Global Warming, Dimming, Destruction and Change
Have you ever thought that by posting to a web-site such as GardenWeb that you were unwittingly leaving behind a historical legacy regarding the changes occuring for plant life and the earthly environment? I began posting to newsgroups back in the 70s and oddly and surprisingly, enough can still find some of my early posts. Some of those sites get archived and even after being removed from on-line systems, are available to historical research and all sceinces as a resource for years to come.
The fossil record that survives great discontinuities shows that during Earth's extreme past and recent past, there have been events that have radically altered life on this planet. Sometimes, those events were caused by mega natural processes that did not involve life, except to destroy it. At other times, life itself has caused change. Forexample, we have all heard how an asteroid impact is theorized to have caused the extinction of the dinosaurs ... but not many of us realize that our blue oxygen and nitrogen rich atmosphere was caused by some of the first photosynthesizing plants ... the algae. That change in our atmosphere was one of the most major changes in the earthly biosphere caused by life itself. But today, a new lifeform is causing both terrestial and atmospheric change on a scale that will change life on Earth for all time. That lifeform is humanity.
The living biosphere of the Earth is but a thin layer, the skin and oceans from their depths to their tidal environments and then, reaching into the atmosphere. Mankind is changing all of this at an incredible rapid rate.
I do not know if Gardenweb archives its data. I do not know if other organizations collect data and archive it from list services, newsgroups and exchanges such as this one.
As we enter a millenium and a new era marked by Global Warming and Global Dimming, the melting away of glaciers and ice fields and the rising of sea levels with increasing global temperatures, we experience evolutionary change on such a mega scale that wholesale extinctions are in the offing. And we can only imagine what new species may fill the vacuum after our human manipulation of the entire earthly biosphere has reached a climax and begins a retreat to some form of stasis.
I recall reading a story once in the papers where an upstate lake in New York was having trouble with swans that would nip swimmers and boaters when they got to close to their chicks. The solution then, was to kill and remove the swans. Human life was deemed more important that the lives of the swans. A grizzly bear is damned with a death sentence for killing a man, while a gang member or drug pusher who murders his fellow man is slapped on the wrist, serves a small amount of time in a correctional institution in hopes of saving his humanity, only to have the same behavior recur and recur again. The aptitude my friends, has not changed. You can find it reflected in the destruction of the world's rain forests where arable land being more important to human life, is a death sentence to wild forests. Food from our oceans to feed humanity is a death sentence to oceanic life. We as humans are not above nature. We are nature, and currently, a huge part of nature on this planet and a destructive part at that. Yet we will incessantly seek to place ourselves above nature, much to our detriment.
I have been gardening for just one year now and ... I have learned by observation of my own successes at germinating seeds and propogating by cuttings that plants do not simply germinate or propogate by giving them water, nutrient rich soil and the right temperature. I have often found that plants need protections from direct sunlight and I have realized, that in the wild, those protections can only be afforded to new generations of certain plants by a healthy forest environment, one that naturally provides shade and protection from winds and weather for young seedlings and saplings.
How many of the plants that you plant today are in trouble and heading for extinction? Do you know? Are your gardening habits helping to prevent extinction of wild species? Or do you only propogate hybrid species?
Let me here add to the legacy, this small comment, however insignificant.
And should you be reading this some many years from now, take note that we, in my time, knew of our perilous flirtation with our environment and arrogantly persued our own selfish motives for the destruction, regardless. It was in our nature to be self-serving and unwilling to sacrifice, truly, a 'me first' humanity.
I am ashamed.