This year I’m growing swan plants in an effort to attract Monarch Butterfly caterpillars. There’s a problem though: the butterflies have managed to find my plants well before they are mature enough to support the voracious eating habits of just one (let alone a dozen) hungry caterpillars. I discovered a single, minute caterpillar along with about four tiny eggs and was faced with the dilemma of having to ‘abort’ the eggs and murder the caterpillar in an attempt to let the plants grow so as to be able to support more of them in the future.
It got me thinking about the environment we humans live in. We live on a ball suspended in space and our resources are limited. Aided by our dominance of our environment we are now multiplying too fast and have consumption habits that our planet can’t sustain.
Lots of species have gone the way of the dinosaur. Some through catastrophe, some through predation and others have gone extinct because they got too far ahead in the race and plundered the resources they relied on. Are we the next species in line for extinction for the crime of being too smart for our own good? Or are we going to start to control our urges to breed and consume everything in sight?
If you live in a village somewhere in Africa and you know you can only grow enough food to support 100 people is it unethical for a family to have a family of 10 children when your village already has 130 people in it? Will the same thing happen on this planet? Will having large families become unethical in the future?
We only have ourselves watching over us. No one is going to make the decision for us. It’s probably something we should be talking about.
And the fate of the eggs and the itty bitty caterpillar? I had a brief moment of silence and squashed the lot of them. Perhaps the next batch will thank me for it.