14 Year Old Asks: Are Humans Really the Smartest Species? ~ Zachary Monkman

Via Zachary Monkman
on Nov 6, 2013
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Are humans really the smartest species?

We think we’re better, tougher and stronger than all other beings on the planet. Are we?

Humans are destroying the planet. Global warming, caused by burning fuel and removing forests is responsible for melting the ice and making the oceans acidic. We’re killing off everything around us and ourselves the way we’re living today.

Education is available to us—on the internet, in high schools and universities, on television and in movies and documentaries—but people don’t want to educate themselves. Are humans really that smart if we have all of this information available and so few of us are using it?

We could learn a thing or two from the animal world. Animals don’t suffer from greed, they live only by the instinct to survive in the natural world. A squirrel, in taking more than he needs for winter (just in case) ends up planting trees with leftover seeds. That little rodent is accidentally replacing the forests we need to survive. Our accidents are not so happy.

Animals live naturally in their environment instead of creating a world made of plastic. So maybe, their inability to destroy our world like humans do actually makes them the smarter creature. They don’t cause a possible mass extinction of their own species and planet—we do.

What can we do?

Here’s my idea:

Let’s help the most experienced people become the ones who are making the decisions.

It’s the people who are living in plastic trash and filth, who are the most impacted by our pollution, that would have the most experience and have the greatest need to change.

Many of the people with first hand experience of how we’re destroying our world are the ones in third world countries, living without modern comforts. They’re people who have been suffering the side effects of our impact on this planet. With one broad stroke of ignorance (from the people who really don’t experience things like plastic trash islands and living in plastic trash-filled back yards), we’re digging the graves of humanity and animals alike.

Put those people in charge of making decisions.

The ones who know the consequences best will know more than the people sitting in air conditioned mansions making bad decisions. Take the hardest hit people, who know the effects and have experienced what we’re doing to them, who are on the front lines, and provide them with the money, education and other resources to make a change. Let normal, regular people like you and me, who have experienced sickness and normally don’t have any power to make decisions, be put in charge.

Why do I, a 14-year-old kid, really care that much? I mean, I have other more fun things to think about.

Right now, people are sick. I might be sick. I could be physically and mentally sick and not even know it. When I don’t feel like getting up in the mornings, is that just being a teenager or is it a by-product of how sick we’ve made ourselves?

I’ve just had my blood tested because of a rash that won’t go away. We don’t yet know if it’s something serious or nothing to worry about, and that makes me worried. Is this because of my polluted, plastic environment?

Is it happening to our brains already? Is the pollution affecting our ability to think, preventing us from accepting the solution to fixing ourselves and our planet? Are we so sick that we can’t learn quickly enough from our mistakes and do something about it?

My future is affected too.

I may one day be living on a planet with no ocean, no air and no land to enjoy. We’ll all be suffering from some form of sickness. Our planet will be a wasteland.

I will have to deal with this when I’m older and the people making decisions right now will be long gone.

So, are we the smartest species? No, I don’t think so. Could we be? Yes.

We must stop affecting our planet this way. We need to educate ourselves as well as the people who experience the most hardship, then act on what we’ve learned. Then maybe, we can change the current “normal,” lay claim to being the smartest species, and save our world.


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Ed: Catherine Monkman

{Photo: Flickr.}


About Zachary Monkman

Zachary Monkman lives and attends high school in Manitoba, Canada. Along with his family, Zach is learning about a more mindful and green existence and hopes to one day help make the planet a better place for everyone.


6 Responses to “14 Year Old Asks: Are Humans Really the Smartest Species? ~ Zachary Monkman”

  1. Zachary, thanks for the article and thanks for caring and making your voice heard. I was a lot like you in high school! Our species is pretty stupid sometimes. I do see people waking up more and more, however and fortunately there are lots of smart cookies like yourself! Rock on.

  2. Kris Lord says:

    Bravo. I have much respect for your input and ideas, and for a long time, have felt that perhaps humans aren't the most 'superior' species on the planet after all. There are so many examples of other animal species that intuitively know how to leave enough of their surroundings intact for the following season – we could learn so much from them. Please keep writing!

  3. honi rosen says:

    if zachary ever runs for president, he will have my vote!

  4. Debbie Franz says:

    Zachary you have amazing writing skills and insight. I hope there is nothing wrong with your health. Wishing a great future for you, since I am sure you will be successful in whatever you undertake.

  5. Tatiana says:

    This is an amazing article Zach! I’m so happy you’re standing up for your beliefs, and I agree completely with everything you wrote. I hope many people get a chance to read this article and take the step to making change. Wishing you the best from a fellow Manitoban!

  6. Mary LeRoy says:

    Yes, people have been greedy and taking too much, even after they are educated on how it is wrong. It's easy to feel defeated and give up hope when you realize all the terrible things we have done. But yet mother nature still supports us, gives us new gifts every day. Your example of how the squirrel only takes what it needs and leaves the rest is the sort of thinking that could really inspire people to make a change. We have so much to learn from our plant and animal brothers! Thank you for the gift of your writing. If you want to help, please, continue writing. Also, plant a garden. Gardening, and being a steward I believe is the most important step humans can take to regaining a positive relationship with the land. Good luck!