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InvisibleRebelSteve33
Amateur Mycologist
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Registered: 05/28/02
Posts: 3,774
Loc: Arizona
Extinction and its Implications for Mankind
    #1122338 - 12/08/02 05:21 PM (14 years, 3 days ago)

When we learned about extinction and endangered species in my Environmental Issues class this semester, I was surprised to hear many students in the class express opinions of apathy on the subject. "Why should we care," I remember one person asking. "What does it matter to us?"

A lot of my fellow students seemed to think that the development of the human race was more important than a few species of plants and animals disappearing from the face of the earth. And by a few, I mean hundreds of species becoming extinct just in recent times.

I couldn't understand this viewpoint at all. I care a lot about plant and animal species becoming extinct, and I think we should all care a lot. First of all, the mass extinction that is occurring right now is largely and undeniably due to humans. So there should be a certain level of guilt here.

Studying the relationship between the development of human culture and the extinction of animal species is a sobering experience. The spread of civilization has been accompanied by a drastic reduction of animal numbers and by reduced diversity of animal species. Fairly accurate records are available since the sixteenth century, when the western world became conscious of its impact on animals. During this period, the number of worldwide animal extinctions increased considerably.

It is not just the guilt factor that should make us care about extinction, though. Extinction has some very serious implications for mankind and for the Earth in general.

When endangered species become extinct, the world loses an animal, surely, but an ecosystem somwhere loses a functioning part. Eliminating a species from any natural community changes the relationships among community members, and the system no longer works in the same way. The seriousness of the change depends on the role of the eliminated species in the functioning community and the degree of the dependence of the community on its biological complexity.

In some cases it is likely that little change would be evident, but in others, the loss of several species or a single key species could have serious consequences. As the impoverishment of communities in terms of species composition continues, the web of interrelationships may be weakened, perhaps to the point of unraveling.

Numerous examples illustrate how this may happen, at least on a small scale. In agriculture, replacement of natural vegetation by single crop species lowers community diversity. The monoculture is ecologically simple, and requires huge energy subsidies from man to maintain it.
When insecticides are applied to control pest insects, beneficial insect predators and parasites are sometimes killed off, leaving an unchecked pest population to rebound in greater numbers than before.
When stream environments are modified by sewage pollution, or channelization, a few species capable of withstanding the disturbance of exploiting extreme environments (such as mosquitoes, for instance) may occur in great numbers and become a pest problem.

Although these examples are somewhat simplistic, they point to the potentially critical situation that could arise in many of the world's remaining ecosystems if more species become extinct. Some ecosystems depend on key species such as predators, which may play a major role in the maintenance of species diversity or in the control of prey populations, and decomposer organisms, which help to recycle nutrients. If these key species become extinct, disasterous consequences could follow.

The capacity of ecosystems to rebound from human disturbance is limited by the amount of time between disturbances, the size of the area, and the distance from populations that could recolonize a disturbed area. As forests, prairies, marshes, and other nautral ecosystems become fragmented and smaller in size due to human development, chances for extinction of animals become greater. The possibility that an ecosystem might be irreparably damaged by the removal of a single species may then increase as well.

If there is a lesson we should have learned from our past and present ecological crises, it is that living things and their environments are interrelated. The ecological consequences of pollution, ecosystem alteration, or extinction of animals may not be immediate or obvious. Damage to biological systems, however, may be irreparable and may not be discovered until it is too late.
Reducing the diversity of animal species by extinction means permanently removing the components from complex processes in many ecosystems. Unless stopped, it can only result in an ecologically simple world whose future would be unstable at best.

Even efforts to preserve rare species in parks, zoos, and preserves, while commendable, may prove futile. Such species may no longer reproduce successfully when removed from their natural habitat. Plus, small captive populations may lack the genetic diversity necessary for survival when reintroduced to natural conditions.

If we do not do something fast and increase our efforts to save endangered species, we will not be able to decelerate the worldwide extinction process, and human survival itself may be at stake. Mankind probably cannot survive in a biosphere devoid of diversity for very long.

That is why we should care!

-RebelSteve


--------------------
Namaste.


