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Endangered Spaces: The luxury of goodbye

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
April 7, 2005


"Our environmental problems originate in the hubris of imagining ourselves as the central nervous system or the brain of nature. We're not the brain, we are a cancer on nature." — Dave Foreman

I'm writing this under the influence of butterflies. For the past few days, spring has sprung a riot of butterflies and Southern California is a better place for it. Driving around town I can't help but imagine Leucadia before it was Leucadia, and the number of butterflies that must of flourished before the onslaught of development. On my Aprilia, I am all too aware of the fleeting nature of butterflies and their inherent fragility.

Can you imagine a world without butterflies? Unfortunately, I can.

Overshadowed by the death of two frail and chronically ill religious icons, the United Nations Environment Programme released the results of a study, conducted by 1,360 researchers from 95 nations, states that in the last 50 years human population had polluted and overexploited two-thirds of the ecological systems on which life depends. This includes clean air and fresh water.

According to the report by the 45-member board of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. "Human activity is putting such strain on the natural functions of earth that the ability of the planet's ecosystems to sustain future generations can no longer be taken for granted."


For those readers to engrossed in the death drama of Teri Schiavo and Karol Wojtyla (AKA "The Pope") and missed the brief and fleeting coverage of the issuing of the report, allow me to summarize the findings of United Nations Environmental Programme.

Outstanding problems identified by the Millennium assessment are the dire state of many of the world's fish stocks; the severe vulnerability of the 2 billion people living in dry regions to the loss of ecosystem services, including water supply; and the growing threat to ecosystems from climate change and nutrient pollution.

Contrary to the idiocy professed by the Bush Administration, every species on earth depends on nature and ecosystem services to provide the conditions required for a decent, healthy, and secure life. Denial and spin can not alter the fact humans have made unprecedented changes to ecosystems in recent decades to meet the growing demands for food, fresh water, fiber, and energy. Fueled by anthropocentric avarice, these changes have taken the planet to the edge of a massive wave of species extinctions, further threatening our own well being.

The assault on ecosystems, and the species residing there, will increase globally in coming decades even if human attitudes and actions change overnight. Which is extremely unlikely, considering the absolute cultural disconnect inherent in the ethically corrupt capitalist consumerism worshiped by the majority of humans drawing breath.

Although existing technologies and knowledge could significantly reduce human impact on the environment, such technologies will never be fully deployed until these finite ecosystems are no longer perceived as free and limitless, and their full value is taken into account. In other words, until natural biological systems are seen as more than just disposable chopsticks, all you can eat buffets, and gas guzzling, war promoting sport utility vehicles, we will continue on the road of destruction until there is nothing left but squirrels, seagulls, and cock roaches.

Rape and pillage is not a sustainable environmental policy.

If we are to preserve and conserve the biotic communities that make life on earth for us greedy monkeys possible, better protection of natural assets will require coordinated efforts across all sections of government, business, and international institutions. The productivity of ecosystems depends on ecologically sensitive policy choices on investment, trade, subsidies, taxation, and regulation, which provide all species of life respect and continuance regardless of the whims and wallows of inhumane humanity.

Assessed by the United Nations Environmental Programme, it is now clear the humans are an endangered species, soon to be responsible for their ultimate undoing. Global warming is a problem, rising sea levels are a problem, and water shortages, mass extinctions, epidemics, famines, and toxic pollution are a problem.

I would say over population is a problem, but that's only temporary, considering the aforementioned roster of environmental consequences being dictated by the suicidal anthropocentrism embraced by corporate capitalism, and the greedy monkeys too busy wrecking havoc to notice the sky is falling.

To summarize this summary, the human empire is about to come crashing down due to it's utter disregard for every other species on the planet.

The squirrels should be very happy.

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