The natural world is neither good nor evil; it is only ‘natural’. Floods, earthquakes, pestilence all are natural phenomena and claim millions of lives every year. This notion was not lost on philosopher John Stuart Mill who said, “Nature impales men, breaks them as if on the wheel, casts them to be devoured by wild beasts, burns them to death, crushes them with stones, freezes them with cold, poisons them by the quick or slow venom of her exhalations, and has hundreds of other hideous deaths in reserve.
”Yet man has always thought himself above all other forms of life – even those of other humans – and ultimately nature as well. In our promethean pursuit to modernise and dominate nature, we are now like aliens on the face of the earth – blaringly unnatural. Everything we do is an attempt to better our own lives or enhance it. The global population is over 7 billion and won’t be anytime soon. Society has created new ways to sustain its capitalistic ways, but to sustain the natural world no one is the wiser. Human activity has commenced the era of the ‘sixth mass extinction’, coming in after the K-T meteor impact that destroyed the dinosaurs. The rate at which this is happening can be explained as thus; on normal baselines for the rate of extinction, about 9 vertebrates (mammals) should have disappeared, since 1900. As of today, 477 mammals have gone extinct since 1900, which should have otherwise taken 10,000 years. All because of man’s inexorable need to surpass nature.