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OfflineDogomush
Barbless Aryan

Registered: 10/05/02
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Re: Extinction and its Implications for Mankind [Re: RebelSteve33]
    #1122516 - 12/08/02 07:07 PM (14 years, 3 days ago)

I think there are hundreds of purely selfish reasons for preserving animal and plant life. Medicine's an obvious one, along with water cleaning and filtration, diesel spill clean-ups. Nature does trillions of dollars worth of work for free, and I don't think any amount of money could rebuild the network that keeps us alive.


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InvisibleIn(di)go
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Re: Extinction and its Implications for Mankind [Re: RebelSteve33]
    #1122546 - 12/08/02 07:26 PM (14 years, 3 days ago)

i remember chief seattle's letter to sgt. washington... when a man spits on the floor he is spitting on himself... we are not the owners of this planet, we are a part of it... we should worship and respect nature, or we (just as many other civilizations) will get swept away... just like that... nature will always prevail, its not that part i am worried about... just look at how mother earth is cleansing herself... vulcanoes, tornados, earthquakes... she will no longer tolerate our abuse... what worries me the most is that most humans don't even realize our dependance on this planet and the ecosystems... they keep thinking nature is here to serve us, when it should be the other way round... but change will come... very soon, even sooner than expected...


--------------------


Edited by Lozt Soul (12/08/02 07:28 PM)


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Offlinepsilocybinist
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Registered: 12/01/02
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Re: Extinction and its Implications for Mankind [Re: In(di)go]
    #1122851 - 12/08/02 10:03 PM (14 years, 2 days ago)

Yep, those times are commin real soon. If you look at a time line of human existance and look at how much we have damaged the earth in the last hundred years. The momentum towards catostrophe, built up over ceturies is immense.


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Anonymous

Re: Extinction and its Implications for Mankind [Re: RebelSteve33]
    #1123010 - 12/08/02 10:37 PM (14 years, 2 days ago)

That was very well written.  I would not be surprised if you were on the dean's list.

I feel the same way as you do but I am more comfortable about all this extinction if it is a purely natural phenomenon.  If we are just the product of evolution then the blind inarticulate force that created us will eventually destroy all life by us.  If this is the end result of evolution then there isn't anything wrong with it per se because there is no such thing as right or wrong or morals or even love.  That's if we are just the product of natural forces.

If we are something else then the story changes completely.

Here for you and Lozt Soul is a copy of the letter by Chief Seattle:

""The President in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land. But how can you buy or sell the sky? The land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water how can you buy them?

"Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every meadow, every humming insect. All are holy in the memory and experience of my people.

"We know the sap which courses through the trees as we know the blood that courses through our veins. We are part of the earth and it is part of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters. The bear, the deer, the great eagle, these are our brothers. The rocky crests, the juices in the meadow, the body heat of the pony, and man, all belong to the same family.

"The shining water that moves in the streams and rivers is not just water, but the blood of our ancestors. If we sell our land, you must remember that it is sacred. Each ghostly reflection in the clear waters of the lakes tells of events and memories in the life of my people. The water's murmur is the voice of my father's father.

"The rivers are our brothers. They quench our thirst. They carry our canoes and feed our children. So you must give to the rivers the kindness you would give any brother.

"If we sell you our land, remember that the air is precious to us, that the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports. The wind that gave our grandfather his first breath also receives his last sigh. The wind also gives our children the spirit of life. So if we sell you our land, you must keep it apart and sacred, as a place where man can go to taste the wind that is sweetened by the meadow flowers.

"Will you teach your children what we have taught our children? That the earth is our mother? What befalls the earth befalls all the sons of the earth.

"This we know the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.

"One thing we know our God is also your God. The earth is precious to him and to harm the earth is to heap contempt on its creator.

"Your destiny is a mystery to us. What will happen when the buffalo are all slaughtered? The wild horses tamed? What will happen when the secret corners of the forest are heavy with the scent of many men and the view of the ripe hills is blotted by talking wires? Where will the thicket be? Gone! Where will the eagle be? Gone! And what is it to say goodbye to the swift pony and the hunt? The end of living and the beginning of survival.

"When the last Red Man has vanished with his wilderness, and his memory is only the shadow of a cloud moving across the prairie, will these shores and forests still be here? Will there be any of the spirits of my people left?

