12 year old Eden Joyner tells us about her up and down discussions with her grandmother about endangered animals.
CURWOOD: In homes across the nation this summer, relatives are gathering for family reunions. Sandwiched between card games and the big barbecue are some poignant intergenerational exchanges, including one that 12-year-old Eden Joyner had with her grandmother.
JOYNER: Seventy-eight kinds of birds are endangered in the United States. Its not just birds. Lots of other plants and animals are at risk. There are only about eight panthers left in all of Florida, where Im from.
I used to think that everyone cared a lot about endangered species. I was surprised that my Grandma didnt seem concerned at all about animal extinction. I asked her about it.
GRANDMOTHER: I hadnt really thought about it too much. It seems like there are still so many animals around that I guess I dont worry about just any old thing, not being any more of them around.
JOYNER: I showed her a book of extinct animals, and asked her how she thought about them.
GRANDMOTHER: Some of those pictures were sort of adorable, like pictures you would see that a person had a dream or watched in a movie. And Im sad that theyre gone, but no, I wasnt very affected by that.
JOYNER: But Im affected! In Florida, the manatees might become extinct. I also told her about how passenger pigeons were hunted to extinction.
GRANDMOTHER: There are other pigeons that are a nuisance. So around the building that I work in, there are droppings everywhere. And they have little shock things so that the pigeons cant land on the ledge, and then poop on the people below them.
Its not that Im truly negative toward animals. Weve had a family dog all our lives. Its just that animals were created to provide a service and to be an adjunct to the work we did on a farm. And, just, human beings have my priority.
JOYNER: My grandmas not mean-spirited. She helps those less fortunate everyday. I care about humans, too. But I think we need to make room for other living things, like Noah did on his ark. I asked my grandma what her religion says about animals.
GRANDMOTHER: Thats interesting that you would ask that. Because only today, in my daily Bible reading, it mentioned something that we should honor the animals and not use them unkindly. It seems that maybe I need to have a more sympathetic view or empathetic view to the lot of animals.
JOYNER: Thanks, Grandma. If more people cared about animals and their habitats, maybe my grandchildren will get to know and see animals that we take for granted today. Because extinction is forever.
[MUSIC: THE TROGGS, "WILD THING"]
CURWOOD: Eden Joyner lives in Tallahassee, Florida. Her story was produced by her aunt, Patricia J. Priest.
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