From chapter "Supremacism"
A couple of months ago I received an email with the subject header: “Who cares if there are no salmon?” In it, the person said that she herself is concerned about salmon, as are members of her family, but her son also said, “If you told almost everyone that we could save wild salmon from extinction but they would have to sacrifice the things that dams provide, they would say ‘who cares about the salmon? So we have no salmon. We need electricity—we don’t need salmon.’”
Her son is right about people’s response, and about our enslavement to authoritarian technics.
That’s why I hate this culture.
She wanted to know what I would say to people who say that. Well, first, I don’t talk to them. You can’t often argue someone out of bigotry or narcissism or addiction. But if I were going to respond to them, I would say, “Forests care if salmon die. Salmon care if salmon die. Lampreys care if salmon die. Redwoods care if salmon die. Lots of creatures depend on salmon. Salmon help the entire region where they live. On the other hand, who cares if you die? What use are you to the real world? At least salmon help forests, which is more than can be said for most humans. Is the world a better place because you are alive? Not, is this culture better off? Not, have you put in a really nice garden? Not, have you raised children? I’m talking about wild nature. The real, physical world. The real, physical world is better because salmon are in it. The same can’t be said of people who prefer industrial electricity to salmon. And for the record, we don’t need industrial electricity. We need clean air, water, and food. And habitat. Not industrial electricity.”