Bring on “Why?”

Language development is pretty interesting. Young children enter into a phase in which they always ask “What’s that?” My daughter’s been in that phase for a while, and often asks what something is. However, she just started a new phase this week.  “Why?”

Today, she’s been asking me “why” for every time I said “No.” The way she says it is funny. “Eh? Nande nande?” That’s Japanese for “Eh? Why why?” I explained to her every time she asked why. So far, she seems to be accepting the explanations.

Last week, she’d demand to eat something. It went something like this:

Her: Soda.

Me: No.

Her: Soda.

Me: No.

Her: Soda!

Me: No.

Her: Waaaaaahhhhh!

She cried every time she lost.  Today, it’s been like this:

Her: Soda.

Me: No.

Her: Eh? Why why?

Me: Because you just drank some juice. You don’t need to drink so much.

Her: Ehhhh? Wakatta (I understand).

Kind of surprising that she responds that way, but not always. Sometimes she still demands.

A couple other developments in language include a couple things. First, she’s been using full sentences more often in Japanese. Not in English, though. Secondly, she’s been using more English when I say what she said in Japanese, but in English, and she repeats the English word. That’s good. With us moving to Canada next year, she needs to be able to speak English. She understand what I say, she just uses whatever language she’s used to, and that’s Japanese.

My sister is coming to Japan in October. I hope she’ll use English then.

Why Is Cecil’s Death Important?

I’ve been reading the comments on Facebook about the news of Cecil’s death and the Minnesota dentist who killed him. I know, I’m reading comments on social media. I’m bound to encounter a few people who are very wrong on many issues. But it seemed that this has polarised people. On one side, there are those who are concerned and upset by this news. They want the dentist arrested or sent to Zimbabwe to face their justice system. On the other side, there are the people who think this news is unimportant, it’s just a lion, who cares? Human tragedies are far more important, they say. Well, I say those people are wrong.

Why is there an outcry about just this single lion? Why not cry about all the cows being slaughtered for food, or the people dying in wars, or people being killed by police? Well, people are crying about them, first of all. Secondly, this lion is bringing the attention of a bigger problem to the world. Lions are a threatened species. The death of Cecil is not only his death, but the deaths of his cubs. This will decrease the population of lions in that area. But on a larger scale, this brings up the fact that this is happening all the time. By that, I mean poaching and trophy hunting of threatened and endangered species. We’re driving many species to extinction.

What happens if one species goes extinct? The entire food chain in that area has gaps. Other species may fill in, but that doesn’t always work. Animal populations will change, and not always for the better. Take out the top predator, and you get far too many of their prey, who then eat far too much vegetation, which can promote desertification, and the environment in that area continues to degrade. What about ten species going extinct? One hundred? One thousand? Humans are driving thousands of species toward extinction, not just by hunting, but also by climate change, pollution, and destruction of habitats. All of this together can seriously damage not only local ecosystems, but also our own food supply. You know the problem with the bees? Well, if pollinators disappear, so do flowering plants, which pretty much means all fruit and many vegetables may disappear. That’s a big problem.

“But what about all the babies dying?” they say. “What about the women getting raped and the children being forced to become terrorists? We need to focus on them! They’re more important than a few animals!” Right. What about them? If we stop trying to save the animals, then we’re just going to destroy our ability to survive as a species. No animals, severely damaged environment, and we’re going to have starvation and wars worse than we’ve ever seen. Destroy our environment, we destroy ourselves.

Honestly, it’s unbelievable how humans can simultaneously be the most intelligent and stupidest species on Earth. It’s not just about Cecil. It’s about the entire world.