The environmental news lately hasn’t been good. Well, let’s face it, it hasn’t been good since Trump took office. As is his perverse way, Trump surrounds himself with substandard individuals who possess no skill sets for their particular jobs who are guaranteed to take everything President Obama did and hit rewind; the environment is no exception. Last week, lawmakers gutted the Endangered Species Act and environmentalists are up in arms. The resulting proposals would, according to Brett Hartl of the Center for Biological Diversity, “slam a wrecking ball onto the most crucial protections for our most endangered wildlife (Darryl Fears, Washington Post). Hartl further claims that if these regulations existed in the 70s, the bald eagle and gray whale would now be extinct.
The Endangered Species Act came about 45 years ago under Nixon as people were just beginning to figure out that humans were effectively and tragically killing off entire species. Since then, the bald eagle, California condor, grey wolf, American alligator, and Florida manatee have been saved. So, to make up for that uncharacteristic Nixon wisdom, if Trump and his environmental attacks continue throughout his presidency, we may very well lose the Sonoran pronghorn (antelope), the whooping crane, sea turtles, polar bears, and freshwater mussels. Also in potential trouble are the North American wolverine and the monarch butterfly. If there was any doubt that Trump has no clue about the environment or the seriousness of his crimes against the planet, we have his clueless tweets as evidence, such as: “Record low temperatures and massive amounts of snow. Where in the hell is GLOBAL WARMING?”
Environmental attorneys are working feverishly to stop Trump and his reckless disregard for all things that can’t be replaced, including the aforementioned species. But if it would help to offer Trump some alternatives so that he can still say he undid some of Obama’s good work while preserving what is truly worthwhile, I’d like to suggest ten species that the planet could actually do without, species whose sole purpose appears to be either one of destruction and chaos or to live a life of useless indulgence. No one would miss these particular animals, so I submit that this would be a sound move, both environmentally and morally.
First up, let’s examine the orange balding shitgibbon. This is easily the most expendable of the species I’m proposing we actually help nudge along the path to extinction. Push, really. And the sooner the better. Although an animal of very limited intelligence, this one is still a danger to all others in its species, as it has been known to ascend to great heights of power while simultaneously descending about as low as a member of its species can go. And it’s too stupid to even know it. It provokes other species loudly and puts on a big show of toughness, but its cowardice is obvious. It cannot be faithful to any one mate. It weirdly tends to align itself with other species, favoring them over its own.
Next up, we have the ancient wrinkled mock turtle. This worthless animal has nothing to recommend it and will not be missed. It can live for many years while doing damage in every one of them. Like the shitgibbon, it, too, can achieve a certain level of power, but it really excels at being contrary and unfair. It’s also hostile to members of its own species that are not the same color.
We also have the big-eared grinning Wisconsin weasel, a very good candidate for purposeful extinction. This one has the proverbial shit-eating grin that never falters even as it ruins lives and talks out of both sides of its mouth.
The obsequious Midwestern whistledick has already gone three quarters of the way of the dinosaurs, so pushing it over the edge of extinction would be easy. It mates for life and refuses to even be close to other females of its own species save its own mate. Scientists have speculated that this one is actually drawn to others of the same sex but for reasons only it knows, it recoils from them and stays that much closer to its mate. It tends to follow closely the leader of its group even if it means going off a cliff to its destruction.
Much as the mock turtle abhors different colored members of its own species, the Southern tree-dwelling elf bat exhibits prejudice way beyond that of other species. Those who rise to power in this species make dubious decisions that serve only to harm those members of their species that they deem inferior. It has large ears and yet is known for not listening to pleas for compassion. It’s one of the tiniest of the species and yet, surprisingly dangerous.
The non-migratory callous harpy eats her own young and preys on the children of other members of her species. She refuses to be caged but has no qualms about seeing the young of other species caged. Seriously, this is a species no one will miss.
The spineless nocturnal maggot lives to glorify members of other species, in particular the shitgibbon, and in the evenings it will raise its annoying voice to praise them even though they be totally unworthy. Some would say the nocturnal maggot is a parody of itself. Because it’s so hard to take this creature seriously, no one will miss it.
It could actually have a calming effect on other species if we helped the rare blonde shrieking looney bird into extinction. This skinny little bird raises its beak high to trumpet meaningless noise that other species ignore, and while it clearly takes itself very seriously, other species are laughing at it. It has the dubious gift of turning lies into its own ‘truths,’ but that makes it dangerous and I would gladly sacrifice this species to extinction.
The cave dwelling drilling lizard fouls its own habitat and everyone else’s. It has no regard for the earth it inhabits and would sell its soul—or public lands—for whatever it could get. This would be one of the first species I would deem appropriate for extinction simply because it cares nothing about the safety or future of every other species.
Lastly we have the solitary Texas poisonous horned toad. This creature is detested by all species, especially his own, and seems to have a real hatred for the health of other species, even its own. It calls out the shitgibbon on its insanity, but then is too complacent (or perhaps cowardly) to take action against it. Like the Wisconsin weasel, it tends to talk out of both sides of its mouth.
Yes, these ten species could become extinct and no one would miss them. I’m sure there are others, but we could start with these ten. Maybe that would satisfy Trump’s bloodlust to destroy the planet, and he would leave us with the other more worthy species that could be saved with caution and consideration. But I worry about Ryan Zinke, Trump’s environmental hit man. Brett Hartl of the Center for Biological Diversity says that if the proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act are allowed to stand, “Zinke will go down in history as the extinction secretary” (Darryl Fears, Washington Post). But we can fix this, we really can. We just need to practice, you know, practical extinction. And soon.
Other commentaries by Gail Barth:Shitler’s Irony
Trump-Putin Loyalty Program
Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
Real Fake News
Donald Trump: Clueless Idiot or Amoral Serial Killer?
Daughters in the Time of Trump