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Guilt about the abuse of the earth

  1. Jul 2, 2007 #1
    Guilt about the abuse of the earth, lack of defining milestones and rituals (spiritual), disconnectedness from the earth all are contributing factors to fanatical behavior (not only terrorists but extreme religious movements, gangs, etc).

    I more troubled with the current situation of our environment. it is continuously deteriorating and we have to move fast. I understand very less work has been done to this direction and world wide mass education is the need of the day. Can someone suggest how best we can spread the awareness?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 4, 2007
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 2, 2007 #2


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    This type of thread has been posted numerous times, and I always feel like I want to answer back exactly the same way.

    You are mixing up "deterioration" with "change." The environment "is." The environment does not live up to try to be something, whatever the environment is, that is what it is. Maybe it has dinosaurs, or maybe all the dinosaurs died, maybe it has puffins, maybe all the puffins died, maybe there was a catastrophic bacteriphage, eliminating half of the population of a certain species of bacteria, maybe beavers put up a dam to very quickly alter the previous flow of a river or stream, maybe over thousands of years, a coral reef grows, and then a sudden influx of cyclonic activity or salination increases 3% over ten years and the coral reef starts to die off, maybe African termites build an earthen fortress jutting out of the ground, icebergs break off and are hosts to increased sea life in the surrounding miles from valuable nutritious sediment frozen inside the ice that was once on land.

    Through evolution, new species are created by speciation—where new organisms arise and thrive when they are able to find and exploit an ecological niche. Species become extinct when they are no longer able to survive in changing conditions or against superior competition. Conditions on the Earth are always changing, and dramatically is not rare. It is not something new, caused by humans. Termite mounds, beaver dams, and coral reefs all change their environment dramatically, affecting many other creatures. Are they interferring with nature? Are humans some sanctioned animal with a higher right and seperate, on some higher level, from the rest of the natural world? What I see here is some sort of anthropocentrism. That we are special, and that we have some sort of right over all other species.

    When Theodore Roosevelt visited Yellowstone National Park, the first piece of land ever to be set aside for preservation, in 1903, he saw a landscape teeming with game. There were thousands of elk, buffalo, black bear, deer, mountain lions, grizzlies, coyotes, wolves, and bighorn sheep. By that time there were rules in place to keep things the way they were. The Park Service was formed, a new bureaucracy whose sole purpose was to maintain the park in its original condition.

    Within 10 years, the teeming landscape that Roosevelt saw was gone forever—the Park rangers, who were supposed to be keeping the park in pristine condition, and had taken a series of steps that they thought were in the best interest of preserving the park.

    The Park Service mistankenly believed that the deer and antelope were becoming extinct, they tried to increase the populations within the park by eliminating predators. To that end, they shot and poisoned all the wolves and cougars in the park.

    Totally protected now, the deer, antelope, and elk populations exploded. It was learned that the predators were not the ones damaging the deer and antelope population, it was actually overgrazing of aspen by elk. The management policy of killing predators had only made things worse, because now, the elk, deer, and antelope, would eat even more—And they did. They ate so much of certain trees and grasses, that the ecology of the park began to change on a much larger level. The elk defoliated trees that the beavers used to make dams, so the beavers vanished. The Park Service found out that beavers were vital to the overall management of the region, and when the beavers vanished, the hydroecology changed, meadows dried up, trout and otter populations decreased, soil erosion increased, park ecology changed even further.

    By the 1920s, it was clear there were way too many elk, so the rangers shot them by the thousands. The change in plant ecology seemed permanent; the old mix of trees and grasses never returned.

    It also became clear that Native American hunters were part of the system in the region as well. They kept down the numbers of elk, moose, and bison. North American humans had exerted a huge influence on the environment for thousands of years, http://www.fsl.orst.edu/coops/ama/ncama/guidch2.htm" [Broken], and hunting others to extinction—capitulation to a superior species. The rule forbidding Native Americans from hunting was seen as a mistake, but it was just one of many that continued to be made by the Park Service. Grizzlies were protected, then killed off, Wolves were killed off, then brought back. Fire prevention policies were instituted, with no understanding of the regenerative effects of fire. When the policy was reversed, thousands of acres were burned so hotly to the ground that it was sterilized, and forests did not grow back without reseeding. Rainbow trout were introduced in the 70s, that species killed off the native cutthroat species. And on and on and on and on.

    It is a history of ignorant, incompetent, intrusive intervention, followed by disastrous attempts to repair, followed by attempts to repair damage caused by repairs. The stories here are every bit as dramatic as any oil spill or toxic waste dump, but in these ones there are no evil awful big corporations, or fossil fuel economy to blame. These are disasters caused by environmentalists, the very people who wanted to protect the environment, who made one unintentinal mistake after another, and never learned.

    Passive protection, leaving things alone, doesn't preserve the status quo within a wilderness any more than it does in your backyard. The world is alive, things are constantly in flux. Species are winning, losing, rising, falling, exploding, bottlenecking, taking over, being pushed back. Merely leaving it alone doesn't put it in a state of supsended animation.

    Humans do care what happens to the environment in the future, and try hard. Humans just don't know what they are doing, period. We haven't made an action that only had postive consequences yet - http://www.junkscience.com/malaria_clock.html" [Broken]"

    Why are we interferring with the course of nature? Why do some try to keep it the way it is? Why do some blame humans for changing it? We are no different from any other part of nature. It will change for better or for worse, if we are here or we are not here. If humans were in this state of development before the last ice age, we would blame each other for causing it, and the history of human thoughts on climate change http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_cooling" [Broken].

    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
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