I’m watching WPT and ‘Doc Martin,’ or at least the actor that plays him, is searching for wolves as he explores the ancestry of dogs. It’s thought that wolves became dogs starting around fifteen thousand years ago – a blink of an eye in geological time.
That got me to thinking that the biosphere that we know and love took over two billion years to come about. Yes, that’s more than 2,000,000,000 years. Then I sadly noted that it’s taken a mere few thousand years to do a truly amazing amount of damage to that biosphere. And, apart from that, we are one of the most unimportant species on the planet. If we were to disappear suddenly, life on Earth would do just fine, except for domesticated animals.
Let’s develop these ideas in later posts.
As I grow towards my last decade or two on this earth, I am increasingly drawn to contributing to the survival of the planet in whatever ways I can. This has led me to a lot of related reading, and one theme sticks out like a sore thumb: Most writing talks about the future of humanity resulting from a variety of positive and negative actions we might take.
To me, that says we still don’t get it. We still think that we can focus mostly on ourselves, bringing in other species only if their fate directly affects us. For instance, we are worried about the declining population of bees because we realize that they not only make honey but are largely responsible for pollination of plants that affect our food supply.
When I say “we still don’t get it,” I’m referring to the intricate and pervasiveness of the interconnectedness of all life. The biosphere we inhabit is incredibly interwoven and complex – probably more so that we can even imagine let alone understand at present. Our continued insistence that we can ensure our survival by focussing mostly on ourselves is an attitude that, if we persist, will hasten our demise. I believe we need to shift our thinking and see ourselves as a part of something much bigger than we are: the whole biosphere. The overall health of the biosphere, which we still largely ignore, is the key to our survival.
We are currently living through a mass extinction (like the event that killed off the dinosaurs) largely of our own making – probably the only mass extinction in the history of life on Earth caused by one species! Until we radically change our mindset to thinking of ourselves as a part of nature, we will continue to threaten our own survival and that of a large portion of life on this planet. I truly hope this paradigm shift will occur soon.