Dear Dr. Babooner,
I’ve been feeling a bit down lately, and whenever that happens my cure is to spend some time out in nature. Lovely flora and majestic fauna bring home the beauty of the world, and they convince me that my problems can be managed.
I know others find respite in nature too. And some of them are scientists. I know this because yesterday while I was reveling in the tranquility of a lush summer glade, I discovered a rolled up magazine trampled in the mud at the base of a tuft of prairie grass.
Opening it up, I saw it was the latest edition of a publication called “Science – The World’s Leading Journal of Original Scientific Research.” When I tried to flatten it out on a rock, the pages fell open to an article titled “Defaunation in the Anthropocene“. From the heading I just assumed it was about keeping young deer out of a suburban nightclub, but once I started reading it became clear this was about something even more disturbing.
Dr. Babooner, it turns out some people think the world is undergoing it’s Sixth Mass Extinction, and we humans are the cause.
That’s kind of a paradigm-shifting thought – rather than being the nice, decent people I assumed we were, I’m now told that we’re a disease, and we’re cutting through the Earth’s defenses more rapidly than the planet can protect itself and all the other creatures who live here.
Suddenly I’m kind of down again – the way you feel at the end of a night of drinking when you realize you really weren’t the life of the party, and you might have danced naked on the coffee table well past the point when people stopped thinking it was cute.
I’ve never thought of myself as part of a global plague, but now I can’t think of anything else. Dr. Babooner, how can I ever be comfortable in nature again, knowing I am such a threat to it?
I reminded E.B. of the John Prine quote where he quoted Dear Abby saying “You have no complaint. You are what you are and you ain’t what you ain’t.” He might have completely made up that line, but if so it just makes him an artful liar. He’s darn good at it, so why kick up a fuss? You’re a disease! The kind that dances naked on a coffee table! The next time you come down with the flu, imagine there’s a microbe just like you in your system, riding through your innards in a top-down convertible, whooping at the stars. Then get out there and have some fun.
But that’s just one opinion. What do YOU think, Dr. Babooner?