Humans can — and should — learn much from the tortoise

The article headlined “After two-week escape, tortoise on the run no more” in the Aug. 17 edition made me ponder not only the lifestyle of tortoises but also our way of life.

It’s commonly known that tortoises live a long time, having a life span of 100 years.

Why do they live so long? The first reason probably is their slowness. Because of their slow moving and their lifestyle, it is believed that they consume energy wisely and that they can survive without food or water for as long as six months. They move very slowly, less than 0.3 kph. This is probably why the escaping tortoise was found safe not far from the zoo.

One more reason they are so long lived, of course, is that they are peace-loving creatures and generally live stress-free lives.

On the other hand, particularly in our recent history, we human beings love fastness — cars, airplanes, bullet trains, fast food, the internet — and unfortunately lead stressful lives. And though humankind also loves and seeks peace, at the same time we always produce serious problems such as discrimination, hatred and wars.

It is very sad to know that tortoises are an endangered species for various reasons. Human beings now have a huge number of nuclear weapons and the whole world faces instant destruction. In this sense, I state with confidence that human beings already can be classified as an endangered species and are the most dangerous animals in history.

We can learn a lot from tortoises. It is a historical fact that tortoises have been on planet Earth even before the dinosaurs. Which is wiser and lives longer, the tortoise or the human being?

HIROSHI NORO
HADANO, KANAGAWA PREFECTURE

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.