Around 3 billion years ago a wondrous thing happened. The Earth had been cooling for a couple of billion years and conditions conspired to create something incredible. The first simple life-form was produced.
The chances of that happening are so slight that it is possible that out of all the planets circling the 400 billion stars in our own galaxy this is the only instance where life has spontaneously formed. It could be that we are the only life in any of the two trillion galaxies that we know of.
Life is something special.
From that one single cell of life the whole spectrum of life on this planet has evolved – from the simplest to the most complex.
What we have all around us comes from that first cell. We are all its children.
No plant or animal is more evolved than any other. We have all been around for exactly the same time.
Only humans would apply a value system to life. We try to create a hierarchy of importance.
We place plants at the bottom of the scale, then bacteria, then we work our way up through worms, slugs, insects to fish, then through amphibian, reptiles and birds to mammals – through mammals to monkeys then apes and finally us – human beings – the crown of creation. Some people don’t even accept that we are animals and related to everything else. Somehow we were uniquely created by a deity. We are not part of this at all.
Except this is nonsense. Nothing is more important than anything else. We humans are just animals. We have merely organised living things according to their similarity to ourselves. In a biological sense plants are the highest form of life. Their cellular complexities is hundreds of times more complex than that of any human cell. We place a premium on intelligence. Consciousness and intelligence are merely survival characteristics evolved by organisms – nothing more.
I don’t mean to belittle the wonder of consciousness and intelligence – they are phenomenal. I merely point out that they are one of many equally fabulous wonders that life possesses. They are no more special.
Likewise we cannot know the level of consciousness of other creatures or even plants. We can only surmise.
Personally I believe we will soon discover that plants have a consciousness that is quite as good as ours. We will see.
The argument that I am making is that life is too fabulous to treat with the disdain that we have been treating it. We should be worshipping all of it for the wonder it is and protecting it with all our might.
I am a big advocate of human rights – but I am a bigger advocate of the rights of the rest of the spectrum of life. I think it is foolish to make distinction.
The message I would send is – protect nature, protect the plants and animals around us, conserve the wilderness and diversity. They all have as much importance and rights as we do.
This is what I have to say about the destruction we are doing to nature and a way forward.