On a hopeful note, wild animals can unlearn their conditioned response of fearing the worst when they see humans. The other day we surprised a familiar flock of geese, who instinctively took flight. “It’s okay; It’s just us,” we told them. As one, they must have all thought, “Oh yeah, we know them. They’re not Elmers or Elmerettes out to get us. It’s just that friendly couple that walks their dog every day. And anyway, it’s not hunting season.” They instantly hit the brakes and gently landed back down while we gave them a wide berth and continued to tell them how glad we were to see them again.
That’s the way it should be, humans and non-humans getting along and sharing the planet.
Although I wouldn’t dream of telling anyone what they should or shouldn’t do, perhaps if we all treat the Earth and its non-human inhabitants with a little kindness and respect—stop shooting and gassing geese, and for that matter, stop treating all other animal life like they’re expendable playthings; stop calling yourselves sportsmen when all you really want to do is kill; stop pretending that primates are supposed to be predators; stop assuming everything has been put here for your benefit; stop heating up the climate by burning fossil fuels like there’s no tomorrow; and not to shock anyone, but why not slow down to 55 or less for the sake of migratory wildlife, if not the climate; and last but definitely not least, the unmentionable, stop having babies—we may all survive for another century or two.
In short, stop thinking only of your own species’ immediate gratification and treat the natural world with a little love and humility. Oh, and an apology to the Earth for past abuses might be in order, as well.