Mon | Aug 2, 2021

Michael Abrahams | Humans - The biggest jerks on the planet

Published:Monday | July 22, 2019 | 12:00 AM

Recently a thought came to my mind. I asked myself, if I had to choose one organism to eliminate from the planet, to make Earth a better place, which would it be? The first creature I thought of was the cockroach. I rarely use the word hate. It is very negative. But I absolutely, totally, unequivocally hate cockroaches. When they are on the floor or on walls, I am like a badass ninja with insect spray or shoes. But when they fly, I run away like a frightened little child. Not that I am afraid of them, but they are nasty AF (and frousy) and I wish to have no contact whatsoever with them.

Then I thought of mosquitoes. They carry horrible diseases that kill over half a million people every year. There are thousands of species of mosquitos, but only a very small minority carry diseases, and in these cases only the females transmit them. Also, mosquitoes make great food for dragonflies, frogs, birds and bats. So, they have some use.

Then my thoughts turned to us: human beings. Regarding the well-being of the planet, what do we bring to the table? Of what benefit are we to Planet Earth? When I see what has happened and continues to unfold in the world, I am convinced that the third rock from the sun would be far better off without homo sapiens.

Take a look, if you will, at the flora and fauna on the planet. Are any of them more of a pain in the ass than human beings? I know that malaria sucks and cockroaches are yucky, but human beings just cannot stop being jerks.

Most creatures kill for survival. They kill to eat, protect themselves and their offspring or defend their territories. Man, on the other hand, will kill for no good reason. Think about it, which creature will travel tens of thousands of miles just to kill another creature that is minding its own business and is not posing a threat to it? Only one. It amazes and disturbs me tremendously when I read of men who will spend vast amounts of money to fly from their homelands, across oceans, to pump bullets into a wild, often endangered animal, just to be able to say they killed it, while posting pictures in social media and mounting the animal’s head in their homes. Humans will also set up other animals such as dogs or cocks to fight one another to death, for pleasure and financial gain, and create “sports” such as bullfighting where we torment the poor creatures before killing them.

We do not treat one another well either. Yes, some animals will kill other members of their own species for a variety of reasons, but humans take this killing thing to a whole ‘nother level. While some of us work assiduously to enhance the existence of our fellow human beings, there are some who have dedicated their lives to building bigger and better weapons of mass destruction that can literally wipe large land masses and their inhabitants off the face of the Earth.

And it is not just about killing, we are excellent at making life miserable for our brothers and sisters. We discriminate against one another based on ethnicity, skin colour, nationality, gender, religious belief, political affiliation, sexual orientation and other characteristics. There is always some fight, skirmish or war in progress somewhere in the world as we fail to get along with one another.

And we have scant regard for our home: planet Earth. The seaweed Sargassum has no brains. It does not know that it is messing up our coastlines. We, on the other hand, are endowed with the most complex neurological systems. We can read, write and reason. We know better, but do not do better. We pollute our air, land and bodies of water with impunity, endangering not only the lives of other life forms, but ours too. We know the harm that carbon emissions and non-biodegradable materials do to the environment but have been sluggish in enacting legislation to control their use.

We also know about climate change but fail to take it seriously enough. There may be debate about how much we contribute to it but is undeniable that it is happening. Sea levels are rising, coastlines, and some islands, are disappearing and some animal species are on the brink of extinction. It is well documented, but many of us do not care, and continue to defile, contaminate and abuse the very home we live in.

So, would the world be better off if we were not here? I am convinced that it would be a way cooler planet, literally and figuratively, without us.

- Michael Abrahams is a gynaecologist and obstetrician, comedian and poet. Email feedback  to and, or tweet @mikeyabrahams.