"We love this earth as a newborn loves its mother's heartbeat. So, if we sell you our land, love it as we have loved it. Care for it as we have cared for it. Hold in your mind the memory of the land as it is when you receive it. Preserve the land for all children and love it, as God loves us all.

"As we are part of the land, you too are part of the land. This earth is precious to us. It is also precious to you. One thing we know there is only one God. No man, be he Red Man or White Man, can be apart. We are brothers after all."

I hope the God talk didn't offend anyone because that was not my intention.

Cheers,  :smile:
 


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Offline3eyedgod
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Registered: 11/24/02
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Re: Extinction and its Implications for Mankind [Re: ]
    #1123108 - 12/08/02 11:04 PM (14 years, 2 days ago)

That's a heart touching letter by the Chief there. Too bad the white men who got it probally pissed on it and threw it in the trash. Thinking the land will be ours to do with as we please wether you like it or not.


--------------------
Without everything wouldn't nothing be everything and without nothing wouldn't everything be nothing.I am the beginning and the end,the source and the void, the light and the darkness,i am but a small drop of the ocean yet i am an ocean unto myself


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OfflineMurex
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Registered: 07/28/02
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Re: Extinction and its Implications for Mankind [Re: ]
    #1123304 - 12/09/02 12:10 AM (14 years, 2 days ago)

all this extinction if it is a purely natural phenomenon

Good point. I have to agree with it. We humans are as natural as any other animal on this planet. But I don't think that we should destroy animal and plant life just because we can. Otherwise, mankind will not live a long life.

I just realized that humans are related to all animals.  :smile:



--------------------
What if everything around you
Isn't quite as it seems?
What if all the world you think you know,
Is an elaborate dream?
And if you look at your reflection,
Is it all you want it to be?



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InvisibleRebelSteve33
Amateur Mycologist
Male

Registered: 05/28/02
Posts: 3,774
Loc: Arizona
Re: Extinction and its Implications for Mankind [Re: ]
    #1123433 - 12/09/02 12:51 AM (14 years, 2 days ago)

Plato,

Thank you for your compliments and especially for posting that letter by Chief Seattle.  It truly is a beautiful piece of writing, and it means a lot to me because of my personal beliefs and values.

I also agree with you on the natural extinction point.  Extinction will eventually be the natural fate of every species on this planet.  It is the fact that humans are either directly or indirectly the cause of almost all the extinctions that have occurred since the 1600s that makes me ashamed to be human.  Well, that's one of the reasons at least! :smile:

-RebelSteve 


--------------------
Namaste.


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Anonymous

Re: Extinction and its Implications for Mankind [Re: RebelSteve33]
    #1124269 - 12/09/02 10:31 AM (14 years, 2 days ago)

I remember my first brush with extinction like it was yesterday.

In 1967 a Thrush went extinct. I went out to the newspaper box to get the paper for my Dad. On the way into the house I read the front page and it had the article. I felt weak in the knees. I felt as if something beautiful was gone from the world, never to return.

There is a beautiful song that if you haven't heard it you should. It's by Dan Fogelberg and it's called A Cry in the Forest.

"There's a cry in the forest, it's feathered and brown
And it echoes off of nothing as the trees come down
It's the sound of a sparrow hittin' the ground
It's the sound of one eternity bound
It's the sound of one eternity bound

There's a cry in the oceans, it's plaintive and blue
And it rises from the depths, breaks my heart in two
It's the dreams of the great whales running aground
For they know that they're eternity bound
For they know that they're eternity bound

Whoa-oh eternity bound
Once they've passed into the timeless, they can never more be found
Is there anybody listening, tell me can you hear the sound
Of the gentle ones eternity bound
Of the gentle ones eternity bound

There's a cry in the heart of every woman and man
We've been crying in the darkness since the world began
Will we ever seek forgiveness, will we ever earn the crown
Or are we in turn eternity bound
Or are we in turn eternity bound

Whoa-oh eternity bound
Once we've past into the timeless, we can never more be found
Is there anybody listening, tell me can you hear the sound
Of the lonely ones eternity bound
Of the lonely ones eternity bound
Of the lonely ones eternity bound"



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Anonymous

Re: Extinction and its Implications for Mankind [Re: In(di)go]
    #1126016 - 12/09/02 08:20 PM (14 years, 2 days ago)

