We're number one, we're number one! Photo: iStockphotoFrom the Oregonian: Wild birds competing with youth baseball. City wants to turn Little League diamond into wild space. Little Leaguers don’t want to be forced out of their park.

Should wild birds trump kiddie baseball players? If I say no, does that go against everything I allegedly stand for as an environmentalist a person strongly associated with the green movement?

I wouldn’t say birds shouldn’t trump Little Leaguers. But I wouldn’t say they should. I don’t know how I feel about this issue, here specifically or as it plays out in a variety of arenas every day.

I’m on board with the circle of life and interdependency — although from my privileged urban setting, I think I give less mind to it than I could. But in the course of spending an hour trying to articulate my thoughts here, I’m realizing that, like it or not, “my” environmentalism is fairly well rooted in the notion that improving the environment means improving human circumstances. I’m convinced (due probably more to nurture than to nature) that reducing consumption leads to a happier life. I want clean air so I can breathe it, clean water so I can drink it, and beautiful open spaces so I can frolic in them.

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But if I’m into the environmental thing because it ultimately improves my circumstances, that’s a very humans-are-the-best-evah way of thinking, and in theory I think I want not to be of that mindset. (I guess I was pretty impacted by Ishmael — and by the way, David, I’m still waiting to hear what you thought of it beyond your distaste for Socratic dialogue.)

I guess what I’m trying to say is: Can I even help being a species narcissist? And, more importantly — is it a bad thing?