"This is what it used to be like, back home. The trees are cacophonous with birdsong. The ground is electric with bugs. The rivers are jostling with life. You can't take three straight steps without blundering into the path of some new animal. Back home, the ground has been paved silent, the rivers have been fished empty, the trees echo, and you could walk all day without seeing a creature that isn't wearing clothes or blundering around in a domesticated fog."
Oakland has its appeal, and for all the danger and grime I actually enjoy living here. But I hear stories about bears wandering along the shores of San Francisco Bay and I have trouble picturing it. They were all long gone before I was even born, and it never even occurred to me that they had been there.
It makes me wonder. How much more can we lose, from generation to generation, and forget about, before we actually start to suffer, irrevocably, from the cumulative loss? Eventually we will reach a point where we will live our entire lives without ever seeing animals other than pets and livestock. The very idea of animals surviving independent of humans will seem absurd, since all the independence was bred out of them years ago.
What will we miss? Can it be described?