Friday, February 15, 2008

All nature's creatures

I was tempted recently to get a biosphere.

It's one of those do-dads that is a sealed globe that mimics the earth's eco-system. Though I suspect without a few complicating factors, such as animals... and especially the human variety.

It set me to thinking a bit about some of the ideals put about, especially by those who see nature as the best architect and homo sapiens as the fly in the ointment, rather forgetting that we are merely part of Gaia's grand design.

So I just pondered an arbitrary, isolated area sustaining 'life'. Ignoring more global factors, the sun shines, it rains, the seasons change. The plants grow. Herbivores graze, and the availability of food and water regulates their numbers. And, just for good measure, predator carnivores do that job too, with a bit of Darwinian culling going on to on the herbivores and between themselves. On balance, that seems to work. In times of plenty, numbers go up. And in times of hardship they go down. And whatever happens there is an upper limit the land can, and hence will sustain.

Then along comes man. Well, the first to go will be the predators. For a start they are dangerous, and then for another they are competition. Next to go will be the herbivores, at least if they need the land man requires to live upon and grow crops (though we may keep some for burger purposes). And then we do what we do best. And as our numbers grow we occupy this finite space more and more, and cleverly squeeze more and more out of whatever remains to sustain ourselves.

But... and here's the rub... there still has to be a limit. It seems odd that so few seem to have admitted, much less addressed this notion.

Anything else, from plastic bag bans to renewable energy subsidies, seem more tinkering (albeit profitable, at least short term and just to some) simply to buy some more time.

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