How’s Nature Culturally Represented?
In ‘What the Ants Are Saying’, by Don Marquis, we are warned that “Man is making deserts of the Earth…will have used it up, so that nothing but ants, and centipedes, and scorpions can find a living on it.” Could you imagine waking up to a message from a cockroach, relayed to him by an ant, warning humans that they will soon be gone while the ant will inherit the earth?! This poem was short and amusing, in addition to thought provoking that I read it about three times. It managed to remind me of the Pixar movie Wall-E, for example, and how a tiny robot, one of many developed in an attempt to clean up the earth with, was the only “person” left on the earth. In the movie he is the only one who seems to have been capable of surviving among the mess that humans left on earth. In the beginning, I wondered where all the humans had gone.
Eventually, we learn that the humans managed to find life on another planet where they have only become less conscious of their actions. One would think they have it even better now considering they didn’t even have to clean up the earth, themselves, before leaving it. On this other planet, humans are no longer walking because they ride carts that take them where they want to go with the push of a button. As a result, these humans end up obese. They are also unhappy although they don’t immediately realize it. They are so absorbed in their electronic devices, that they forget how to interact with other humans, much less know how to fall in love anymore. This movie is another form of media warning humans of what they are doing, and hopefully they will realize it before it is too late. In the movie they were able to migrate to another planet, but the viewers never learn of the details as to how that was even possible or how many of those humans actually made it out of Earth…
Don Marquis’s cockroach friend, Archy, warns humans states that humans are careless and selfish, “man is never of the square, uses up the fat and greenery of the earth, each generation wastes a little more of the future with greed and lust for riches.” In fact, the ant makes sure to remind us over and over again throughout the poem, that “man…goes on steadily cutting the ground from under his feet. Making deserts – deserts – deserts.” This may have been written as far back as the 1920’s but it holds true even today. According to the site below, rain-forests occupy LESS than ½ of the land that they covered a century ago. If that doesn’t stun you, what about the realization that it is only 2% of the earth’s surface?
Let’s stop making more and more problems for future generations to try and miraculously solve. Let’s start making a difference ourselves so that hopefully such a warning really will just be a myth and a joke, rather than the scary reality.
Sources: Marquis, Don. Archy and Mehitable. [S.l.]: Faber, 1931. Print.
Image: “Brian Terrill’s 100 Film Favorites – #30: “WALL-E”” Earn This. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Oct. 2013.