By now, most people have heard about WWF’s 2020 Living Planet report. It unequivocally told us that species are dying out, biodiversity is at an extreme risk, and yes, it is our fault. The report states that wildlife population sizes have had an average decline of 68% since 1970, 75% of the earth’s land has been significantly altered, the majority of the oceans are polluted, and 85% of wetland areas have been lost. It presents some pretty damning evidence that we are harming our environment and animal/plant species at unprecedented rates.
Did you also know that the X-Files touched on this topic in an episode called Fearful Symmetry (Season 2: Episode 18)? Me neither! Since Covid-19 has put a tiny damper on my social life, I’m watching X-Files for the first time ever and, much like climate-change, I’m watching it at a rapid rate. Yesterday I was watching it and felt an odd sense of deja-vu. The following will definitely have spoilers so, if you’re like me and still haven’t watched X-Files after 25 years, be warned.
Witnesses see a storm or heavy but invisible presence trample a man. An elephant is found escaped from the zoo some miles away and dies. Mulder digs deeper and finds out that animals have escaped from the zoo before, there have been UFO sightings in the area, no animal in the zoo has ever given birth, and there is a gorilla named Sophie in the zoo who can understand and communicate with sign language. Sophie the gorilla has been signing “Light afraid”. Mulder’s got a spooky hunch, so he asks Scully to perform a necropsy on the elephant and they find that the elephant had been pregnant. A tiger also escapes and is killed. The tiger has also been pregnant before. So where did the elephant and tiger babies go and how did the animals get pregnant in the first place? Mulder deduces that the animals were artificially inseminated through alien abduction and then returned slightly off course away from the zoo. Why? Mulder says “maybe for their own Noah’s ark? To preserve the DNA of these animals that we’re depleting to extinction?” WOAAAAAAAH. That’s too deep. That’s too real. Do we have to start praying that the aliens are one step ahead of us and are taking copies of our animal species because we messed this up too badly? Is that our biggest source of hope?
Okay so Sophie elaborates on her “light afraid” statement and says she’s afraid because “baby go flying light”. I might cry. Give this gorilla an Emmy. Meanwhile, the zoo is shutting down and Sophie is being claimed and sent back to Malawi. Some other stuff goes down that’s not super relevant to that WWF report and our current global predicament, so I’ll skip it. Sophie ends up attacking Mulder, maybe as a reminder that even an animal that is treated like a child and can communicate with us, is still an animal and inherently wild. Mulder is fine but a flash of light appears, and Sophie disappears. Before Sophie disappears, she gives Mulder one last message in sign language. He repeats the message and it means “man save man”. Sophie is found on the highway and dies. I low-key cried. Mulder says “The motives of the silent visitors who set these events in motion remain unclear. Could this be a judgement on our global rate of extinction that has risen to 1000 times its natural rate in this century? An act of alien conservation of animals we are driving hard toward oblivion? And if so, might it follow that our own fate and existence could finally be dependent on the conservatorship of an extra-terrestrial race? Or, in the simple words of a creature whose own future is uncertain, will man save man?” LIKE WHAT?! Does that not perfectly fit our current predicament (minus the aliens)? As I mentioned previously, I’m about 25 years late on watching X-Files so why are we still having the exact same conversation and not doing anything to improve it? If we can’t be bothered to protect animals and biodiversity, can we really be expected to protect ourselves and make the necessary changes in time? Will man save man?
I hope we will. I think we can change and we can improve. It’s going to require everyone to believe though. The [climate-saving] truth is out there.