Re: Life Duty Death

Julie Locascio (
Fri, 15 Sep 1995 16:15:47

>Now, a couple questions:
>You brought up the China/Third World CFC question. What gives with the
>current situation, when the national media, at least, is saying that
>ozone depletion is running "significantly higher than expected"?

>Second, what's your take on biodiversity & this great extinction? I know
>humans have been killing creatures off since (possibly) the wooly
>mamoth. How does concern with biodiversity (a VERY long-term item) fit
>in with the concerns of a market-centered world?

First of all, you might want to bring your interests in these matters to
alt.sci.environment (which has a lot of senseless bickering, but has some good
scientific discussions sprinkled in here and there, as well).

The short answer to the first question is that ozone depletion will remain a
concern for the foreseeable future both because of increased CFC usage in the
Third World (and probably the Second World) and because there is still a lot
we don't know about long-term climatic implications.

The short answer to the second question is that biodiversity is not a
"long-term item", and most definitely is not a "VERY long-term item"! The
more we study ecosystems, the more we learn about very complex cycles of
nutrient recycling. The dying out of one species can easily cause a ripple
effect as other prey/predator relations get out of whack. Long-range
migration patterns (which are still a mystery to us, for many species)
complicates the picture. Effects on water and air can be carried to any
corner of the globe. What I am getting at is that you simply cannot be sure
you understand ALL the results of a species dying out. And again, you need to
study more ecology to understand why this is important.

The better final question would be how does a market-centered world fit into
global ecosystems? We do not adequately recycle our nutrients: we pull
things out, and do not put them back in at the same level or in the same
condition. We only value natural resources that we know to have a market
value: we do not, collectively, protect all biodiversity because we do not
seen the proven value of individual species.

I will give you a simple example. National Geographic had a story about bats
in Texas (I think it was Austin). The community had gotten into an uproar and
wanted to kill them all until a local scientist taught the community about how
many insects they kill and other roles the bats play in the local ecosystem,
and then the community no longer wanted to kill them.

There are too many species we know nothing about, and they might die before we
find out what role they had in keeping things in "balance".