The planet is our home; we need to be more responsible. Here's what I do.
There are many paradoxes in our little world. I got to thinking about one recently.
Last year in Australia a new shark ‘policy’ was instigated by their government.
In response to five shark attacks in a year, the policy allows sharks to be targeted.
Interestingly I watched the CNN coverage and listened to the emotive language. It’s curious that the shark is portrayed so negatively.
Since 1907 201 out of 220 Great White Attacks have occurred when the human was less than 6ft from the surface.
(That’s a 100 year period.)
You have a 1 in 63 chance of dying from the flu and a 1 in 3,700,000 chance of being killed by a shark during your lifetime.
(Watch out for the flu!)
Over 17,000 people die from falls each year. That’s a 1 in 218 chance over your lifetime, compared to a 1 in 3,700,000 chance of being killed by a shark.
(Steps should be culled)
In 1996, toilets injured 43,000 Americans a year. Sharks injured 13.
(Redesign the toilet.)
1n 1996, buckets and pails injured almost 11,000 Americans. Sharks injured 13.
(Buckets in every home should be removed.)
In 1996, 2600 Americans were injured by room fresheners. Sharks injured 13.
(I’ve just written about air fresheners!)
The US averages just 19 shark attacks each year and one shark-attack fatality every two years. Meanwhile, in the coastal U.S. states alone, lightning strikes and kills more than 37 people each year.
These facts from NatGeo make interesting comparisons. This BBC article describes the ‘efficacy’ of the policy. Although the impact on the shark populations seems higher than the impact on subsequent shark attacks.
Now I mentioned that I thought it was a paradox.
In London this year there have already been 5 cycling deaths, though sadly I’m sure that there will be more even before this post is published. ROSPA the road safety agency reports regularly on safety.
Five deaths in five months in London. The Australia reaction to five deaths in a year was to cull sharks. In spite of reaction to the cycling deaths no action is likely to combat the road deaths.
Even though improved cycling safety would reap so many benefits for health and infrastructure nothing is done.
I find it paradoxical that human behaviour resulting in human death has become an accepted part of modern life for governments, yet deaths in nature seem to be unacceptable and require horrific responses.
It’s not just human death though. The British government sanctioned badger culling last year in an attempt to tackle bovine tuberculosis. This cull has not tested the slaughtered badgers for TB and has offered little or no information about outcomes or effectiveness.
There’s a human problem in nature. Let’s hit it with a sledge hammer. There’s a human problem caused by people. Oh well, it’s unavoidable.
What do you think about this issue? Are there examples in your area that make you frustrated too?
a blog by a multilingual expat-since-birth, linguist, researcher, mum of three, living in the Netherlands and writing about bilingualism, multiculturalism, parenting abroad, international life...