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Nowadays, conservation of nature needs different opinions to be successful. The events described in the book When the killing happens seem to explain this statement. T.C Boyles tries to show how man’s greed has led nature to mass extinction. The description given in the book shows how man fails to think of the future and goes ahead to destroy the environment. The fact that an island is so natural, conserved, and uncontaminated shows the true nature of the universe before the invasion of men. The competition between the two conservative groups further shows hypocrisy of those who claim they will conserve nature. It is clearly indicated by Alma Boyd Takesue, one of the faction’s leaders. He seems deceitful and unable to understand the true meaning of conservation. Nevertheless, there is Dave Lajoy who understands the notion of true conservation and is ready to protect the environment.
The fact that the two groups fight for a natural island that has been uninhabited for years shows greediness and self-accomplishment in both factions. The suggestion made by one of the conservatives for killing unnatural species is unreasonable and meaningless. David’s claim about protecting species is prudent and reflects the true spirit of conservation. The attempt to poison the species is thus questionable and controversial. The description of the natural environment and its nutritious food is another factor that makes the story line fascinating and more appealing. In addition, it brings the reader back to the days of natural resources, environment, and uncontaminated food. The author describes the meal as fascinating and highly nutritious. He states that there is war even on hazy Channel Islands. Moreover, this is the worst kind of war, because it provokes quarrel between close people. Wrecking of ships on the island indicates the beginning of its contamination. Then follows the poisoning of rats and birds. This massive killing shows the lack of will to see the main principles of any natural ecosystem.
Boyles suggests that killing of all non native animals, including the black rats, sheep, and pigs, for conserving the natural ones is questionable and lacks sense. Boyles’ approach to conservation does not support retention of a natural habitat, but its destruction. The author protests, “Deny our responsibility and let the harm we've done be our total legacy on earth?” David’s claim should exist as he understands that the natural environment means co-existence of all common species. Although he fails to explain this amicably due to his hot temper, it is evident that he feels that the approach taken by the rival group is wrong.
The availability of nutritious food on the island is another sign of how natural it was. The author describes food as delicious and nutritious. He says, “she became a genius of the quick but nutritious meal, stir-fry mainly, cauliflower, Bock Choy, mushrooms, snow peas, bean sprouts ... (Boyle 54)." This description shows that the natural environment was both beneficial to animals and humans. However, Boyles feels that it is not enough for the environment with all those things around. In his quest for converting the environment into what he wants it to be, he finally destroys the whole island with poison. In response, David is angered and laments bitterly by saying that they must take responsibility. This scene shows different opinions of preserving this environment.
The death of birds from poisoning causes their near extinction on this island. Boyle’s proposal for the management of the island has devastating outcome. The death of the rats, the movement of the pigs, and the poisoning of the birds almost leaves the island lifeless. There are no more native animals, and the natural environment is also gone. The advice given is not as useful as it seemed to be.
The war that begins between women portrays clear mind and internal conflict within the human race. The individuals involved fight and differ whenever they see dying or dead animals. Well-meaning animal lovers feel hurt by what they see while destroyers feel that they have achieved what they wanted. This is clearly portrayed in the scene when they have found a whale dying due to acid poisoning. The exchange of words between the two groups shows the position they have taken in this matter. The destruction experienced in this part of the world is too vast and difficult to comprehend. The destruction of the environment and dispersion of dangerous and strong poisons with the aim of leaving only native animals and plants was not practical as the possibility of poisoning the whole environment, as it happened, was extremely high, and there was a need to calculate this. The support of the authorities for this action was absurd and drastic, because they had the highest responsibility for protecting the island. The fact that leaving only native wildlife in the area had no single material benefit to the perpetrators makes it more unreasonable. There was a need to seek the opinion on both sides before undertaking the project. The drowning of the rats, killing of hawks and other organisms destroys the beauty observed at the beginning of the book. It also causes pain to animal lovers as they watch how everything is dilapidating, and they can do nothing to help.
The authorities, in this part of the world, take no initiative to the endangered environment. They fail to take precaution of analyzing the effects of the chemicals used on the island. The use of DDT which is known as poison and environmental hazard is left to run and consume the lovely birds, plants, and the sea at large. This makes the well intending individuals miserable as they experience the pain of the animals. They watch as the sea drifts and expose the million years old coral leaf. The failure of the authorities is deep and of great concern.
The involvement of the authorities causes animal lovers and people of good will much pain as they have, to some extent, involved themselves in the destruction. The island which has been in the natural state for more than one thousand years suffers from such destruction within a short time. It shows the effects of modern science and technology and possible impacts that the world may experience in the future, for instance, subsequent death of human kind. This may be true considering the harm caused to the island and the creatures in it. The people with ill motives will destroy themselves as they destroy others.
In conclusion, it is right to say that David and his group are the only people who show moral understanding of nature and running of the ecosystem. Although they finally lose the war, they have shown immense courage and outstanding will to protect the environment and its contents. As for Boyles and his group, they emerge as winners because they have managed to control the whole island. However, in reality, they have lost as all they can show is destruction and sense of uncertainty in the futurAe. The author of the book has managed to show how differently people take advantages of their authority and how little they know about technology that can harm others. In addition, people are considered to be winners. In this case, it is evident that those who cause the biggest damage to the universe are those with poor understanding of its structure, like Boyles and his team.