Humanity is exalted not because we are so far above other living creatures, but because knowing them well elevates the very concept of life. E.O. Wilson, 1984

23 Apr 2013

Media manipulation of Illegal Aliens

When pacing cracked paving after a heavy night on the town, I am always delighted to stumble upon one of London's "crack" foxes, boisterously diving into a wheelie bin in Brixton, or slyly nipping between parked cars in Kentish Town. Others, however are less keen, such as a Sun newspaper interviewee who "fought off the snarling beast, which had cornered her on a dark section of road", or the mother whose baby was "dragged away like a 10lb chicken" (Don't worry readers, the baby was unharmed). Ever one to kick up a fuss, The Daily Mail claims that such attacks on the boroughs are provoking calls for a cull, described as Lord Mayor Bo'Jo as a "wake up call". Like badgers before them, these unwelcome additions to our anthropised landscapes are sooner welcomed with a shotgun than a doormat.

The advance of alien species strikes fear into the heart of the EU ecologists and economists too, who cite €12bn of damage a year to natural systems (European Environment Agency). The rhetoric used to describe the advancing front lines of Argentinian ants in Europe, or the fire ants in USA have uncomfortable parallels to those used to describe North African or Mexican migrant workers. Colonising, swarming, hell, why not raping and pillaging too?

The media, so often seen as the mouthpiece to the masses, and hence an important opinion maker, will often fail to distinguish between alien and invasive species, preferring to whip up an outcry, when in fact a closer examination is required. For migration and colonisation are after all natural processes, and whilst these are currently accelerated by the globalisation of human civilisation, it has long been part of the make up of our ecosystems. The same applies of course to economic migrants and asylum seekers, who have enriched British culture. It is only when these aliens become invasive, reducing freedoms and forcing a blanket of monotony, that action is required to prevent extinction.

And yet such control begs the question which plagues conservation and immigration bureaus alike, What is the ideal system, who should dictate it's makeup, and on what grounds? If the blanket ban on immigration called for by the likes of The Express, Sun & Mail headlines were applied to animals and immigrants alike, the streets of Brixton and Kentish Town would be all the poorer for it.

17 Apr 2013

The Call of the Wild 

Inspired by Darwin's Origin, but also as a reaction against the increasing industrialisation and constricting social contracts which he encountered during his hobo voyages across America, Jack London created The Call Of The Wild. It is a tale of a domesticated dog, who following kidnap and beatings, eventually recedes from his lazy sun-kissed life to live under the reign of primitive law. Shipped to the chill of the Yukon to work as a sled-dog, he becomes hardened, or rather, the soft sheen of his civilisation is stripped away, to reveal the natural core within.

"And when on the still cold nights, he pointed his nose at a star and howled long and wolflike, it was his ancestors, dead and dust pointing nose at star and howling down through the centuries and through him... he was joining the depths of his nature, and of the parts of his nature that were deeper than he, going back to the womb of time" 

6 Apr 2013

Sleeping on Nature's Time

Being informed of the night by stars and the moon is truer than a lunar clock face. The twilight dawn chorus more lubric than an electronic alarm. To sleep in a tent is to retune your body to nature's time.