Thursday, January 2, 2020

Koalas are so Cute

People must be getting bored with pictures of fire. Lately, as the media cover Australia's latest and most widespread and destructive bushfires, the images that have dominated are of koalas -- being treated for burns, being fed, being given water. Again and again, the headlines: As many as 1/3 of koalas may have died in the fires.

And I couldn't help wondering about all the other animals. What was happening to them?

Finally, today, January 2, The Guardian answered my question. Possibly half a billion animals have died. But when I tried to find that article again, for this blog post, just a couple of hours after I first saw it, it was gone. Koalas had their day in the sun of the media, because they're cute. Most of the others that died aren't cute. Some are ugly. Some are dangerous. But they were all part of an ecology that survived for thousands of years and is now being destroyed.

Remember that photo of a dead child, face down in the sand after having washed ashore from a refugee boat? What is the connection with Australia's koalas? It's that it takes a particular kind of photo to hold our attention for even a few minutes. Cute. Pathetic. Heartbreaking.

And once those few minutes are over, the media pass on and so do we. But animals still die. So do children.

When was the last time you remembered that thousands of children are still incarcerated in detention camps here in the US? Still separated from their parents?

Late addition from Huffington Post:

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