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our Faustian bargain

From NPRScientists who study lizards say many local populations around the world are going extinct. And the cause, they suspect, is climate change.

Ladies and gents, you are witnessing the slow, inexorable decline of species on a global scale. It is a very quiet decline. A silent ending to many millenniums of evolutionary struggle by some of Nature’s smallest, most inconspicuous creatures.

Perhaps it was inevitable. Nobody knows. And it appears that not many of us are concerned on a visceral level. But the vanishing act comes with unintended consequences beyond our present capability to fathom.

Are we to blame? To some extent, the answer is clear. Concrete comes with a price. As does the conversion of entire continents into the bewildering sea of flotsam we currently refer to as civilization. Any species that greatly exceeds an ecosystem’s carrying capacity must bear the results, perhaps it’s own disappearance.

But Nature will live on in our collective consciousness, at least as long as our techno-wizards see fit to produce erudite replicas via Animal Planet, the Discovery Channel, and the world’s cagey zoos. Virtual wildlife – coming soon to a 3-D screen near you.

At some point, this virtual replica of the planet’s atavistic and incomprehensible matrix of biology will become insufficient. We will long for something tangible and wild, because our DNA requires it as part of our operating system. Even our nocturnal dreaming will search for the missing parts that help define who we are as living beings. We will not be satisfied with a mere facsimile, regardless of how many pixels it radiates.

Today, an oil spill of untold proportions; tomorrow some other bizarre insult to the biosphere. We react for the milliseconds it takes to Twitter our “friends.” And then we carry on, as if the news is something that only occurs in some fantasized digital realm, far removed from where dust and blood originates.

Dr. E.O. Wilson once put the bullet in the bull’s eye – “A very Faustian choice is upon us: whether to accept our corrosive and risky behavior as the unavoidable price of population and economic growth, or to take stock of ourselves and search for a new environmental ethic.”

A Faustian choice, indeed. Except that to choose “corrosive and risky behavior” leads to a predictable outcome. And that outcome will not seem worth the ticket when the loan sharks appear.

There are no easy answers. Any route from here out is fraught with unexpected twists, turns, and dead ends. There will be lucky ones and losers. Many of the losers will simply vanish with no discernible farewell. They will be the “least among us.”

It’s odd how our species has an innate tendency to be nostalgia for that which we no longer can know first hand. Perhaps it’s a trait designed to aid in our survival as human beings, although how is anybody’s guess.

It is logical that we will have much to be nostalgic over in the coming years and decades. But we have already lost too much.

As the world turns…..

posted by Mudd

Posted in Uncategorized.

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