• Nature and man, and the sixth extinction

    I’ve never been a “Big Picture” kind of guy. You would think that a guy with a big brain like mine would be able to see more of the big picture than I do. To tell the truth, I wouldn’t begin to know where to find it. I don’t even know what it would look like, where it starts, or where it ends. I don’t even know how to describe it. What exactly is the “Big Picture?”

    I suppose the idea of the big picture will differ from person to person. Some probably see it on a grander scale than others. Historians look to history just as biologist look to biology. In truth, history is but a fragment of biology. The life of a man is but a portion of the variations of organisms on land and under the sea.

    Walk alone in the forest on a summer day and you will see hundreds of little birds, animals, insects, and fish. They will startle and scurry away at your coming. You must, at this time consider the fact that humanity is but a minority, passing by in their natural habitat. All of our economic competition, strife for mates, our hunger for love, grief and war, are similar to the mating, striving and suffering found below the fallen trees, under the leaves, or in the waters and boughs.

    The laws of biology are the fundamental lessons of history. We are all subject to the processes and trials of evolution, the struggle for existence, the survival of the fittest. If we as a species seem to escape the strife and trials that other creatures face, it’s only because of our ability to group, for protection. That said, even the group must meet the test of survival.

    Life is a competition. Competition is not only the life of trade, it is the trade of life as well. Life abounds and flourishes when the food is plentiful but turns violent when there are more mouths than food. We consume each other by due process while the animals of the forest consume each other literally. As the group develops it becomes a society, and cooperation becomes a real thing when we deal with other groups.

    Just as our fathers and grandfathers did, we fight, chase and sometimes kill in order to survive. We stuff ourselves with what we want and throw the remains in the trash instead of sharing what comes from the Earth with those around us. We don’t consider the fact that the group acts just like the individuals within. The individual eats so the group must eat. When a group eats, it is the act of warfare upon our neighbor groups.

    Another idea to consider is the fact that life is selection. In our struggle for life, food and mates some will succeed and some will fail. We are part of nature. Nature does not read the Declaration of Independence or the Declaration of the Rights of Man. In nature we are all born unfree and unequal. It is our technology that helped us rise above the melee. Our machines have placed us above nature.

    Machines make us unequal and those with the most machines dominate the rest of the groups. Even the best of societies are doomed to fail and fall, for there’s always a lesser society in the shadows striving for dominance in order to survive. Thus, life becomes a constant struggle of greed and deception, crushing all of nature in its path.

    It’s only of late, the last year or so, that I’ve glimpsed at what some would consider the “Big Picture.” I must credit the individuals of a new group I’ve met for my new ability to see past myself and the results of my actions upon nature. This brings me to what I really wish to discuss: individuals and groups that consider the “Big Picture” and have a good idea of what exactly it is.

    We have the ability to choose our group. We choose for different reasons. That is not my point. There are groups out there that know nature smiles when it is healthy and they strive to keep it that way. They know that every 20 minutes, we lose an animal species. If this rate continues, by the year 2025, 50 percent of all living species will be gone. It is a phenomenon known as the sixth extinction.

    The fifth extinction took place 65 million years ago when a meteor smashed into the Earth, killing off the dinosaurs and many other species, and opening the door for the rise of mammals. Currently, the sixth extinction is on track to dwarf the fifth.
    There’s a saying going around stating if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. This is very true if you consider nature as a group in which you are included. If part of your group fails, it’s only a matter of time before the group is extinct. I no longer wish to be part of the problem.

    If you feel the same let me introduce you to a new group:

    Putah Creek Council
    (530) 795-3006

    • Excellent column, Donald… you are discovering what your ancient Pagan ancestors always knew…. as the planet survives, so survives man.

    • So scary to me but oh so true.

      • Jody Burton

      • January 29, 2013 at 9:34 am
      • Reply

      I enjoyed reading your opinion Don. It is very thought provoking.

      • Maya North

      • January 29, 2013 at 11:33 pm
      • Reply

      Oh, indeed. And we need to be afraid–but more, we need to be resolute…

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