Thursday, October 25, 2007

Biodiversity of Species Part #2 (Non-humans)

Lately we talked about biodiversity of the species - while focusing on the human species. You can read about the last post. A key point for humans is that there is actual strength in difference. Diversity of people are important for the stability and evolution of humans. Unfortunately, languages get lost every day! Unbelievable that there are that many!!


Beseeching, Digital © Diane Clancy

Then there is biodiversity (Wikipedia) of the rest of the species. Science actually echoes thought (or is it the other way around?), the idea that there is strength in difference. Variety in species is actually necessary for the continuation of life. It used to be thought that many animals were cool and a nice thing. The more it gets looked into, it becomes clearer that it is necessary for life.

We have all heard of how many medicines that are so helpful actually are found in plants and microorganisms - that has been an incredible breakthrough. But each of us, human, animal, plant, microorganism … is part of the web of life. Variety actually strengthens our resistance to problems.

The potato famine in Ireland (1850’s) is seen to have been caused by a lack of variety in crops. When things are too uniform, they are weakened so that they are more vulnerable to catastrophe and problems in general. Think about each of us. I know when I do things only one way, when my rhythm is broken, I have less resilience to make changes more easily. To some extent it is similar with nature.

When agriculture gets too uniform and we lose heritage varieties, the ecosystem is weakened. Right now, there is a strong movement in saving old varieties of plant seeds to have for the future. Unfortunately, at the same time, there is a movement by big agribusiness for uniformity so that they can grow, pack, move and sell more easily - that is, more uniformly. This is part of why buying locally is important.

It is disturbing that we are losing so many species every year at this point. It is greatly disturbing that so many species are getting destroyed - yes, I mean destroyed - with the rain forest destruction. The rain forests hold some of the keys to life in many ways - biodiversity, oxygen, indigenous peoples, natural medicines .. the list goes on.

There are some efforts to protect species that are endangered and bring them back. The bald eagle in Massachusetts, US has had some real success. But these plants and animals are another reason why we need to protect the environment and look at our ecological footprint - as so many of us are doing.

This is just a quick overview, but I hope I have given you food for thought about why variety and difference are important for our very survival as a human species. A bright point is that there are still some new species that are being found - particularly in Indonesia. It is amazing to me! Not that these species are new - but those people who keep track of such things are finding them for the first time. This gives some hope for biodiversity - this also means there is that much more land we need to protect - at the same time we respect the needs of the people who live there and depend on these areas.

I know I have given a very slight overview of this topic and welcome your own thoughts, experiences and ideas!

~ Diane Clancy


steve said...

Very well written Diane! This is so true, yet we as a species seem to fail to recognize this. Great art too! Hopefully it won't be too late until we do see the value in biodiversity.

Beverley said...

I read you previous post first but I think you'll find I echo some of the thoughts found in this posting.

I was only reading the other day about how organic vegetables are more healthy than the uniform crops treated with pesticides which you get in many supermarkets. They also look more interesting. You get all the funny shapes!

dianeclancy said...

Hi Steve and Beverly,

Thank you so much for your comments!!

Glad so many people care!

~ Diane Clancy

Belinda said...

thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. enjoyed reading and love those biodiversity bubble artwork in particular!!

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