Today’s date is set aside as World Wildlife Day, to remind humanity worldwide to recognise the heritage of the wildlife that was bequeathed to us. It is relevant that, as we recognise this important day, we remind ourselves of the fundamental utterances of one of the greatest heroes of the struggle for human rights and dignity, Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.
I quote his words, as cited by Stephanie Gagnon in “All Life is Interrelated: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Environmental Justice Legacy”:
“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
Since Gagnon was writing within the context of environmental conservation, she also stated the following about Dr King’s words:
“Now, more than fifty years since his death in April 1968, the implications of Dr. King’s work can also be understood in connection with the modern environmental movement. While his speeches and writing may not have directly addressed conservation, many of the central tenets of his work continue to inspire those fighting for the preservation of wildlife and our public lands.”
Indeed, as Gagnon asserted, Dr King’s fundamental words are very relevant to the struggle waged by all men and women of goodwill, to rescue the environment from the catastrophe into which humanity threatens to plunge it. Oppression, poverty, crass materialism, greed, moral degeneration, humanity’s penchant for war and other factors… All have molded humans into creatures who do not care about the conservation of the environment; humans for whom the environment only exists to be exploited, to serve and satisfy their needs and wants – regardless of the consequences thereof. This is shameful!
As the IFP, we urge everyone in South Africa and the world, on this World Wildlife Day, to internalise the fundamental words: “all life is interrelated…”.
Let us be reminded that our abuse of the environment will come back to haunt us and future generations when nature retaliates and decimates life as we know it. Let this day remind all of us of our responsibility to nurture the environment – and particularly the wildlife – for our own sake, and that of future generations.
M. Joshua Mazibuko, MPL
KZN IFP Spokesperson on Conservation and Environmental Affairs
083 992 6135