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The Planet's Most Dangerous Predator Is Us


The Planet's Most Dangerous Predator Is Us

David Suzuki

Humans are the world's top predator. The way we fulfill this role is often mired in controversy, from factory farming to trophy hunting to predator control.


Western 'modern' predation projects a false legitimacy of motivation based on fully inculcated cultural premises of 'reductionism'. The tragic irony being the failure to realize that full institutionalization of reductionism results in constant intensification of practices rightfully regarded as narcissistic reduction/denial/'externalization' of costs. One need only observe any aspect of societal interaction at any given time to identify the ways and means that are shaped by the dynamics of the delusional premise. By so doing, the practices not subject to the premise begin to glimmer with the light of precaution and restraint.

Precaution and restraint are two of numerous absolutely essential practices that are scorned by a system that has become so reductionist that the very fabric of life is being torn apart. An additional tragedy generated is that if concerns and methodologies that respect balance cannot be SEEN, then the material 'product' is all that is valued in the equation. As a result, materialism in turn depends on the sensation of aggression in order to have any sensibility veil over the vast voids it generates. Keep it in intense motion so that reality can be denied.

Precaution and restraint, like humility, are not weaknesses but rather among the finest aspects of what it means to be a human being. With them, the human mind and heart can open to assimilate what is necessary and to practice balance in syntony. Aggression can settle back to balanced movement and 'individualization' is no longer an isolated narcissism, but rather cognizant of being incomplete and complimented and completed by processes of reintegration. And so the cycle is released from downward spiral that rips and tears in an attempt to 'reduce' the terror resulting from being saturated by reductionism.


Don't forget the State of Washington, just south of BC. We have used "Judas Wolves" to eliminate the Profanity Pack only about 15 miles from where I live. I am not happy with our state over this.


Thanks David Suzuki for this astute piece.

I have watched this foolishness with wolves for years and it makes my blood boil. Always a greedy and disconnected agenda at work when you see humanity act in such a fashion.


That is the most disgusting picture! A gluttonous blob and his grinning partner having a picture taken to commemorate their senseless murder. Without the rifle, he would have been an unhealthy, fatty meal. And she would have a hard time with her walking stick to get away. Too many humans are so void of sense or humanity.
Just disgusting. That poor lion surviving by his strength and cleverness is killed by such worthless cretins.


Once humans invented agriculture and herding, they stopped being hunters and gatherers because it makes more sense to have a herd of domesticated prey animals to eat instead of chasing wild critters all over creation to get your dinner.

Agriculture and herding allowed humans to be sedentary (hunters and gatherers must be nomadic because they have to follow the game--think of plains Indians following the bison herds). Being sedentary with a stable food supply allowed the human population to increase and the development of civilization.

I don't know about you, but I sure as hell don't want to go back to being a hunter and gatherer.

Since we eat meat, we are still predators, but we are no longer hunters. All non-human predators must hunt prey to survive. The domestic dog was the first animal to be domesticated. Wolves are pack animals that hunt during the day (cats hunt at night) and so are humans. Domesticating prey animals for food (the pig was the first prey animal domesticated) happened later and accompanied the domestication of wild plant species to be used as crops.

I don't know what the hell you are talking about in your condemnation of reductionism. Reductionism is the best way to do science. If you can reduce a biological problem to a problem of chemistry and physics , it is far easier to solve the problem because you are working with far fewer variables that have to be controlled. This is why molecular biology has been far more successful than ecology.

The problem with this essay is that humans disrupt ecosystems all the time--think of plowing up virgin prairie and planting a corn field. We disrupt ecosystems to benefit us because we have big brains and are capable of changing the environment to suit us. I don't know about you, but I like the fact that when it is cold, I can turn on the furnace to produce a temperature that is more to my liking than the ambient temperature.


Murder is unlawful killing. Hunting is not against the law.

Humans are not good hunters because we are not strong and fast, but we have big brains and this allows us to invent weapons to make us better hunters. We only survived because of our brains and the inventions of weapons were created because of our brains.

Having said that, it is unfortunate that some people take pleasure in killing other top predators (e.g., lions). Lions don't kill and eat other lions because this does not make ecological sense. Predators always feed lower on the food chain because there is far more biomass the lower on the food chain you are. Only humans, for some reason, want to kill top predators like lions so they can hang a trophy on their wall.


