According to E.O. Wilson, (biologist, researcher in sociobiology, biodiversity etc.) we know very little about our planet, tens of thousand species are unknown to us.
Everything exists for a reason, even if it’s an evolutionary experiment that doesn’t work. Which of these animals, bacteria, insects, fungi, plants are crucial to the health of the ecosystems that they live in? Which may cure certain cancers or Parkinson’s disease, etc.? All of these and more possibilities are going to disappear if we don’t do something to change the environmental path we are on NOW. Why is it we treat our planet and all that lives on it with such disregard that we ultimately destroy the only thing that we can live on. It doesn’t make sense.
In our society, there are quite a few that believe that God will fix the problem, and therefore nothing needs to be done. And of course there are climate change deniers or people who don’t believe that we humanoids are causing global warming. First, God’s not going to fix it. Get over this. What about free will and being stewards? That’s in the Bible too. It is our responsibility.
Our brain has evolved in linearly with our technologies which, as evidence by the nuclear threat and global warming, have had extremely dangerous consequences. In part, it will be technologies that will help save us from the latter threat. We can choose to use technologies to help or to destroy.
Once upon a time, not long ago, the earth had lived in a reasonably balanced state for quite a few thousand years. The carbon cycle (more on this later) remained stable, and as a result, life was given the chance to thrive. That is no longer the case. There are also some brilliant natural solutions to part of the problems we face. These will be talked about in this section.
All of this began innocently enough as industrialization came into being, despite early warning signs: toxic rivers, plenty of belly up fish, and deadly fogs in London were clear signs that the byproducts of an industrialized life had detrimental effects on the environment. And, yes, they took measures to fix those problems. At the time, the earth seemed to big to imagine that what we were doing could, especially in such a short amount of time, result in today’s fight for our lives.
Though we had known for a long time that the rain forests are the lungs of the earth, it hasn’t stopped people from cutting them down. Time and time again, greed and big money interests ‘win’ the battles over environmental wisdom.
Then too, there is the dodgy topic of overpopulation. One almost has to whisper this else knives be thrown. We casually talk about how by the year of . . . the population will be 6 billion folks on our planet. Though questions of sustainability is on the minds of concerned people, and many are attempting to figure out new technologies to sustain such a large population, does anyone think about what happens after 6 billion: 10 billion, 20 billion? For GMO’s haters, GMO’s will be a part of our future, and may be the only answer to feeding an increasingly human take over of the earth. Frankly, I’d prefer trying to figure out a way to make Global Zero Population Growth rather than large families something to celebrate. Don’t misunderstand me, I understand the appeal of having a large family for those who want them. However, what will their future look like. I talk to expectant mothers all the time, and many simply don’t think about what their kids are inheriting. A world of starvation will not be pretty.
Mind you, we have been genetically modifying all sorts of things not long after humankind picked up a spade. For example, apples originally came from Afghanistan. They were very small and not particularly tasty. How many varieties do we have today? Long before laboratory manipulation of genes came into being, we created many new types of apples, as well as roses, breeds of dogs, etc.. Do you think it’s possible that plants have manipulated us to become more diverse as a species? Check out Michael Pollan’s book, Botany of Desire: A plant’s eye view of the world (good read). Think about everything that’s new before jumping on any no bandwagon. For example, GMO’s. Yes, I think it’s better to eat organic vegetables for many reasons, though I do question if organic vegetables will be able to sustain our growing population. Caution is warranted and we’re going to find out the effects, if any to eating these plants. Yes, if some people get cancers or other maladies from eating these foods, that would be awful. Is there a greater good scenario that comes out of this. We don’t know yet. And, if I am only thinking for myself, I would certain be happy to try a nut without oxalates – I don’t even know if a nut would be a nut without oxalates, but I sure do miss eating them. Life is one big experiment. Whether one likes it or not, there has been great good that has come from the Industrial Revolution, unfortunately, if we don’t do something quickly, the negative consequences will be catastrophic.
Briefly, there are ways in which we can help nature to begin to heal itself, and one has to do with reestablishing the natural way that the Carbon cycle operates in our environment. Carbon dioxide (too plentiful in the atmosphere = global warming) with the help of the sun is processed in plants, photosynthesis, breaking the bonds between Carbon and Oxygen. The carbon is retained in the soil and oxygen is released in the atmosphere. Carbon rich soil results in creating a soil ecosystem that supports a diverse population of thousands of beneficial organisms, and water is absorbed into the soil, resulting in an above ground oasis. Many habitats have been completely restored in only a few years. It is suggested that the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere could be reduced to below pre-industrial numbers using this method to be discussed shortly. This does not mean that emission of CO2 and other poisons into the atmosphere also need to be curtailed. See article entitled, Meet Allan Savory and read Cows Save the Planet by Judith D Schwartz.
Meanwhile, back to GMOs. This is not to say that anything goes or that we don’t need to keep an eye on what’s going on in the GMO world. The morality of some of experiments must be addressed, e.g. turkeys that cannot walk because their breast are too big–never mind what we might be ingesting because we really like white meat. In so saying, one needs to consider the potential benefits. Manipulating genes are curing some cancers and so on. The thing is, we have a brain that reaches for the stars, and because of this you cannot stop humans from trying new things all the time–some will be great, and others terribly flawed. Ethical issues need to be balanced with the common good, and inhumane practices, in my opinion, need to be outlawed. Making a mouse chirp seems an unkind way to treat a mouse, particularly if it’s done just to see what happens, which seems to be the case here. On the other hand, there maybe some unintended consequences that prove to be extremely beneficial, at least for the human population. We don’t know. Meanwhile, as long as animal experimentation exists, I hope the mouse is treated well and loved.
If God exists, I believe s/he or it, would be very unhappy with our treatment toward this rare and fragile miracle called earth. It is all about the Mystic Law of Cause and Effect. If we do nothing significant in a short time to change the direction we have caused, the effects of humankind climate change may be extinction. If you believe that you go to hell after you die, think again, hell is already here. The despair one experiences when watching their child die of starvation is hell. If you think you are immune. Think again. Imagine what will happen when worldwide hunger, diminishing drinkable water, and refugees from disappearing lands, or uninhabitable regions descend on the few areas left that will be able to temporarily sustain life. Imagine the suffering.
There really is hope. There are great causes happening all over the world that point to restorative concerns of environments, some species coming back. Next time I write, I will tell you about some of the great strides that have been taken to stop the progression of climate change. We don’t have to be doomed.