What is a Parasite?
Updated: Sep 7
You might have stumbled across this page looking for a dictionary definition of the word "parasite" Well I can give you that definition, but I can also offer you much much more on why the human race is the biggest parasite to have ever walked on Earth - The very thing that the we are leeching off.
Dictionary Definition of Parasite
n. an organism that lives in or on an organism of another species (its host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the other's expense.
So traditionally people would consider things like lice and leeches to be parasites. Leeches live on the skin and feed off your blood. Lice live in the fur of cats and dogs, and live off their "host" animal.
But let's consider for a moment the largest "host" we know. Planet earth. Now think about the definition of the word parasite, and what springs to mind? Like maybe the entire human race for instance?
Look at the way we show complete disregard for the planet's resources. In fact, check this statement out, and really think about it for a moment:
"If the history of the entire planet up to now was compressed into one year, mankind emerges on 31st December at 11.58pm, and in the last few seconds of the year, it has:
Increased atmospheric CO2 by 40%
Destroyed 80% of mammals, 50% plants and 15% of fish
Caused extinction rates to increase by a factor of nearly 1000.
Used up one third of the Earth's natural resources
Shocking don't you think? Let's look at our parasitic behaviour in more detail
Why are humans the biggest parasites on the planet?
By 2050, it is estimated that the world's oceans will contain more plastic than fish, by weight. And why? Well it's simple. As of 2015, we had generated 6.3 trillion tonnes of plastic waste, recycling only 9%. With 12% being incinerated, this equates to 79% that ended up in landfills or our oceans. At the current rate of oceanic pollution, it is predicted that there will be no more fish in our oceans within just 27 years.
And is it any surprise? This is the sight that met me on a Monday morning very recently (August 2020) whilst out on my morning walk with my labrador, Casper...
Complete disregard for a space I can only describe as beautiful woodland. Trees broken, litter everywhere. Who did they think was going to clean this up?
The thing that maddens (and saddens) me about this is - these people managed to carry all this drink to the site. Why the hell can't they also take it away with them?
Now I didn't just leave this for someone else to clear up. I used the empty bag you can see just beside Casper to gather as much as I could. Because of time constraints and lack of more bags I unfortunately couldn't do more.
Now I like to see the best in people, and when I returned on the following day, the site had been cleared. I'd like to think that a few of the party, after getting over their hangovers had returned the next day to clear up after themselves. This I'll never know, but I do know how mad i was when I stumbled across the sheer mess in the middle of my favourite walk on a Monday morning.
Dwindling Natural Resources
As a human race, we are depleting natural resources at a frightening rate. The stats further up reinforce this. If we don't look at more sustainable ways of living, there will be no planet as such left for generations to come.
And the thing is, it's not difficult. We don't necessarily have to be radically different. Just a little thought into the materials we are using would help. We wrote an article last year on the qualities of bamboo as a sustainable material. It's worth a read as the properties of bamboo is staggering!