Not realizing that this was the weekend of the Chicago Marathon, Linette and I decided to pack up the family and head to the Windy City for the weekend. The top photo was taken inside the Evolving Planet exhibition at the Field Museum. The second photo is of a vehicle promoting a new menu item at Wendy’s called the Baconator. Taken together, I think they probably make an extremely profound statement. Sadly, however, I don’t feel as though I’m intellectually up to the task of articulating it at the moment, given the fact that, over the past hour, I’ve absorbed my entire monthly wine ration. I will say, though, that it’s more than just a little sobering to see the word “today” written right next to the phrase “mass extinction.”
OK, I know that I said I wasn’t going to offer any analysis, but, really, how better to sum up the dire situation we find ourselves in today than with a photo of a fossil fuel-guzzling tractor trailer currently criss-crossing the nation, evangelizing on behalf of the factory-farmed fast food monstrosity known as the Baconator? It’s not exactly the model of sustainability, is it?
And, here, for those of you who are interested in such things, is a little background on this Sixth Extinction which we’re currently living through, taken from the website of UC Berkley Professor David Ulansey.
…”It’s the next annihilation of vast numbers of species. It is happening now, and we, the human race, are its cause,” explains Dr. Richard Leakey, the world’s most famous paleoanthropologist. Every year, between 17,000 and 100,000 species vanish from our planet, he says. “For the sake of argument, let’s assume the number is 50,000 a year. Whatever way you look at it, we’re destroying the Earth at a rate comparable with the impact of a giant asteroid slamming into the planet, or even a shower of vast heavenly bodies.” The statistics (Leakey) has assembled are staggering. Fifty percent of the Earth’s species will have vanished inside the next 100 years; mankind is using almost half the energy available to sustain life on the planet, and this figure will only grow as our population leaps from 5.7 billion to 10 billion inside the next half-century. Such a dramatic and overwhelming mass extinction threatens the entire complex fabric of life on Earth, including the species responsible for it: Homo sapiens…
I hope that doesn’t ruin your appetite for the new Baconator.