Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Just Flip 'Em!®

Man was given dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and every living thing that feedeth upon the mud at the bottom of the ocean. But with the advent of the internet, certain creatures have stopped asking what they can do for us, and begun to ask what we can do for them.

A case in point is www.horseshoecrab.org, a website started by the Ecological Research & Development Group, a generic-sounding foundation whose sole mission, as it happens, is horseshoe crab boosterism. You probably think of horseshoe crabs, when you think of them at all, as somewhere between starfish and hermit crabs, living flotsam that washed up from the Cretaceous Era and will probably go back out with the evolutionary tide.

But no! Horseshoe crabs, we learn, are a linchpin of the marine ecosystem. (What isn't?) The ERDG is worried because seagulls depend on horseshoe crabs for a large part of their diet, perhaps unaware that seagulls will survive, if they have to, on cigarette butts and pebbles that considerate children throw at them.

What can we do, concerned citizens ask, to ensure an adequate supply of seagulls screaming at us and stealing our french fries? Well it so happens that horseshoe crabs sometimes get flipped over on their backs, waving their nasty legs and genitals piteously, and becoming easy prey for, um, seagulls. Fully 10% of horseshoe crabs die in this way, a fact that is presented to us straight, without any implication that this is something horseshoe crabs should be ashamed of.

What to do about these shameless sea monsters? Just flip em!® There's a song and everything. Now, I'm not saying that there's any reason not to turn horseshoe crabs over, if you find them foundered on the beach. Heck, turn them over and over, or put them on your sleeping friend's belly. But a foundation? A foundation with sponsors and a mission statement and a "staffing philosophy" that reads:

ERDG has developed an international network of professionals with whom it consults on a wide variety of issues. As each project evolves, ERDG assembles a multi-disciplinary team of individuals whose skill levels and training backgrounds are best suited to solving the current problem. This case-by-case approach assures that the best possible talent is utilized to accomplish a project’s goals. Because each team is assembled on an as-needed basis, the majority of ERDG's financial resources are directed to the project at hand and not expended on maintaining a large full-time staff.
For horseshoe crabs?

Turning a gigantic helpless sea tick right-side up is presented as our duty, fully in keeping with the dignity that we posess as the pinnacle of evolution and stewards of God's creation. As I say, flip a horseshoe crab over if you feel like it. I just have a simple question: Who is to be the master?


OpenID catcataract said...

I was intermittently delighted and disgusted by this entry...sea tick? EW! Thank you again for making reading FUN!

10:52 AM  
Blogger pjkobulnicky said...

Yes, alright. But if the foundation offered you a job flipping crabs, would you turn them down?

3:48 PM  
Blogger apk01004 said...

It's Keynes for a new era: pay men to flip horseshoe crabs over, then flip them back.

5:53 PM  

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