In response to Brian McDermott (“A Matter of Perspective,” Letters 5/27), who was responding to Miaya Sustaita (“The Sound of Slaughter,” Letters 5/20):
For those of us who feel a connection and empathy for trees and other beings in the natural world, it is painful to witness or even read about the slaughter of these beings who are in the way of endless human expansion. Sustaita was trying to convey this pain she feels by comparing it to witnessing civilian casualties during a war or a genocide, which McDermott objected to. But it is not just these 40 trees and all the other forms of life they formerly supported. The same thing is happening all over Eugene, all over the U.S., all over the world, and it is a genocide of all forms of life deemed unimportant to humans.
Calling the slaughter of the natural world a genocide in no way diminishes the impact of that concept as it applies to human beings. McDermott, you show a severe lack of perspective of how human survival depends on the continuing functioning of intact ecosystems. It will do no good to save the Palestinian children in Gaza if they inherit a planet of broken ecosystems due to the loss of biodiversity. I am grateful that Sustaita tried to save those trees and is willing to publicly express her grief over their death. Perhaps all of us who feel that pain need to show it, despite the likelihood that we will be shamed and ridiculed by people like Brian McDermott.