As we celebrate World Environment Day on June 5th, we should not overlook the significance of its connection to the World Day Against Speciesism, also on June 5th. So much of our environmental damage is the result of our disregard for our fellow species with whom we share the Creation. Because we eat them, we destroy natural environments and burn down virgin forests to create land to grow crops to feed them. We may think that by putting them in factory farms we are saving space, but we need significantly more space to grow crops to inefficiently feed farmed animals than we would need simply to feed ourselves directly.
Speciesism is the irrational prejudice that puts humans on a pedestal. It assumes humans are superior to all other species and have the right to exploit them and make them suffer for our needs and wants. It is a prejudice similar to sexism or racism. The term was coined by the psychologist, ethicist, writer and political animal lobbyist, Dr Richard D. Ryder in 1970.
For those looking for a way to help the environment on World Environment Day, consider the way we treat our fellow creatures. By extending our circle of compassion to include them, we will do much to end their suffering and save planet Earth.