The Planet's Most Dangerous Predator Is Us........guns don't kill, humans do....
The cover picture Most certainly symbolizes humanity's attitude and actions upon this planet. Whether it is actions against whales, dolphins, wolves,elephants, clean water (DAPL), mountain top removal, indigenous cultures, the buffalo, the core element is the same.....And this core element is what is destroying humanity's ONLY planet, its ONLY habitable place.....until this changes, humanity will kill off what is supporting humanity, such a clever, yet un-wise race humanity has become... Humanity has faced a threshold and cross-road, a choice of whether to stay the present course, which will destroy this planet (the liveable, habitable part that we need), or to take a different path -one that supports life on this planet and humanity....for the Earth will continue on, but humanity may not..... Great Waves of change are upon us....most of which humanity has set into motion... newmessage.org...


Your conceptualization of the history of human civilization is ahistorical and a profound oversimplification.

Your defense of reductionism and ecosystem disruption is the perfect explanation for why we are experiencing ecosystem collapse.


If you care about wildlife, go vegan. Government agencies routinely kill thousands of wild animals every year-- currently the BLM has plans to kill 40,000 wild horses-- on behalf of the animal ag industry.


Jabba The Hut.... a most despicable, horrid picture yet a very revealing picture of Western Consumer Culture.


I will never forget Cecil The Lion, Africa's most famous lion! Walter J. Palmer, dentist payed $55,000 to lure Cecil out of the Zimbabwe National Park with bait, then hunted Cecil down, and murdered Cecil. The murderer Palmer stated he did not know Cecil was protected, effing liar. Palmer quickly cut Cecil's head off for the Trophy then fled Zimbabwe quickly to the US, then went into hiding in the US, because Americans wanted Palmer's head. Cold blooded murderer Palmer got away with the crime, because the Obama regime does not give a F__K, although Zimbabwe government officials wanted Palmer extridited back to Zimbabwe to face his trial, and punishment. Holder US AG let Palmer walk free. F__ked UP!


Thank you for the exemplary explication of the precision of the point. The full array of human existence reduced to the rubber stamped "victorious" pedagogy of reductionism resulting in precisely the state of the planet from that perspective. You might want to keep in mind the specifics of consequences in the present otherwise commonly referred to as western "culture". Add 'exceptionalism' and think in terms of what has been 'excepted' because it represents the rest of reality that the modality does not know and/or kills and eliminates because the model does not recognize it. Now, take a second look at the state of the planet.

As for science, consider some things:
- the distinction between 'science' and 'technology' and how "disruptions" enter into this consideration
- quantization
- mathematics and what is described historically and in the present
- what science has yet to describe but already exists
- creativity as fundamental human quantum
- the chemistry of heat


Vegan is no solution. It's less consumerist in some areas, but still consumerist beyond sustainability. We left sustainability behind at the end of the 19th century. Even then we were destroying our finite world.
We are doomed by all of this. We are a locust species eating ourselves out of house and home. There will be survivors but with all the low hanging fruit one abundant now gone, their future will be about as successful as it was for neanderthals.


With an eye to balancing the scales, let's throw the lard ball who shot the lion to the wolves.


You say we are a locust species and point for proof to a way of life that has existed for less than 300 years.

There is no food shortage. Starvation is an economic problem. Most of the food we grow in North America is fed to cows, pigs, chickens, and fish, which we then slaughter. So yeah, actually, if you're worried about food veganism goes a long way towards providing a solution.

We're a long way from running out of food. Energy and pollution are the real immediate problems.


"...human activity is the root cause of caribou's decline."

It will be increasingly difficult to control human activity in 7 billion people and counting.

I suggested that a way to keep predators and large dangerous animals away from people, domestic animals and property is to tranquilize them, collar them with training collars that give a gradual shock as the animal nears transmitter equipped people, pets and property. They would soon learn to avoid us. That would enable us to coexist with these important predators.

"Trophy hunters" could be trained to dart, tranquilize, collar and release wild animals so they get the thrill of the hunt, take pics and collect data. Then they can go for a steak at their favorite restaurant without having to butcher and eat tough, gamy wild meat. And "dart hunting" outfits can work year round.

Convincing people to change bad habits can be tough. For years I've been trying to convince them not to tractor rake the seaweed from our beaches, but without success.


Humans are the worst predators and the worst species. The planet would be much better off without us.


