Shoes, clothing and tchotchkes made from the bones and skins of
threatened and endangered animals, victims of illegal wildlife
trafficking, often end up up at the National Wildlife Property Repository in Commerce City, Colorado. Some are eventually donated
to educational facilities and non-profits, or to scientific
institutions, but taken as whole, the contents of the 22,000-square-foot
warehouse are testament only to the growing, $23 billion global
“I don’t think people realize the volume or the extent that wildlife
and plants are used in trade,” says specialist Doni Sprague. “If you can
imagine it, it’s probably here in some form or another.”
Sprague took the Atlantic
on a tour of the repository, which lives tragically up to her promise —
although some of the items she shares, like a mounted tiger fetus taken
straight from its mother’s body, likely defies the imaginations of
most. - Salon
Humans do truly terrible things. We do them to ourselves, to each other, to the helpless, to the meek, to the mild, to the innocent and guilty alike. There is so much darkness within us that it is sometimes difficult to imagine that this world could ever be a pleasant place with us still around.
There are good people, people who care and who devote their lives to trying to undo some of the harm that other people caused, certainly. This is enough to prove that humans have the capacity for compassion and kindness along with a capacity for cruelty. At the moment who you will be is dictated by forces beyond your control (to a degree) such as your circumstances of birth, upbringing and education. Free choice is always present, and yet it is more likely that you will not exercise your choice, but that you will rather claim to be powerless to your nature and spend most of your life feeling like a victim of your body, circumstances and even thoughts. Even within this general outcome there are some people who are the exception, who rise above the circumstances of their lives and make the choice to change themselves. This transcendence of our apparent nature is what must happen on a global scale so that humanity can move forward without being defined by our circumstances of birth.
We must exercise our ability to choose for ourselves who we will be and how we will live - this is the only way to truly change the world. We must overcome the boundaries which we continue to enforce within ourselves, the boundaries that define who we are and who we are not.
There are so many things that we have created in this life that we should be ashamed of, so much that we do that causes others to suffer. We have so far chosen to accept that these things are just a part of life and that they will always happen, to a greater or lesser extent. This is the belief that we must stop. When we see that something is happening that is not right, we should stand up and speak up. We must be able to say exactly why it is unacceptable and focus on finding solutions to the problem. There is currently so much focus on the problems in the world that not enough attention is given to developing and researching potential solutions. We tend to get stuck in the problem, feeling like there is no way out - this causes us to miss potential solutions and look at things from only one perspective.
If we are going to change the world we will need to change how we live. We cannot continue living this way and expect things to magically get better on their own - we have to create the change - that means living the change we want to see. In order to develop workable and good solutions we have to also understand the problem, how it started and how it functions. Seeing this will allow us to work out alternative ways of moving forward without feeding the problem more or causing new ones.