So there I was, just having a conversation, when I had a revelation of sorts. I don’t know that I would call it an epiphany but I found it interesting — and a tad bit sad as well.
The discussion was about ecology and how removing a species from a local ecosystem has far reaching effects on other species and even plant life. Doesn’t mean I’m a tree hugger but the fact is it’s true and I won’t apologize for wanting to leave this place better than I found it. There’s no doubt if we all made just a little effort in some way the world would be better for it. But that isn’t what I’m necessarily what I’m talking about.
It was during this discussion I had the realization of what a burden the human race truly is no matter how much self importance we give ourselves. And if there is one thing we have accomplished it’s making ourselves into a parasite of sorts in our relationship to our home, which is what the Earth is in essence.
Our ability to use logic, reason and critical thought is trumped by our ability to negate it all by living as if the world existed only within our immediate proximity. As a result, we have no respect for our surroundings — our home.
The line of thought was this: Each time a species is either driven extinct or is removed from a geographic area, the other species native to the region lose a food source or predator and a potential contributor to the reproduction of plants and trees. These don’t occur without a ripple effect where other cycles are forced to deviate and in some cases are broken which in turn creates a greater effect. Don’t assume this happens immediately because it doesn’t. It takes a little time.
That’s when I thought about what the world would be like if humans just ceased to exist. Would the world suffer because of absence? Would the animal kingdom find a gaping hole in its food chain? Would there be any negative impact to the Earth and its inhabitants whatsoever should all of humankind just disappear in the blink of an eye?
The sad part is there would be zero negative impact if an extinction event occurred wiping us out and leaving the rest alone. As a matter of fact the results would be the complete opposite. Think about it this way: We as humans contribute absolutely nothing to the betterment of the world. Nothing whatsoever.
Our technology comes at an expense and either the direct product or ancillary products associated with any of our technological advances produces byproducts that only harm the environment or air. We rape the environment to gain minerals and other natural resources that have no true intrinsic value whatsoever, only an arbitrary value we assign, stripping away land and soil and leaving absolute devastation behind.
Deforestation is a common practice of which only a small percentage of us even acknowledge much less speak up against. Destruction of the world’s rain forests speaks for itself. I mean it is really our life’s blood when you get down to it, but we can always grow more right?
We live as if fresh water is going to always manifest itself when we turn on the faucets in our kitchen, but the truth is there is already a growing concern about the demand for potable, clean water now while we continue to allow toxins to be emptied into our dwindling sources.
Take, take, take. That’s all we do while thoroughly convincing ourselves and others it’s an endless buffet where the check will never arrive. But the check will arrive and when it does, the tab will be so high we won’t be able to pay it.
Entire species of animals have been wiped out for our greed and vanity, such as the Carrier Pigeon. And one which was native to South Carolina only — that is until the ladies got a look at those feathers in a hat — the Carolina Parakeet. Species hunted and harassed to the point of extinction count too. Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, Love Canal, and very recently Flint, Mich., all places I wouldn’t live near much less in. A statement on our ability to as act as caretakers, huh?
Instead you would see the Earth heal itself, ecosystems repair themselves and begin to flourish once again, species that were on the verge of complete disappearance would recover, and the air would become clean once again instead of a hazard. How sad is it the best thing for this world would be for us to disappear?
And we think we are so valuable. No, we are the victims of our own greed and obsessive vanities with little respect for our home and its other occupants. Shame on us.
D. C. Moody is a staff writer for The Easley Progress and The Pickens Sentinel and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.