Humans are a funny species. We have a tendency to ignore the world around us. We assume that it’s all for us. We pillage and plunder, using our giant brains and thumbs to bend and warp the natural world to make things more comfortable. Our grocery stores are so full of food we’ve lost the ability to truly understand where all that food comes from. We think the ocean is a playground and its inhabitants and natural resources are only there to benefit us. We’re not aware that we are just another cog in a giant wheel, and because of that, we’re rapidly becoming a mangled cog that impedes that wheel from spinning smoothly.
It’s easy to ignore things that aren’t directly in our faces, like animals that spend most of their lives in the deep sea. But if we’re able to shift our thinking, to empathize with animals that don’t have those opposable thumbs and giant brains, we’ll all be far better off. We need a healthy ecosystem, and in our desperate struggle to tame it, we’re ruining it. This short video from National Geographic is a wonderful representation of what we can learn from an animal like the sperm whale. The more we watch them, the easier it is to empathize. They care for their young. They talk to each other. They have distinct personalities. The old saying “treat others how you’d like to be treated” shouldn’t just apply to other human beings—it should apply to nearly everything.