Friday, August 15, 2008

humans and the food chain

Val Plumwood, an Australian feminist and environmentalist fell Prey to a Crocodile in 1985. Her excellent essay on the incident is well worth a read, not only as a first-hand account of the experience, but for the way in which it provoked her to consider her own role in the food chain.
As Val points out, it is easy for us to see ourselves as apart from nature when we spend our entire lives free of the threat of being eaten. Even after we have died we go to great lengths to prevent our body becoming food for others... we bury ourselves in stout boxes, beneath the level of tree roots, away from the reach of flies and insects. We place a hefty stone slab across the grave to prevent animals from digging up our remains. Contrast this to the practice of leaving criminals suspended in gibbets to become food for crows and maggots.

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