Mistaking the Bugs for the Lightening
Another one from the Artificial Allium Intelligence Alternative
New Extinction Metric Takes into Account How Much Cultures Care for Species, Sadly Finds Most Couldn't Give Two Hoots and a Holler
(AAIA, Seattle) In a bold new measure of extinction risk (1), scientists have declared that the future of species depends not on their numbers or habitat, but on how much cultures and countries care for them, especially industrial cultures such as the United States. Unfortunately, most cultures and industrial countries have proven to be as cold and calculating as the corporations they worship, showing little to no regard for the real animals and instead opting for 3D-printed imitations or exploiting their image for profit.
The world is now awash in billboards featuring majestic creatures or pictures of 3D printed versions of these creatures (these are easier to pose), plastered over with corporate logos, as if that could make up for the fact that the real animals are rapidly disappearing. Meanwhile, in a few zoos, drive-through animal parks (2) and aquariums across the land, patrons ooh and aah at creatures held captive in miserable conditions for their entertainment, while outside the gates, entire ecosystems are being destroyed.
The new metric of extinction risk is being roundly criticized by those who say it's just another way for corporations to monetize the loss of biodiversity. Some argue that if a culture can't even be bothered to care about the real animals, why should we expect them to care about their virtual or marketed representations?
As the reporter from San Francisco Mark Twain once quipped, “The only difference between the almost right word and the right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” (3) And in this case, it seems the cultures of the world are mistaking the bugs for the lightning (or confusing fireflies with a popular cult TV series (5)), and it may be too late for the animals to be saved.
In a world where species are dropping faster than a snake in a snake pit (4), a new metric of extinction risk has emerged to measure the amount of care cultures take towards preserving these creatures. However, much to the chagrin of conservationists, this new metric has found that most cultures care less about these species than a cat cares about a mouse, with the exception of a few that consider 3D-printed replicas or pictures on billboards good enough.
Zoos actually now prefer to use 3D-printed animatronic versions (4.5) of the animals they once housed as this cuts down on expensive feed, veterinarians and having to deal with piles and piles and endless piles of shit and urine-soaked bedding. The zoos were able to give their shareholders extra value when they sold off their animals to the meat packing industry.
Yes, it seems the mighty dollar has once again won the day, as cultures around the world are more interested in monetizing these species for profit, rather than preserving them for future generations to enjoy.
It's a sad state of affairs when the only way to save a species is to turn it into a digital creation or put it up on a billboard for all to see," says one conservationist, shaking his head. "But then again, this is the world we live in, where the value of a living, breathing creature is measured by its worth on the stock market.
And so, as species continue to go the way of the dodo, we can only hope that one day, cultures will realize the true value of these creatures and work to preserve them, rather than seeing them as mere commodities to be bought and sold. Until then, we'll just have to make do with our 3D-printed friends and hope that, in a world where all else is lost, at least our memories of these magnificent creatures will remain.
In a world where the future is uncertain and the only constant is change, let us all do our part to preserve what little of the natural world we have left, lest we find ourselves in a world where the only animals left are ones printed on a billboard (4.75) or in a computer program.
(3) The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain: A Book of Quotations (Dover Thrift Editions: Speeches/Quotes, 1998)
(5) All about Lightning Bugs (Fireflies):