Nature and Animals

The earth is an ark so very small compared to the unimaginable size of space. Most of the universe is either cold emptiness or filled with hot, deadly matter and energy. The planet we live on is the only island we know so far where life does exist. It is beautiful and it comes in a diversity so great we sometimes forget how precious and vulnerable species are. But among others, two things are certain about life on earth.

Firstly, all living creatures are a community of destiny. Mankind is not the only race with a ticket to the ark. We ought to respect and cherish other living beings like ourselves, for we do not have more legitimation to exist than them. If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men. (St. Francis of Assisi)

Kühe gelb-rot-grün by Franz Marc, 1912

Secondly, extinct species are gone. There is no other place in the universe where we can find them. And who knows – maybe one animal species destroyed today would have carried a serum against a deadly disease of tomorrow? A herb eradicated in the past could have proven a cure in the future. The loss is ours.

We should preserve the living heritage around us. Yes, we do have the power to destroy, but we do not have the right to. This means that we have a huge responsibility for everything that grows and creeps. And what is true for species applies to individual beings as well. We ought to treat nature with respect and care; especially animals – they run, breathe and feel like us.

This text was originally published as an introduction to a – by now discontinued – web project in mid-July 2007.