Is man a plague upon the earth?

I was staring out the window of the 7.35 train to Tambaram on my way to college, when something caught my eye. A dog, just over a year old, was chasing a butterfly between the tracks. But even as I watched, this cute sight turned into a horror movie. I watched with a sinking feeling as a train approached on the very track the dog was on. My prayers for a safe escape were in vain; the dog noticed the train and started running in a straight line, resulting in its demise. In the blink of an eye, a creature of beauty was no more.

As I looked at the lifeless and bloody body, it struck me that what I had just witnessed was not an isolated incident. Thousands of such dogs die under merciless wheels every day. Hundreds of birds die not knowing the difference between a transformer and the branch of a tree. Millions of seagulls die choking on the trash left behind by tourists. We kill these beautiful creatures just for the sake of our comfort.

We destroy the very thing that conceived us, chopping down trees and killing animals at will. An agent in The Matrix says that humans resemble a virus more than a mammal. Where a mammal develops an equilibrium with its surrounding environment, humans multiply until every natural resource in a region is exhausted. Then we move to a different place and begin all over again.

How much longer will we continue to eat away at our mother? When will this parasitic relationship transform into a symbiotic one? Someone once told me that if all the cockroaches in the world were to die tomorrow, there would be an ecological disaster. But if the same were to happen to man, the world would only get better. I think it is high time we changed that.

The writer is doing his I Year of B.A English at Madras Christian College

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