More of the same, or a fresh start? To what extent is Humankind capable of change, or does the species run around in circles, repeating the same mistakes?
I dedicate this plea for 2019 not to any human, basically because we do not deserve it, but to nature, Planet Earth and our brothers and sisters, the animals that we are supposed to share it with.
I begin with one question: What do the Javan Rhinoceros, Cheetahs, Tigers, the Red Tuna, Asian Elephants, the Vaquita Porpoise, the Mountain Gorilla, the Irrawaddy River Dolphin, the Sumatra Orangutan, the Baulan Turtle, the Polar Bear, the Magellanic Pengiun, the Giraffe, the Jaguar and the Mexican Gray Wolf have in common with the Northern White Rhinoceros?
Nothing, because the Northern White Rhinoceros became functionally extinct on March 19, 2018, when the last remaining male died, while the animals above are competing for the "next to be extinct" title, along with the Pangolin.
The answer would be the extinction of Humankind
For these animals, and many others, the answer to their problems would be the extinction of Humankind, the parasitic species which appears to be the only one that does not belong in this beautiful biosphere which was provided for us to be our home. Like a spoilt, demented, evil, three-year-old screaming brat, Humankind has trashed the Oceans from the bottom to the top, polluted the land, large swathes of which are uninhabitable, murdering animals along the way without any regard for their well-being, without an iota of respect for their environments, polluted the air so that it is unbreathable in many places, and the cherry on the cake, has started polluting space.
In Indonesia, forests are burnt down to provide space to plant palm trees to provide palm oil, the orangutangs living in the tree-tops falling, scorched, to their deaths. Rhinos are shot, their horns hacked off, because an apology for a male in Asia is not man enough to get it up and do the job without taking what he idiotically perceives as an aphodisiac, because he thinks his penis will become like a horn. It would be as effective to cut his hair and consume it and give the ten thousand dollars to charity.
The globalization of brutality and idiocy
And here we have it - how does someone in the year 2018 believe that consuming rhinoceros horn (which is hair) will transform his penis into a megalyth? The answer to this question is the same one which explains how the British population (or half of it) could be duped into going for Brexit, when it is and has always been patently obvious that going it alone, renegotiating trading contracts in a world constituted by large trading blocks, will bring massive unemployment and abject poverty to millions; the answer is the same as the question of how something like Bolsonaro was elected as President of Brazil, the same as the practice of hacking people to death in Southern Africa just because someone suddenly points and shouts "She's a witch!", the same answer to the question of why Indians douse women in gasoline and set fire to them, or why women are stoned to death if they are raped. Or have their clitoris cut off or burnt off to make sure they do not "misbehave" when they are adolescents.
The same old story
Western European colonial powers, which today claim the high moral ground after practising slavery for centuries, leaving countries with a literacy rate of under ten per cent after hundreds of years of "civilization", are the same ones which today turn a blind eye to the practices of their "friends" (the ones that provide them with energy or resources) while at the same time they perpetuate shocking acts of imperialism (such as the war in Yemen, used as a pawn in the wider Saudi-Iranian conflict) and label others (such as Russia) as "enemies" or "hostile states", accusing them of acts they did not commit then whitewashing their accusations with media campaigns. These can only be successful if they have populations which vote for Brexit, which are functionally illiterate, which believe their penis will grow into a horn if they swallow rhino hair, which will suddenly hack a person to death just because, or accuse the Kremlin of poisoning the Skripals. Evidence?
The lie works if you repeat it enough times and if you have a population which swallows what you tell them hook, line and sinker. Then it is easy to pull the wool over people's eyes as countless species of animals are massacred and murdered in the name of putting crap in the food we eat to make us obese, dependent on sugars and salts and fats to then become a faithful, life-long client of those selling statins, or drugs for diabetes and high blood pressure.
Humankind, the toxic element
Humankind has become a callous, useless, unwanted, selfish, destructive couch potato, wallowing in the quagmire of its own making, moving inexorably towards its own extinction, after it has killed practically every living being around it, leaving this planet toxic.
It has become patently obvious that Humankind does not learn by example, not even its own. While animals need and have just one lesson to get it right, and will repeat the behavior they have been taught or learn by experience, Humankind keeps pressing the same button that will give it an electric shock, time after time.
We have the answer
This explains the reason why, with all the resources readily available to solve our problems, we see a powerful group of (ex-colonial) nations which became fat on selling slaves to man their plantations as they slaughtered "natives" and civilized them with the Bible and the Bullet, insisting on continuing to divide and conquer and refusing to create a multilateral world in which we can share our cultures and help each other out.
Animals can teach us how to do this, if only we could listen to them and learn how to learn from them. They respect one another, they respect the Biosphere which is greater than any one of them, they create, live in, perpetuate equilibrium; they have a massive shared intelligence which they can tap into.
They learned how to fly millions of years before Humankind sent a pile of junk into the air, based on the bird, complete with "wings", "tail" and a "nose". They learned how to use the magnetic fields to navigate millions of years before Humankind congratulated itself on the GPS or GLONAS. They do not forget, we do. They still use this natural science, while we have forgotten how ancient civilizations performed countless feats of architectural magic. In short, Humankind is like a chimpanzee which has just uncovered a compass as it is digging for roots.
Dedicating the year to the Northern White Rhinoceros
So let us dedicate this year to the memory of the Northern White Rhinoceros, and celebrate the immense wealth of knowledge that this animal could have imparted to us, namely millions of years of wisdom, if only we had listened. To listen, we need to read, and network.
It is not difficult to choose a cause - any cause, be it political, or economic, or ecological, or any interest, and pursue it until we wish to try something else. Those on this quest tend not to murder, pollute and destroy, but rather build, create friendships and acquaintances and share knowledge, culture, habits, gastronomy, creeds, songs, stories. This is multilateralism. And yes, we can build a multilateral world which relegates the unipolar approach to extinction. Multilateralism, as the animals practice, is balance.
By summer, the Russian army may break through Ukrainian defences, reach Odessa and liberate Transnistria. The West will only “condemn” Russia's actions and continue supporting Chisinau in words