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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

At War with the Biosphere

The biosphere, AKA Gaia, is the blanket of living things that covers the planet earth. It consists of trillions of organisms, of millions of
species of plants, animals, fungi and microbes that permeate the soil, the air, the water and the land surface.

It occurred to me recently that humankind is at war with the biosphere. This is a really dumb thing for us to be doing, because we are part of the biosphere, and we depend on it for survival. It MIGHT be possible for us to survive after eliminating most of the biosphere, but that's not at all certain. At present, green plants supply the oxygen that we breath, and that we use to burn our fossil fuels. We eat living things, plants and animals, although not many wild ones, except for seafood. But we need bees to spread pollen for many of our crops. We need earthworms to loosen and aerate the soil for them. And there are many other interdependencies, not all of which are even known.

Even if we can manage to survive without an intact biosphere, our lives will be much poorer without it. Imagine a planet where the only place to see the plants and animals that were formerly wild is in parks and zoos. These places of course will be extremely crowded with people, so you might have to wait an hour to see a deer in a pen. Except for the parks and zoos the land surface of the planet will be covered over with farms, solar collectors, windmill generators, and cities.

The waters will be worse. Forget about fishing, you won't be able to catch anything besides jellyfish and ugly sea creatures. The fish that we eat will all come from tanks. The worlds oceans will be full of algae.

We are waging this war primarily with 3 types of weapons of mass destruction. Fire is one, used deliberately to clear forests for planting. This is not done in the advanced countries, but is still widely practiced in the 3rd world. The second is chemical warfare. Farm runoff, mine effluent, pesticides, herbicides, smokestack emissions, and industrial chemicals are steadily polluting the air, soil and water of the planet. The third weapon is earth moving machinery, used for logging, forest clearing, mining, road building, etc.

If we want a good future for our children and grandchildren, mankind needs to change our ways.



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