Sorry, right now we are OK. So it doesn't follow this will be true well into the future.
And as you say energy and pollution are immediate problems as well as debt and wars.
We don't see every day just how amazingly complex is our civilization and how it's all on a knife edge away from failure.
Veganism will consume more land for crops, whereas cattle etc can live on unsuitable grazing land, so that would be a loss.
Already in Africa there is competition between farmers and wildlife, the grazing kind. Veganism won't address that.
Vegans live in an animal supplied world. Every steer slaughtered gets used up right down to the fart, over 600 products per animal.
We would have to find substitutes, which may or may not be possible.
Then we need fossil fuels to grow and harvest crops. A failure there would set off a famine.
Would you still be a vegan then, or would you have to admit veganism is a result of affluence in the west at least?
It's complicated.


Humans are indeed a wasteful and foolish species. We may have a large brain that allows us the ability do design weapons with which to feed/entertain ourselves with, but we still don't have the sense to avoid abusing our power. I used to be a deer hunter but I never hunted for trophy "racks." I would take the bucks that nobody wanted and passed over as worthless. I had friends who did trophy hunt. They would fork out hundreds of dollars per gun to hunt a piece of property where there were the big bucks. I hunted on our old family farm in Central Texas. After a few years of bagging the big bucks my friends would complain that there just aren't any good deer on their lease anymore. I can't tell you how many times I explained to them that they killed the genetically superior deer and left the others behind. Deer on these pieces of property were indeed genetically inferior than those with very small horns because those with the small horns survived. Anyway, I quit hunting many years ago. I finally figured out that the fun we had over opening weekend of hunting season was the excuse for some family and friends to get together and see each other. I never wasted any meat and what my family didn't eat we gave to someone who needed it.

I have the utmost respect for wildlife. I have read the stories of how our forefathers rode the trains across the prairies and just randomly shot buffalo, simply to kill them. They killed so many they almost became extinct. When I was attending Forestry School in college, because of a shortage of funds my roommate and I used to go fishing a couple times a week on the local lakes. We would catch bass, cat fish, and crappie and then fillet them and freeze them for later use. We actually had fish about three out of seven days a week with deer meat another two then Hamburger Helper the remaining days :slight_smile: I have to say those were those were some really fun days. Not because we went out to kill wildlife but because we were great friends having a good time catching our groceries. Again, we never waisted anything.

Now those same lakes are so polluted by the paper companies that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has cautioned not to eat more than 6 oz. of fish per month caught from those lakes. They are contaminated by mercury. The same applies to our coastal waters, not because of only mercury but also petrochemicals. So now our wildlife population had been basically destroyed by the very same corporations that have fucked everything else up.

It truly makes me want to cry at the indifference and ignorance our population in general has toward our wildlife population. I won't apologize for having been a hunter and fisherman because for every frail buck I took I helped provide the conditions for several healthy deer to replace it. I have paid for hunting and fishing licenses over a great many years and every penny that is spent on licenses is returned back into maintaining a healthy wildlife population...including non-game species. Actually I rescind my statement about no longer being a hunter. Yes, I do still hunt. I have merely traded my rifle in for a camera. I will not kill anything anymore, including venomous snakes, unless they present a threat to children.

It is becoming more and more clear that people are beginning to develop a respect for wildlife. My wife recently moved here to San Antonio from East Texas and we have some wonderful pictures of the pond behind their old house on 15 acres. They and the next door neighbor had developed a little community of a raccoon, a buzzard, a red fox, and several squirrels. It was kind of funny but they seemed to know they are all in this little community together. My son, wife, and their neighbor we able to go down to the pond in the early morning and all of the animals present would eat from their hand with the exception of the buzzard. All the animal kingdom asks is our mutual respect and all of a sudden you find yourself with a whole new world of new friends. (Caution for rabies!!!)

As for the fat fuck who is posing with the lion...may his gun misfire and his Scooter Chair run out of battery power at the same time he draws down on a magnificent lion, tiger, elephant, or whatever. He realizes he is a failure as a human being and unfortunately, if he were to be devoured by a wild animal it would probably still die from heart disease and cholesterol clogging it's arteries. If only those animals knew how to skin a human they would have a huge area rug or even wall to wall carpeting.

Look, if trophy hunting and predator eradication outrages you as much as it does me, let your voice be heard when politicians such as Sarah Palin brag about hunting wolves out of a helicopter. Make them look like the cowards they are publicly and shame them mercilessly. They aren't hunters, they are murderers. Last but not least, buy a state hunting license every year whether you hunt or not and buy a non-game stamp. Every penny you spend will go towards helping your local wildlife population.