Quote:

when a man spits on the floor he is spitting on himself




I like that quote, it's so true.
Of course I spit all the time.....
But I still like it :grin:


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InvisibleIn(di)go
People of the sun.
Male User Gallery

Registered: 10/30/00
Posts: 8,150
Loc: Cologne, Germany
Re: Extinction and its Implications for Mankind [Re: ]
    #1126117 - 12/09/02 08:50 PM (14 years, 2 days ago)

yeah! i really like it, too... a few weeks ago i said that to a few teenagers sitting outside the cinema i work at... they were spitting on the ground ever fawkin 2 minutes... it was a horrible mess... worst thing is thats the smoking corner for the staff members (no-smoking in the whole building) so everytime i went out i had to look at that shit... and everybody is doing it... it has even become trendy... your in if you spit around... what the fuck? so i told them "i dont know who the fuck told you people that spitting around is cool... for your info, its not... i know your young, but try and remember what im going to say... it might help you in your life... when you spit on the ground you are spitting on yourself... and this is not only valid in the literal sense, so think about it" ... you should have seen the look on their faces... hehehe... priceless


--------------------


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Anonymous

Re: Extinction and its Implications for Mankind [Re: In(di)go]
    #1127182 - 12/10/02 01:07 AM (14 years, 1 day ago)

That must have been too much! :smile:

I can see that when you get to be an old man like me.....well....  just wait, you'll see.  :grin:

cheers,


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OfflineDogomush
Barbless Aryan

Registered: 10/05/02
Posts: 1,286
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Last seen: 11 years, 8 months
Re: Extinction and its Implications for Mankind [Re: Murex]
    #1127194 - 12/10/02 01:11 AM (14 years, 1 day ago)

all this extinction if it is a purely natural phenomenon

I agree that humans are a natural species and so I accept certain extinctions. The extinctions of the giant ground sloth, mastadon, and giant python although lamentable from the point of view "Gee I wish I could have seen those animals" are acceptable because most of the non-african mega fauna was ill equipped to deal with moderate populations of stone-age humans. Today, however, we are all well aware of the consequences of our actions as we push species to the brink in the name of money. We're selfish, greedy, and can't be bothered to use the flexibility technology has granted. Extinction is a product of all that is wrong with the world, and so I don't accept it.

Of course, anything we do is still "natural" so I guess.. yeah, whatever.


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Anonymous

Re: Extinction and its Implications for Mankind [Re: Dogomush]
    #1127208 - 12/10/02 01:16 AM (14 years, 1 day ago)

Didn't evolution make us what we are?


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Offlineupupup
guardian

Registered: 08/25/01
Posts: 889
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Re: Extinction and its Implications for Mankind [Re: RebelSteve33]
    #1127471 - 12/10/02 02:55 AM (14 years, 1 day ago)

Nice post. You guys are the best. Really. It's hard to find people who are.....well, deep....

Now for the seriouse stuff......what are you doing about it? Really steve, is this an intellectual deal or are you MOTIVATED.

If you drop someone off in the middle of nowhere every day they are going to have to do a certain amount of work to stay alive ie, chop wood, haul water, find food. EVERYBODY has those same needs. BUT when you "displace" that energy that would have been used by you to keep you comfortable in a "natural" state then that is what creates the destruction of the environment.

An example-
There are those who go camping with little metal stoves filled with some petroleum distalate. They do this to cook their food that they bring in aluminum pouches that are all freeze dried so they stay fresh. They use these stoves because they feel that by builidng a fire to cook thier food would be more damaging to the earth....but look at this deal-

Metal - mined from the earth, shipped, refined, shipped, manufactured, shipped (when I say shipped read using up fossil fuels, contaminating the air with particles, and all the other manufacturing that went into the shipping vehicle)

Petroleum- I don't want to type that much....

The food- how it's grown, where it's grown, shipping......

etc etc. I think you get it. Making the damn fire would be much more benificial to the planet than such a set up.

It comes down to energy displacement. Just by being on the planet we need to expend a certain amount as my example may suggest, but as Americans we just displace that energy somewhere else...usually the 3rd world.....


--------------------
Support bacteria - they're the only culture some people have.


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OfflineShroomalicious
You may say I'ma dreamer...

