5 Ways to Re-Connect to Your Inner Primate

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Monkey Business: 5 Ways to Re-Connect to Your Inner Primate
Hint: That includes we humans
by Monkey Z.
Gorillas, monkeys, and apes often dominate human pop culture, but most of us will go to great lengths to disguise our primate-ness. This denial often plays out in brutal and ugly fashion.
As John Sanbonmatsu, professor of philosophy and politics at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, in Massachusetts, explains:

"Ending the false dualism between the 'dignified' human and the 'bestial' animal, therefore—with the latter reduced to an object always already worthy of extermination, violence, torment—is crucial to tearing down the structure that continually refreshes the ideology and logic of extermination (total war and genocide)."

Translation: By celebrating our primate status rather than denying it, we are able to create connections to other humans and to the natural world that have the potential to lessen violence, exploitation, and ecocide.
[For complete article links and features, please see source at Planet Green here.]
Reminder: We're Monkeys With Delusions of Grandeur

5 Ways to Appreciate Your Primate-ness

1. Say No to Palm Oil

The "harvesting" (translation: clearing, burning, and clear cutting) of palm oil causes deforestation in Indonesian and Malaysian rainforests. This process, explains Glenn Hurowitz at Grist, "releases enough carbon dioxide into the air to rank Indonesia as the No. 3 such polluter in the world. It also destroys the last remaining habitat for orangutans." As "consumers" in the world's largest consumer nation, we have the option of diligently scanning ingredient labels for palm oil and palm kernel oil (and derivatives such as palmitic acid). Reducing demand is a goal within our reach.

2. Say No to Consumer Electronics

The predominantly herbivorous Eastern Lowland Gorilla is a subspecies of Eastern Gorilla found in the forests of eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. Although sociable and peaceful, these gorillas are under siege and part of the blame lands on our insatiable thirst for consumer electronics. Columbite-tantalite (coltan for short) is a metallic ore used in consumer electronics products such as cell phones, DVD players, and computers. Well, coltan is mined in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, an African nation besieged by a particularly brutal civil war (even by today's insane standards). The mining (using child labor) and sale of coltan is used by both sides in the conflict to fund their military mayhem. In addition, the United Nations explains: "In order to mine for coltan, rebels have overrun Congo's national parks, clearing out large chunks of the area's lush forests. In addition, the poverty and starvation caused by the war have driven some miners and rebels to hunt the parks' endangered elephants and gorillas for food." Within the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the number of Eastern Lowland Gorillas has declined by 90% over the past 5 years, and only 3,000 now remain.

3. Be Like Darwin

I mean this two ways. Firstly, there's the way Darwin had a "boundless interest in the many forms life takes on earth. He could find something about any animal or plant that piqued his insatiable curiosity, and masses of such observations fueled his prodigious output of books and scientific papers." Another way to ask "What would Darwin do?" is to reject the "intelligent design" concept. As Michael Parenti asks in God and His Demons: "If the present world is intelligent design's finished work, why does so much of it like unintelligent design?" Parenti muses, "Who designed that tormented morass known as our emotional and psychological make-up?" To embrace evolution is to embrace our primate status.

4. Recognize That We Are Primates

In his bestselling 1967 book, The Naked Ape, author and zoologist Desmond Morris stated that "humans were merely one of the many variations in the ape family." In a follow-up book, The Human Zoo (1969), Morris "likens the urban environment of cities to that of a zoo, illustrating how confined animals seem to demonstrate many of the same behavior patterns as human beings often do in crowded cities."

5. Monkey Wrench in the Name of Monkeys

The green connotation of the term "monkey wrench" arises from Edward Abbey's 1975 novel, The Monkey Wrench Gang, and usually refers to the use of sabotage, activism, and other methods of protesting ecocide. In light of how badly human activity is impacting our primate brethren, monkey wrenching seems all the more appropriate. FYI: The actual monkey wrench tool was invented by a man named Charles Moncky in 1858. The corruption of his last name resulted in the pronunciation: "monkey."  

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