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Sarasota News Leader July 26, 2013 OPINION Page 70 always seems to be a tiny minority who cre- Earlier this month, Audubon volunteers found that someone had dragged a heavy chaise ates the most damage. lounge through the buffer areas near Beach Two bird species that like to call Siesta Public Accesses 3 and 4, creating deep tracks that Beach home much of the year — Least Terns also destroyed many nests. One would hope and Snowy Plovers — are considered endan- that it was absent-mindedness that was the gered. Their natural habitat is becoming more cause of this vandalism, but the buffer areas and more limited. are so clearly marked and awareness of the birds' special needs so well known that a more Their tiny size and nesting habits, which likely reason is crass hostility. Some heartless amount to little more than laying eggs in a de- person has demonstrated that having the most pression in open sand or grass on the beach, beautiful beach also means attracting those make them especially vulnerable to the de- who not only cannot fully appreciate its beaustructive power of human carelessness … or ty, but who also seek to diminish it. malice. When humanity was given "dominion over the As a consequence, buffer areas are clearly fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, marked on the beaches of Siesta Key, warning and over ... all the wild animals of the earth," beachgoers to avoid these areas because they it surely was with the expectation that such are popular with the increasingly rare birds. dominion would be that of a benevolent monarch, not a tyrannical despot. The Sarasota Audubon Society annually mobilizes a small army of volunteers who guard Humanity's evolution as a species no longer the patches of beach and dunes that make up can be considered to involve survival only at the birds' diminishing nesting grounds. The the expense of many other life forms. Rather, volunteers celebrate each year the few nest- humanity's survival depends on how well it lings that hatch and grow into self-sufficient minimizes its impact on the rest of creation. adults. And they mourn the losses to the birds' An enlightened consciousness of this reality is the best indication that our species truly is natural predators, mostly crows. "evolving." But more than mourning is called for when Albert Einstein once wrote, "If a man aspires the nests are destroyed by humans. There are towards a righteous life, his first act of abstilaws and ordinances in place to protect and nence is from injury to animals." encourage these tiny creatures to propagate, and those people who do them harm are in Humanity was gifted with dominion over the violation of those laws and should be justly earth by the Creator, not as owners but as stewards. Every pristine land destroyed, evpenalized. ery species driven into extinction, is an abject So far this year, there have been two blatant breach of that trust. The divine retribution examples of vandalism in the buffer areas, that forces our species down the same path where signs and marking boundaries were to oblivion likely will be the planet becoming torn down. There even was a fire set to the too hostile for our survival … and a fate of our own making. % brush in one buffer spot.

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