Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Natural Order of Things

Could humankind’s assault on the global environment represent the natural order of things?

For eons, species have taken from the world what they need to meet their perceived needs without regard to the future. Just as voracious elephants (family: elephantidae) denude wide swaths of range and then move on, homo s. sapiens similarly addresses the opportunities presented to it.

The difference between the actions of elephantidae and homo s. sapiens is the innate human ability to understand the results of its nature and actions. Using the same thinking innovation that drives the destruction of the environment, humans attempt to alter harmful behavior to extend the life of the species. That creates a direct conflict between two natural impulses.

Unfortunately, the evolution of homo s. sapiens is unbalanced. While it can alter atoms and genes – the building blocks of life itself -- the species lacks the purpose to use the knowledge for good. Releasing the inherent power of the atom was first used to kill; even using fission to create electricity results in waste products that remain dangerous to every living thing for thousands of years. The genetic manipulation of food plants can feed millions of starving people yet is uncontrollable once introduced in the natural world. In that way, homo s. sapiens is little different than homo erectus, which learned to control fire about 2 million years ago without understanding how best to use it.

Perhaps homo s. sapiens will eventually work out the details and find a balance between what is possible and what is best for its future. But it is more likely the species won’t evolve fast enough to prevent it from creating a global disaster. If so, the species will disappear and others will emerge from what is left behind. That being the natural order of things.

December News Preview

Here is all the news we'll read and watch for the rest of 2007. Read the list quickly and then go to the library and check out a book.

Needy Families
Holiday Retail Sales
Top 10 Stories of 2007
Top Issues for 2008
Best of (Whatever) in 2007