Tuesday, February 19, 2008

It's just too, too divine! Simply tres chic!

Has anyone else been subjected to the horrifying, pedestrian, cliche-ridden, five minutes of filth that make up the Kung Fu Panda trailer?

If you've been spared, you're lucky. Let's just say that Hollywood has come up with yet another dreary way to transform animals into a channel through which they can sell a plethora of tacky licensed products from lip balm to plastic plates and cups, Happy Meals, shoes, and any variety of toy you could possibly envisage.

Most likely, all of this shit will be manufactured in China - home of the endangered Giant Panda, and also the second-highest polluter in the world (running close behind the United States, and catching up rapidly).

The irony will be lost on most people, I'm sure, but I can guarantee you that several thousand acres of land once populated by giant pandas have been razed in order to build the factories that are going to make these cheap, shitty and ultimately doomed-to-the-bargain-basement toys.

The Chinese government seems to have a penchant for destroying landscapes and animal populations to set up their little factories. Just ask the Chinese River Dolphin.

Wait, you can't - they're extinct.

As the panda waits for its time in the hip hop-laced, slang-babbling cinematic spotlight, another animal is still basking in the glory. Yes, I am talking about the penguin.

Featured in March of the Penguins, Happy Feet, Madagascar and Surf's Up, the penguin is a children's staple these days. They just love those penguins and their wacky antics.

What children don't know - and probably won't learn because we like to keep this sort of news a secret - is that penguins are at risk of the same sort of decimation as their northern permawinter compatriots, the polar bears.

Yes - global warming is going to kill the penguins. From Time Magazine:

A new report by French scientists in the Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences finds that king penguins could be wiped out over the coming decades due to global warming. Led by Yvon Le Maho, a physiologist at French National Center for Scientific Research, the team of researchers followed 456 adult birds with radio transponders implanted beneath their skin. Over an eight-year period, the researchers correlated survival rate to changes in sea surface temperatures, and found that in warm years, penguin chicks were less likely to survive the lean months of winter, because there wasn't sufficient fish to feed them. (Warmer temperatures seem to lower fish populations in the Southern Ocean, off Antarctica.) Adult survival rates dropped as well in warmer years. Ultimately, the scientists report that a 0.47 degree F increase in the temperature of the Southern Ocean — considerably below current forecasts for the next several decades — would reduce penguin numbers by 9%, enough to touch off a population collapse. "Our findings suggest that king penguin populations are at heavy extinction risk under the current global warming predictions," the study's authors wrote.
Well, raise my rent. Yet another god damn animal is at risk of being wiped out because we are too lazy to get off our fucking asses and change the way we do things. As we microwave our Hot Pockets and scream at football games and drive from our homes to stores that are three blocks away, the earth around us is crumbling before our eyes. The article continues:
That's bad news for the penguins, and worse news for the rest of Antarctic wildlife. Sitting near the top of the food chain, the king penguins are useful markers for the health of the rest of the Antarctic ecosystem. If global warming means they're not getting enough food, the conditions below the penguins could be even worse. Temperature rise due to climate change is occurring quicker at the poles than the rest of the planet — on the Antarctic Peninsula, temperatures have risen five times faster than the global average over the past 50 years. Even if we can manage to slow the growth in carbon emissions, the poles will likely continue to warm. Though the species that have evolved to survive in harsh Antarctic conditions are necessarily tough, they're also delicate. They're built for the snow and ice — change those conditions, and you take away their habitat and their food supply. Extinction comes next, and nothing can stop it.
Do you think any of the film companies who have made these movies are actually going to do anything to help the animals they so lovingly portray in their cinematic masterpieces?

Say, donate some of the millions of dollars they pilfer from an ignorant, gullible public to a cause that might actually be able to come up with solutions?

Or perhaps the governments of the world could GET OFF THEIR FUCKING ASSES and stop holding worthless and endless meetings? The Bali Conference - all it did was serve to set up another meeting. The Hawaii Conference - no one even HEARD what happened at that one, so I'm assuming it was nothing. What the fuck are our governments doing? GET THE GOD DAMN LEAD OUT OF YOUR ASSES.

Penguins, polar bears and pandas deserve their homes as much as we do, if not moreso.

We can't stand by and watch penguins die off. Instead of buying a shitty plastic cup or a junky set of action figures when Madagascar 2 and Kung Fu Panda come out, do something else with your money.

It is our responsibility to fix this shit.

No comments: