Great job, humans!

Undated still image taken from video and provided by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology shows an ivory-billed woodpecker.

Undated still image from video of an ivory-billed woodpecker.
(image: Cornell Lab of Ornithology)

via AP:

US says ivory-billed woodpecker, 22 other species extinct

And not a single one of them is a squirrel.

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Death’s come knocking a last time for the splendid ivory-billed woodpecker and 22 more birds, fish and other species: The U.S. government on Wednesday declared them extinct.

It’s a rare move for wildlife officials to give up hope on a plant or animal, but government scientists say they’ve exhausted [sic] to find these 23. And they warn climate change, on top of other pressures, could make such disappearances more common as a warming planet adds to the dangers facing imperiled plants and wildlife.

The factors behind the disappearances vary — too much development, water pollution, logging, competition from invasive species, birds killed for feathers and animals captured by private collectors. In each case, humans were the ultimate cause.

Around the globe, some 902 species have been documented as extinct. The actual number is thought to be much higher because some are never formally identified, and many scientists warn the earth is in an “extinction crisis” with flora and fauna now disappearing at 1,000 times the historical rate.

People, this shit is reason number 6,973,221 why I can never call myself a humanist. Don’t get me wrong: I deeply love many, many humans. I even really like many more. Humans as a species, however, are objectively fucking terrible.

If that makes me a misanthrope, so be it. IDGAF. I would rather have thousands of ivory-billed woodpeckers alive and well and going about their business of pecking wood than, say, 70+ million U.S. conservatives going about their business of ruining everything.

The North and West are burning; the South and East are drowning. The oceans are choking on plastics, and have even been recently spotted catching on fire.

aerial photo of burning ocean depicting humans spraying water at it.

Aerial photo of fire in the Gulf of Mexico depicting humans spraying water at it. JFC.

Patriarchy and racism rule the globe by violence, no matter the form of government. Wholly unnecessary death and suffering abound.

Humans are (perhaps) uniquely endowed with not only an awareness of the predictable and tragic consequences of our actions, individually and collectively, but also the ability to avoid or mitigate the damage we inflict. Yet far more often than not, we do no such thing. And that makes our species 100% responsible for the ever-worsening state of the world in a way that other species are not.

(Except for the squirrels, obviously.)


  1. brucegee1962 says

    Iris, speaking of humans assisting in their own destruction —
    I was wondering about your thoughts about this guy
    literally training his backyard squirrels to become bank robbers. Time to withdraw all our money and hide it in our mattresses? Or will they come for our mattresses next?

  2. mailliw says

    Hello Iris,

    I am aware that this might not go down well, but I want to say something in defence of squirrels.

    The European Red Squirrel is seriously endangered in the UK because of the introduction by human beings of the much larger and more aggressive American grey squirrel.

    Fortunately the grey menace has yet to reach us here in Germany and I can watch the cute red squirrels running up and down the trees outside my window.

    Other than that I would agree that the ivory billed woodpeckers (and dare I say it red squirrels) are infinitely preferable to conservative politicians.

    All the best