21 May 2008

Saving the Planet, or Stalling the Planet?

Pollution is bad. Wasting energy by driving SUVs and having your furnace cranked up to 80 and dumping plastic into landfills is bad. Suburban sprawl is bad. Those are fairly clear concepts. The seemingly rabid desire by many of my fellow earthlings to preserve the habitats of species seems to me a bit misguided.
I'm not referring to land lost to development or pollution. I already stipulated those are bad. I'm referring to the people who are frantically trying to protect habitats from shifting. Jungle to desert, ice cap to open sea, desert to savannah. Checking the geological record indicates that the Earth's environments have been shifting to various states of hydration since the surface cooled. Global climate change is always going to happen because the globe itself is always changing. Whether or not humanity has a hand in it, Earth is going to keep spinning and things are going to keep living. If archeology, paleontology, biology, botanology (I know, I'm on a roll here), zoology, and epistemology (what) have taught us anything, it's that, to quote the eminiently fictional Dr. Ian Malcom, "Life always finds a way." The presence of man from Alaska to Zimbabwe, and at every desert, temperate forest and tropical island in between would indicate that we'll adapt to whatever the planet tosses at us.
For the flora and fauna what aren't people it would appear to be much the same. It always finds a way. From sea vents to the top of Mt. Everest lichen, tube worms, foxes, and fennel all flourish.
It's said we're losing species quickly these days, that biodiversity is dropping. This has happened more than once in Earth's history, and will happen again. Man is powerful, and many say that we are having a measurable impact on a planet that was still warming from its last Ice Age.
The people out there who are worried about protecting habitats that are changing without direct human involvement, your actions aren't progressive, they are stagnating. Let Nature run its course, because in trying to save an old species, you are likely preventing a new species from bursting forth into that wonderful new niche that our ever changing Earth has provided.
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