The Use of Animals in the Media to Promote Environmental Change Animals live in harmony with our planet, whereas humans use their
privileged intelligence to modify or adjust their surroundings in order to make profit, live easier or longer lives or satisfy any of their countless other needs or desires. These adjustments include constructing roads, destroying trees and establishing factories, in other words meeting the requirements of creating a civilization. The consequences of these human behaviors include changes in global climate that result to the ruining of the planet and the sufferings of many species. Although the issue of animal welfare is highly subjective, the truth is that animal welfare does not contradict human welfare, because all species suffer the consequences of destroying the environment. According to B.E. March, Aristotle believed that the only difference that is worth mentioning between us and other species is our ability to communicate our ideas through the skill of speech, which is primarily responsible for our ability to develop a civilization so sophisticated like the one we have today. March goes on to argue that some religious figures believe that man was given the divine right to control everything including the environment and other species when God gave him the ability to reason. Critics of this view argue that acknowledging that animals have feelings does not dismiss the fact that humans are superior. Many animal rights groups have been concerned with humans’ tendency to personify non-humans. Moreover, people tend to find it easier to identify with other species than, for instance, a melting glacier. For that reason, over the past decades, the media has been using images of animals, endangered ones in particular, to get the audience to sympathize with different environmental issues. The question is, can the use of suffering species in the media be an accurate and effective tool to both portray the poor conditions which the environment is currently in and help motivate global environmental action.
Animals are effective indicators of the state of the environment, because their wellbeing is directly connected to the conditions of their habitats. So when humans continue to violate animals’ habitats as they destroy the environment, the survival of many species become impossible. Since our environment is consisted of a group of ecosystems that depend on each other, the extinction of every specie affects the whole an entire ecosystem, and therefore the whole planet. According to Sylvia S. Mader, the consequences of losing biodiversity on both the environment and ecosystems are quite severe because different species depend on each other for survival. The author, goes on to argue that biological diversity is crucial because different species produce energy flows which are responsible for the maintenance of ecosystems. Which is why it is a problem that our planet loses 400 different species every day as a result of man’s behavior. Moreover, the author claims that the rate in which rain forests as well as other natural ecosystems are destroyed, is very harmful to humans because they depend on the products which are obtained from these ecosystems, examples being food and medicine.
An example of how one animal can be an effective indicator of the conditions of an entire ecosystem can be seen in the case of bats. When different species of bats started behaving bizarrely and then thousands of them were found sick or dead in caves and mines in different areas within the U.S., scientists became worried that the phenomenon could be caused as a result of the changes in climate that the planet is experiencing. Bats need certain conditions during their hibernating periods, when these conditions are disturbed, they become at risk of dying. According to Kate Jones, a bat expert from the Zoological Society of London, because bats are considered among the main mammal predators within their ecosystems, “they are a key indicator species that can provide information on the health of an ecosystem”. Moreover, Jones goes on to add that bats are crucial within their ecosystems since they help pollinate certain plants as they travel from one place to the other, and some species are even responsible for keeping certain insects under control since they depend on these insects as their main source of food. Although, many people may not feel personally attached to these bats and find it hard to identify with them, scientists, including assistant professor of biomedical sciences at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, Beth Buckles, who are devoted to discovering the reasons behind the mystery behind the endangerment of bats, claim that an environmental imbalance will occur if bats continue to die out.
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Morrison, Alice "The Use Of Animals." The Use Of Animals. 26 Jun. 2010. uberarticles.com. 1 Oct 2014 <http://uberarticles.com/miscellaneous/the-use-of-animals/>.
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Morrison, A (2010, June 26). The Use Of Animals. Retrieved October 1, 2014, from http://uberarticles.com/miscellaneous/the-use-of-animals/
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