By: Peter Baghdadlian
The state of Florida is one of a kind compared to both neighboring states as well as non-neighboring states. Some say it is the closest state to the Caribbean world, and some say it is the gateway to the world of crime and drugs. While both of these statements are true, I find Florida to be the basement of the United States. It is a damp and moist area, as well as filled with insects found nowhere else and filled with deadly alligators. The biodiversity in Florida is indeed unique and the ecosystems located within these states are only found only in a handful of places in South America. One of the most beloved and rare animals found in Florida is the Manatee, or as it is more commonly known as the Sea Cow. The Manatee used to be on the verge of becoming endangered specie in Florida as many were brutally killed either on purpose or by mistake in 1991. But as the State of Florida began making efforts to reduce the death rates of the Manatee and since then the population has increased by almost five hundred percent today. However, there is new specie that is on the states horizon to preserve, but the situation is not as dire as the Manatee situation; the Bull shark. The Bull shark is one of the three major subspecies sharks found in Florida waters. This past week, three Florida citizens are charged with animal brutality after a notorious video surfaced all across the media world. Three men were video taping dragging a bull shark through the waters with their speedboat at incredible speeds. The state typically does not prosecute animal cruelty even though it is a common crime against Mother Nature omitted on a large scale. But after several hurricanes hit Florida and not only damaged the ecosystems but also took the lives of many species, the State began to “crack down” on animal cruelty. This case of animal cruelty even reached the Governors office, which inspired him to create new laws to prevent such aggravated animal cruelty. The important thing to keep in mind however is that these three citizens were not born as animal torturers; instead it was the society they were raised in that failed to teach them the human-animal relationship and responsibility we share. First and foremost humankind has for centuries had this ideology that animals and non human species are inferior to human beings. Humankind must come to the conclusion that the only reason why we think we are superior to all other species and organisms is because we try to evaluate them and try to see if any of them have any human qualities. As it is known no animal on the planet is as unique and rational as human beings. The truth is that human beings are no better than the high soaring eagle or the small caterpillar slowly eating its way through a leaf. Once human beings understand that we are just important in the world of the environment as any other organism, human beings will begin to see the true value of all living organisms within an ecosystem. For centuries human beings have thought that ecosystems simply exist to solely benefit human beings both economically and socially. But in reality ecosystems exist so that we may preserve it for future generations of all species and promote it to ensure the continuous biodiversity. But if humankind continues to abuse and exploit the natural world simply for our benefits, we will cease to see any promotion of the biodiversity that is embedded with in our own genes. This type of idea might sound ecocentric, but nonetheless it is the true relationship humankind has with the natural world. While ecocentrism has been implemented in handful of countries, mostly in Europe, it is the only solution to prevent the same tragedy that fell on the flightless auk, and so many species that are no longer available for the current human eyes to see. To quote one of my favorite hippie songs, The River Jordan, “There is only one river, there is only one sea. And it flows through you, and it flows through me”. So we must show the same respect and appreciation we do towards our brothers and sisters and apply it to all types of living organisms. At four and a half months into a pregnancy, a human fetus has a reptiles tail; a remnant of our evolution. The truth is that you can fight a lot of wars and survive, but if you fight your biology and Mother Nature, you will always lose. That is the secret to survival. Never go to war, especially with yourself. Therefore, the actions committed by these three Florida men are only crimes committed against themselves and makes any brutality and cruelness brought onto any animal is irrational.