By James Gorman
Nov. 19, 2018, 5
Last Thursday there was a bit of good news relating to the impending extinction and destruction of everything.
The mountain gorilla, a subspecies of the Eastern gorilla, was upgraded from critically endangered to endangered. There still are only about 1,000 of them, up from a low point of a few hundred, so it’s not like they were declared vulnerable (better than endangered), or just fine (not a real category). And the Eastern gorilla as a species overall is still critically endangered.
But the mountain gorillas are in fact doing better, according to the announcement from the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. It bases its decisions on information gathered from scientists and conservation experts.
The gorillas’ population has been increasing for about 30 years. And it has taken a tremendous amount of struggle and work to get this far.
That raises a question: If things have improved so much for an animal in such a dire situation as the mountain gorilla, should we then give in to hope?
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I know this isn’t the accepted way of speaking about the planet and its creatures. In public discourse, hope is the one thing you should never give up. But in our minds (well, in my mind, anyway, and I can’t be the only one), the reasoning behind that often expressed sentiment is not so clear.
What if a rational look at the facts points in the other direction? What if, for instance, the planet were getting warmer every year, and there was a lack of political will to try to stop the trend? What if we were in the middle of a mass extinction caused by humans?
Imagine, just for a moment, that the planet had 7.7 billion people, who had already used up a lot of the space for bears and wolves and lions and — oh, I don’t know — gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans. Suppose that all of the great apes were either endangered or critically endangered.”
David Lindsay: Yes, and thank you. Here is a comment I fully support: