Contingent Contemplation: Extinction of My Childhood

Mother nature’s really taking a beating these days. I mean, depending on who you’re talking to, they may say everything is fine. But it certainly doesn’t seem that way.

With news like Jimmy John’s founder having pictures of him surface surface where he killed an elephant for fun, as well as the Amazon rainforest being razed to the ground, the topic of wildlife and nature has been popping up in my social feeds.

When I was young, my parents would often take me to zoos. It was always a great time since I’d get to learn about the animals and see the characters that populated my children’s books up close. I was fascinated by the vibrant peacocks who seemed to be unfazed by my presence as they wandered the sandy sidewalks. I hand fed giraffes hay, marveling at their oddly colored tongues.

At a younger age, our lives are filled with these unique and special animals. Reading books that starred a rhinoceros or a panda was absurdly common. No one questions why the rhino had to go to the supermarket. Then there were also stuffed animals of all sorts of exotic creatures. Even my own childhood clothes would feature the familiar stripes of a tiger or pristine white polar bears, threatening to be permanently stained by splashes of soy sauce.

Were these animals ever not endangered? It’s weird when you’re young because you’re surrounded by these animals all the time. There were entire chapters of our elementary school curriculum that would focus on cheetahs or lions. I probably thought I’d grow up and interact with them a lot more than…never at all.

The same thing goes for the topic of rainforests. It always seemed like an endless supply of nature that we’ll be able to enjoy. I used to spend hours in front of my dad’s PC playing the Magic School Bus Rainforest educational CD roms. I think that’s where my ideas of the rainforest being super accessible came from. With the click of a button, I was transported from Ms. Frizzle’s classroom to the lush and green Costa Rican rainforest. It’s sad to think that our next generation may be facing a very different rainforest from what we know today.

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