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Fri Feb 14, 2020, 02:03 PM

Save the giants, save the planet (earthsky.org)

Posted by EarthSky Voices in Human World | February 12, 2020

By University of Oxford and Mikayla Mace, University of Arizona Communications

Habitat loss, hunting, logging and climate change have put many of the world’s most charismatic species at risk. A new study, led by the University of Arizona, has found that not only are larger plants and animals at higher risk of extinction, but their loss would fundamentally degrade life on earth.

The study, published February 4, 2020, in Nature Communications, is based on computer simulations that compared the state of the natural world during the Pleistocene (a past epoch long before human-caused extinctions began), the present day, and a future world in which all large plants and animals had gone extinct.

Results showed that the continued loss of large animals alone would lead to a 44% reduction in the total amount of wild animal biomass on the planet. It would also lead to a 92% reduction in soil fertility, which underpins the ability of the earth to grow plants and sustain life.

Brian Enquist, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona, is the paper’s lead author. He said:

This research shows there are fundamental scientific principles that explain why large animals and trees matter for the health and integrity of all life on Earth. Protecting big, charismatic species does have an umbrella effect to protect the wider ecosystem.

more: https://earthsky.org/human-world/why-to-conserve-large-animals-trees?

This isn't really a surprise -- large organisms are mini-ecosystems unto themselves, and they affect almost everything in the larger ecosystems around them.

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Reply Save the giants, save the planet (earthsky.org) (Original post)
eppur_se_muova Friday OP
Newest Reality Friday #1

Response to eppur_se_muova (Original post)

Fri Feb 14, 2020, 02:29 PM

1. Does it sound too outlandish

or metaphysical to say that capitalism, (as we know it) is leading us to a reckoning with a fact of life and existence on a planet?

That fact is that, regardless of the orders of magnitude we consider, everything is, in one way or another, interrelated and interdependent even if we just make the concession that that only concerns the biosphere. That may not be so obvious on a smaller scale, but it appears now to be evident on the macro-level.

The old, (and now dying and killing it all) paradigm was that the world was like an infinite resource and could be an infinite garbage dump. Hey, that kind of ignorance is essential for capitalism and profit demands that the devil stay in the details. Therefore, the KIND of capitalism that has been in practice, (its viability as an economic system aside) is now apparently yielding the results of its test run and they indicate that the failure extends far beyond booms and busts, wealth and poverty, it indicates a toxicity that ignores, (or more precisely, puts aside) essential conditions that are absolutely crucial to the continuation of all life on this planet.

Our high-technology has facilitated the growth and expansion of capitalism and wealth for some, but existentially, it is proving to be a poor steward and steersman of this ship of life we all travel together on. High-technology can be a two-edged sword. In this case it is merely another weapon of profit that is hacking away at the viability of life itself and that's playing an end game. It is not sustainable and we won't be either in that case.

Oh, we have tended to buy into it, wittingly or unwittingly, but now he Piper comes and wants his pay. The devil pounds at the door and demands his due, so to speak. It seems that there is a price to pay for the conveniences we enjoy, but when they become increasingly excessive, (for the sake of growth, aka, profit) that price may be more dear than we imagine: extinction. Was it worth it? Can we make amends with our planet home and obey interdependence as if it were a fundamental law of survival itself?

When you hear about cutting down on this and a solution to that, look for how many references are made to the total interdependence of this ecosystem and how much it is emphasized in planning, development, etc. If we are not going to emphasize and focus on the complex relationship of life and the environment, it will be to our own undoing in the Anthropocene, but meanwhile, the trip down the slippery slope to oblivion is going to be a tumultuous and increasingly difficult ride for many with comfort itself becoming a luxury.

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