Nesting

Two books just arrived from Amazon, “Plants of Southern Interior British Columbia and the Inland Northwest” (Parish, Coupe, Lloyd) and “The Hand-Sculpted House” (Evans, Smith, Smiley) – thanks to recommendation by Ran.

These are some really great books to add to your library. Amazon also stuffed the shipping box with several other useless environmental destruction on colored paper. I wish they wouldn’t do that, I barely glance at this kind of tree-waste, with mountains of it now visible from space.

Commander Eileen Collins said astronauts on shuttle Discovery had seen widespread environmental destruction on Earth and warned on Thursday that greater care was needed to protect natural resources. “Sometimes you can see how there is erosion, and you can see how there is deforestation. It’s very widespread in some parts of the world”.

Amazon isn’t alone, of course. Seems like rabbits are also causing problems, especially when counted in economic terms. Unlike humans, rabbit populations are cyclic and don’t totally fuck up the landscape (if you don’t destroy their natural predators). They also refertilize the ground (rabbit droppings are fantastic fertilizer). Humans on the other hand, are the most wasteful and damaging creatures on the planet. Why it doesn’t occur to most humans to live sustainably is beyond me. You don’t shit (on) your own nest. But that’s exactly what we’re doing. We’re pretending that it will last forever, when it’s apparent that it’s falling apart.

Why is that? Cognitive dissonance? There apparently is a rush of back-to-the-landers going on, with real estate prices booming in my area, tearing up even more landscape. Why do we rush from one failed nest to the other, when the problem is US? Borrowing a link here, Prieur (quoting Stephen Meyer’s “End of the Wild” points out that “extinction debt” is what we all (the survivors) get to look forward to.

The fossil record and statistical studies suggest that the average rate of extinction over the past hundred million years has hovered at several species per year. Today the extinction rate surpasses 3,000 species per year and is accelerating rapidly – it may soon reach the tens of thousands annually. In contrast, new species are evolving at a rate of less than one per year.

Over the next 100 years or so as many as half of the Earth’s species, representing a quarter of the planet’s genetic stock, will either completely or functionally disappear. The land and the oceans will continue to teem with life, but it will be a peculiarly homogenized assemblage of organisms naturally and unnaturally selected for their compatibility with one fundamental force: us. Nothing – not national or international laws, global bio-reserves, local sustainability schemes, nor even “wildlands” fantasies can change the current course. The path for biological evolution is now set for the next million years. And in this sense “the extinction crisis” – the race to save the composition, structure, and organization of biodiversity as it exists today is over, and we have lost.

Even though the future is apparently now determined, does that mean we should continue on our present course? This failed experiment is a global catastrophe, with humans being guilty as charged.

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