You’re studying when a fly shows up, whizzing around the room, sometimes settling on your arm before you swat it away. Next time it sits on your desk, you drop your book on top of it.
Before going to bed, you notice a mosquito on your wall. You smash it with a rolled-up newspaper, because if not, you will wake up tomorrow with new itchy bites on your ankles.
There’s a spider in your sink. Horrified, you turn the tap on to flush it away from sight.
These are situations we’ve all been in and find normal. But do you ever stop to reflect on what you just did? You killed something because it mildly inconvenienced you. In this article I won’t be asking you for something drastic like changing your diet. I’m just asking you to quit being a dick.
It may not be life-changing for you, but for all those little things whose lives you will spare – it is.
Simply keep in mind that this little thing that is disrupting your life has one of its own. It is sentient. No matter its level of consciousness, it is alive. No matter how scary it looks, it deserves to live. You wouldn’t think someone is less worthy of life because they’re dumb or ugly, would you?
We have grown to think that because we have the power to kill other beings, we have a right to do it. That humans are superior to other animals. I think doubting this is often the first step to environmentalism. If ending your habit of smashing bugs turns out to be your first step, that would be so great.
But no matter your (current) philosophical stance on the human-animal relationship, I think we can agree that impulsively ending a life, no matter how small, out of fear, anger or irritation is truly a dick move once you think about it. So, just don’t.
Instead, move our friends somewhere safer for them, and more convenient for you. In case you have literally never done this, here is how to: you take a glass, put it on top of whoever is scaring you, and slide a solid piece of paper under the glass to keep them enclosed. Then take them to the nearest patch of vegetation or window they can fly out of. Let me stress that moving a bug somewhere it has low chances of survival is both lazy and as immoral as killing them yourself, so don’t.
Once you’ve saved a few bugs instead of arbitrarily killing them, it’ll start to feel natural to do so. After a while, killing bugs will seem irrational and cruel. You’ll be a gentler person with better karma, and you’ll spare many lives.
This article is part of the special edition in partnershipwith Environnementon