Fire News Omits Animal Deaths

Humans’ cruel disregard for animal life is evident in media coverage of forest fires. When I hear of hundreds of thousands of acres burning, I grieve for all the birds and mammals experiencing pure terror in what may be their last moments of life, their homes and offspring destroyed. Perhaps they themselves are horrifically burned, suffering a slow, agonizing death.

Millions of animals perish in forest fires. But the media focuses on the comparatively few human lives, houses and out-buildings lost. The only time we hear about animal deaths pertains to livestock — creatures that put dollars into human pockets.

Indigenous people who walked before us understood nature and didn’t try to tame or monetize it. In contrast, those who try to “own” Nature put humans on center stage, with Nature merely an uncredited extra. Self-centered humans don’t realize that without Nature — humans perish.

I propose that media coverage of forest fire deaths begin disclosing the number of animal and bird lives lost. (Biologists could formulate those numbers — if we cared to ask them.) I’m not naïve enough to think such coverage would change human behavior. But reporting these harsh realities would at least accurately convey the wide-ranging devastation.

And speaking of human behavior, my ultimate (sadly, unattainable) desire is a ban on moronic, narcissistic gender-reveal parties, which have in fact started killer forest fires via their celebratory fireworks. Three-year mandatory prison and $50,000 fine for lawbreakers. Selfishly bringing a kid onto this dying planet is no reason to rejoice.

Ramona Wise