The human inability of symbiosis

Melissa Betsy Lau, Editorial Director
Melissa Betsy Lau, Editorial Director

Wandering around my living room in his portable home, Sheldon the turtle has no idea that on Thursday, the government issued a ban to protect members of his species because of the carelessness of the all-superior human race.

According to the Los Angeles Times, a ban on swordfish catching was put on boats operating out of the San Pedro region, in attempts to save the endangered sea turtles.

The hooks used to catch the swordfish are also harming the turtles. Although most caught turtles are released alive, they eventually die because of internal wounds caused by the hooks.

How many restrictions must be installed to curb the temptation of greed for humans to stop taking advantage of their resources?

If the ban were not put into effect, the results would not only affect the turtles, but also the populations of the animals that depend on them for food.

Do humans not have the capacity to understand the needs of the other species they share the planet with without transforming the concept into something human-centric?

It is possible that what differentiates humans from other species is their capacity to think, their ability to retain education and their skill to produce incredible technology.

I suppose this includes technological examples like the convenient motor vehicles that exhaust fuel that took millions of years to create, which in turn, contaminate the air that keeps humans alive.

Or maybe a better example would be the mighty nuclear bombs that they’ve created to protect themselves. Now if they could only find a way to dispose of the radioactive material…

They sure get a gold star for making things convenient for themselves.

If humans really did have this great capacity to correct all wrongs, why can’t they develop technology that operates symbiotically with nature rather than developing technology that slowly depletes the only sources of survival for the earth’s inhabitants?

And rather than preventing the catastrophe, they choose to take address it only after it becomes a problem for them.

After all, there’s no need to correct the abuse on earth when they have all of outer space to conquer and pollute.

But why do humans have this ridiculous need anthropomorphize non-humans in order to be able to relate to them: Mother Nature, vessels of the sea, God?

Who ever wrote in stone that God had human characteristics? Were we really made in His image or was He made in ours? (But I’ll leave that for another column).

Humans do not have the capacity to understand the worth of the earth’s resources until they are able to relate it to themselves. To understand the life of a tree, they must relate the rings to human-inspired events, such as the time of the Civil War or the year John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

I, myself, cannot claim innocence to this accusation of abuse.

In the moment of laziness, driving to Wilson Library from the ACB Building, only to waste gas to search for 20 minutes to find parking, sounds much more appealing than actually using my legs and lungs a little to reach my destination.

But after all, I’m only human.

Melissa Betsy Lau, a senior journalism major, is editorial director and copy chief of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at

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