Hawaiian Amish?"

nope, better things to do than go blank.
to each's own!

Anonymous said...

Uh, I don't think enjoying films is "going blank." But I don't judge the morality or intelligence of people based on what I enjoy and do not enjoy. So, while I enjoy films, I don't feel that there is something wrong with you if you do not. I'm a little puzzled, however, about how you can possibly judge me on that basis.

Anonymous said...

"But I don't judge the morality or intelligence of people based on what I enjoy and do not enjoy."

That would be odd. "I enjoy the Academy Awards show. Therefore, you're evil."

Anonymous said...

that is a pretty bootleg list, save for "pawn stars" (the poor mans antiques road show)

while not listed - "fringe" is great stuff..."big love" and "sons of anarchy" and the "news hour" too

hope you all saw the last, oh, 5 or so episodes of "battlestar glactica." epic. just beautiful


Anonymous said...

it's all downloadable via bit torrent. I have entire series of many TV shows...all seasons...and about 1500 movies. Filled up 2 terabytes. It's great!

Dawson said...

that is a pretty bootleg list...

In fact it is a fair, representative sample of programs for March on The History Channel, History International, National Geographic Channel, Science Channel, The Discovery Channel, Arts & Entertainment, and The Learning Channel.

Anonymous said...

I judge people all the time based on what I like or dislike. I make no bones about it.

So do all of us, whether you admit it or not.

It's the basis of the conscious or unconscious decision process that defines the group of people we like to hang around with.

Anonymous said...

Above is the Oscar winners as defined by total pirate downloads world-wide. I have them all. I wanted Avatar to win.

My fav comedies are Two and a Half Men and Big Bang Theory. Collected all episodes of both so far.

House, Castle, all CSI's, etc are my fav dramas.

Hate reality shows of any kind.

Watch maybe 6+ hrs of TV (or downloaded movies played on my TV)a day.


Dawson said...

Anonymous wrote:
Watch maybe 6+ hrs of TV (or downloaded movies played on my TV)a day.

One good quote deserves another...

Anonymous wrote:
This lifestyle choice thing of yours is creepy.

Anonymous said...

At least I'm not a cyberblabbing blogger.

Just an occasional commenter on various sites pointing out the absurdity of it all.

Anonymous said...

Six plus hours of television a day? That's . . . impressive.

Kooko said...

" Dawson said...
[Anonymous wrote: Watch maybe 6+ hrs of TV (or downloaded movies played on my TV)a day.]

One good quote deserves another...
Anonymous wrote: This lifestyle choice thing of yours is creepy."

Now THAT was funny!!!

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I do film marathons on the big screen from my collection. Me, beer, cheetos.

The entire "Evil Dead" series. The entire "Terminator" series. The entire "Lord of the Rings" series. The entire Star Trek series...all 11 movies...took 2 days for that set.

All seasons of "Two and A Half Men" at 20 min/episode with no commercials.

Fun, fun fun

With my computer on too, sniping at whatever...

Life is good!

Joan Conrow said...

Now THAT was funny!!!

Yes, Dawson has an acerbic wit that is much appreciated. :)

Anonymous said...

Bruce Campbell marathon...I have everything he's ever done in movie or TV.

Now, that's entertainment!

Anonymous said...

I don't trust anyone who doesn't watch TV and movies regularly and doesn't have a bit of larceny in them.

People not fitting that lifestyle are just wrong, somehow.

Anonymous said...

Once watched 4 seasons of alias in a three day weekend.

Anonymous said...

"Once watched 4 seasons of alias in a three day weekend."

Now all you have to do is steal something and you'll be totally trustworthy.