Registered: 06/20/02
Posts: 319
Loc: The Shire
Last seen: 13 years, 11 months
Re: Extinction and its Implications for Mankind [Re: RebelSteve33]
    #1127559 - 12/10/02 03:20 AM (14 years, 1 day ago)

I too must compliment you on your post, RebelSteve.

I think it is crucial that humans realize when we make animals extinct we are hurting ourselves too, and not as indirectly as some people think. I think it is also important to stress, as J.R.R. Tolkien once said "Even the very wise do not know all ends". It is not likely we fully understand the processes of nature that well, even if we perceive a certain animal's extinction as (even) "relatively" harmless we won't know for sure until it is gone. Everything is directly related and every time a piece of the Ecosystem is damaged it DOES hurt something (and eventually everything), we say harmless extinction when what we really mean is "relatively harmless to us".

A study once "showed" that if plankton were to die out, then all non-organic life on Earth could be over in 2-5 years.

One thing I would like to add is...you shouldn't, in my opinion, be ashamed to be human. Humans can be thoughtless, selfish and even just plain mean but do not forget everything positive that humans can, have and will accomplish. I firmly believe in the beutifulness of humankind and one way or another, we are going to make it.

Keep the faith!


--------------------
Shroomalicious - :smile: I love you and in doing so I love myself, because we ARE all one :smile: - "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth leaves the whole world blind and toothless". - Mahatma Ghandi


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InvisibleRebelSteve33
Amateur Mycologist
Male

Registered: 05/28/02
Posts: 3,774
Loc: Arizona
Re: Extinction and its Implications for Mankind [Re: Shroomalicious]
    #1127588 - 12/10/02 03:27 AM (14 years, 1 day ago)

It is not likely we fully understand the processes of nature that well, even if we perceive a certain animal's extinction as (even) "relatively" harmless we won't know for sure until it is gone. Everything is directly related and every time a piece of the Ecosystem is damaged it DOES hurt something (and eventually everything), we say harmless extinction when what we really mean is "relatively harmless to us".

Wow, you stated this so well!  I'm so glad that other people here see it the way I do!

One thing I would like to add is...you shouldn't, in my opinion, be ashamed to be human. Humans can be thoughtless, selfish and even just plain mean but do not forget everything positive that humans can, have and will accomplish. I firmly believe in the beutifulness of humankind and one way or another, we are going to make it.

Those are some very nice words, but for some reason I just can't help it.  Everything about the way we live nowadays makes me sick and sad.  Sure, there are positive and beautiful things about some of us.  But those things are by far outweighed by the negative things in my mind.  I won't stop being ashamed to be human until I am ashamed enough to do something about it and try to make some change in this world.

You guys may think I'm a little schizo, but I do believe I am going to save the world someday.  :smile:  It's good to have goals in life!

-RebelSteve




 


--------------------
Namaste.


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Offlineupupup
guardian

Registered: 08/25/01
Posts: 889
Loc: George "I love Hitler" Bu...
Last seen: 12 years, 9 months
Re: Extinction and its Implications for Mankind [Re: RebelSteve33]
    #1127595 - 12/10/02 03:29 AM (14 years, 1 day ago)

Start now please....


--------------------
Support bacteria - they're the only culture some people have.


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InvisibleRebelSteve33
Amateur Mycologist
Male

Registered: 05/28/02
Posts: 3,774
Loc: Arizona
Re: Extinction and its Implications for Mankind [Re: upupup]
    #1127624 - 12/10/02 03:39 AM (14 years, 1 day ago)

Gladly!!  I just need some people to help me figure out how...  :crazy:


--------------------
Namaste.


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OfflineShroomalicious
You may say I'ma dreamer...

Registered: 06/20/02
Posts: 319
Loc: The Shire
Last seen: 13 years, 11 months
Re: Extinction and its Implications for Mankind [Re: RebelSteve33]
    #1127777 - 12/10/02 04:39 AM (14 years, 1 day ago)

I just need some people to help me figure out how...

Brush your teeth, go to bed early, get a high paying job, obstain from sex and don't do drugs and BOOM! happiness......right? :wink:

Thanks for your compliments man. :smile: 


--------------------
Shroomalicious - :smile: I love you and in doing so I love myself, because we ARE all one :smile: - "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth leaves the whole world blind and toothless". - Mahatma Ghandi


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