This I Believe

Theresa - Irmo, South Carolina
Entered on February 5, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

Brought to You by the Food Web: Nature’s Source of Purpose

They’re killing the wolves in Alaska, Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho; they’re poisoning the prairie dogs of the mid-west; they’re trying to kill the beavers in our local creeks; and they’ve massacred the geese at our local pond. Why should anyone care? Those creatures aren’t human- they don’t matter…or do they? In my heart I know they matter – every living thing from a whale to a weed to an ant. I know because I believe in the food web; through it nature has blessed each tiny speck of life with purpose, giving them meaning and necessity. Because of the food web I can dedicate my life to nature and struggle for her cause. The food web gives my fight a purpose, and so my endeavor is not in vain.

I believe in the food web. It’s the balance of life, and through it nature endows every living being – no matter how small, how annoying, how big- with a purpose. Trace its intricate pattern of relationships and you can see how all things are connected, that everything depends on something else, and that when you begin taking organisms away, the delicate balance beings to wobble, headed for an irreversible, inevitable fall. And when the food web falls, so do we. The food web maintains the existence of all living things which make up the ecosystems that make up the world we live in, the world we thrive from, the world whose products make the things we could not live without – clothing, food, fuel, shelter.

As a member of Defenders of Wildlife I am kept painfully aware of the ways in which we humans are hacking away at the food web. Each week there is an e-mail from Defenders of Wildlife pleading me to send a letter to the state’s senators or representatives asking for their help in protecting America’s wildlife. By the number of e-mails I receive and the few fights that are won, I get the feeling that most people don’t know how important each living creature is – not out of malevolence but because no one’s ever told them otherwise. Yet if the food web were drawn out for every living thing, then I would take the finger of every person and guide it along the winding paths of the web and show everyone exactly why we can’t kill the whale, the weed, the ant, that every creature has a purpose connected to us, and without them we begin to ruin our existence.

Nature is my source of happiness; her creatures make me smile and her landscapes fill my senses in a way like nothing else can. I cripple with sorrow when I hear of her plight. Sometimes I wonder why I care so much, but then I remember the food web and all uncertainty ebbs. It gives me a reason to explain to people why I care and can help me teach them to care too, so we can all believe in the food web.