At times we humans feel threatened by some of our native animals and call for government to protect us from these creatures we cannot control. What can we control? Animals that are vulnerable to our physical strength suffer many inhumanities - based on inherited practices. Since 2008 laws in Queensland have protected threatened flying-foxes from being shot and electrocuted, requiring farmers to use non-lethal methods, such as netting, to protect their crops. But the Liberal National Party have said that if elected they will overturn these laws. This backwards step in animal protection may once again mean flying-foxes can be shot and electrocuted, causing widespread suffering and further threatening this dwindling species' numbers. Katter's Australia Party have also made some worrying statements about animal welfare.
Inhumane practices extend to our companion animals and livestock that provide food. Life in the fast lane has distanced us fron nature - its ambience and tranquility, its free ecosystems sevices such as clean air, clean water, pollination of plants for beauty and food. A life of convenience comfort and pleasure - bought as cheaply as possible - is expected now by many.
2012 - the year of RIO+20 is a time for reflection of our values aspirations vision for the future - a sustainable future for both the human species and all other interdependant life. This global summit needs to matched at our own local and regional levels as we go about our daily lives - respecting and valuing all forms of life - biodiversity.
Admittedly some folk feel a colony of flying foxes may be noisy and somewhat messy, but others value the services provided - from pollinating our eucalypt trees to devouring thousands of small insects. We can not duplicate those services. Imagine an Australia without gum trees!
Fear of death from Hendra virus has been dramatised in the media and demonised the flying fox. In reality there are far greater hazards we contend with on a daily basis. In most instances managing our own human behaviours can reduce risks.
Our ever growing human population is placing a heavy burden on the world's resources. In Australia we have a species extinction rate which is embarrassing. Becoming well informed conscious consumers is everyone's responsibility. Learning to live lightly on the planet can only help to preserve its biodiversity.