Do we have a duty to conserve Nature the way she is now?

November 28, 2008 2:57pm CST
The world has not always looked this way, so the documentaries always begin. It was once warmer, once colder, once wetter, once drier, once all the continents were joined together. The flora and fauna we see now are not the same as existed thousands of year ago. If left to her own devices, Nature would destroy and create new species (along with new islands, seas, lakes and continents) at random intervals. Whether you believe that Global Warming is the direct cause of human activity or not, we know that it would happen one way or another at some point in the future. Should we be trying to prevent our world from ever changing again? Should we be preventing the extinction of species that will not be able to survive without our aid in the future, due to climate change? How long have Polar Bears existed for? Should we try to bring back species that died out before we ever arrived (leaving dinosaurs aside, there are plenty of smaller beasts we could resurrect)? The Great White Shark has never attempted to repopulate the seas with any species it has been responsible for wiping out (they are amazing hunters)... and now we are protecting it from extinction. So, do we really have a duty to conserve, when our world is so dynamic and ever changing? When the very theory of evolution indicates that new species will arise to cope with whatever we do to the world (well... almost anything we do to it)? NB; my own personal feelings may or may not agree with anything I have just said and will say in the near future on this thread. Devils Advocate here I come...
3 people like this
7 responses
• Australia
29 Nov 08
The problem with global warming now is two-fold. One, there were not 7 billion human beings around the last time the earth had major climatic changes, and anthropocentric as it may be, I con't help considering that we should be doing whatever we can to safeguard the future of the race. If the worst scenario occurs, humanity will be in severe trouble, not just from the physical changes but through what will almost certainly be dramatic social changes, perhaps even the collapse of civilisation as we know it. The second point is that even though past changes may have been relatively fast in climatic terms, in human terms they were very slow. If we are indeed speeding up the rate of change through our industrial activities, and I believe we are, then doing something about those changes would not be conserving nature as it is, it would be merely allowing nature to do its thing in its own time. It is the rapid rate of change that will bring about the potential disaster scenarios I mentioned in the first paragraph. Like David Suzuki, I believe it is far too late for anything we do to reverse the changes that have now begun, but can possibly still slow them down to give us time to make the social and geographical adjustments that will be needed to preserve human society. Of course the nihilists among will probably consider that ambition pointless, and the pessimists may consider it useless, but hey, that doesn't mean we shouldn't at least go down fighting. Lash PS Thank you for posting a discussion with some meat in it, the last few days have been a desert. And welcome back.
2 people like this
29 Nov 08
Thanks for the welcome back XD And thanks for commenting :D It is the rapid rate of change that will bring about the potential disaster scenarios I mentioned in the first paragraph. But there is evidence of past rapid changes in the climate, the Earth's flora and fauna has been decimated (quite literally) and it re-adapted, continued to evolve. I believe it is far too late for anything we do to reverse the changes that have now begun, but can possibly still slow them down to give us time to make the social and geographical adjustments that will be needed to preserve human society. (Aerliss talking for herself here and not as Satan's mouthpiece; I most definitely agree with you on the first half.) An honest and viable answer that everyone can get behind, be they tree hugging hippies or hardcore bear-hunting conservatives; we have to protect what we have for our own survival.
• Australia
30 Nov 08
I'm not sure that we've had changes as rapid in the past as we face now, but perhaps I'm wrong, it's not an element of the problem that I've looked into deeply. Do you have information on the speed of change you could share? Lash
@mssnow (9493)
• United States
28 Nov 08
Yes we should at leas try to do something to help. Global warming will not go away but maybe we can reverse some of the effects it cause. I hope and pray they find better way to do things. Maybe cars that run on air or water . Get rid of garbage some how. I dont know but we have to do something..
1 person likes this
28 Nov 08
Why though? Why do we need to conserve species that are dying out? Why should we try to prevent human created Global Warming if we know the world has had a different climate(s) than what we have now and will have a different climate(s) in the future?
@sharra1 (6342)
• Australia
29 Nov 08
What you are saying may happen and human beings may well be one of the species that is wiped out. I personally believe that we are a large part to blame for this change and we have also decimated the bulk of the species that live on Earth. In fact humans are responsible for more extinctions than climate change. There may not be enough species left to survive if nothing is done. As to the risk we face if nothing is done then you only have to look at the rising sea levels. If the seas rise to the levels that they say could happen in their darkest predictions then most of humanity will go with the animals. What will be left. After all we mostly live in coastal cities and if the sea level rises enough none of them will survive. I am not aware that any animal in nature apart from humans has ever been responsible for an extinction as they only hunt for food not for destruction the way we do. So I believe we have a duty to protect what few species are left and also to protect the human race.
29 Nov 08
we have also decimated the bulk of the species that live on Earth. As have a variety of catastrophes in the past. Just think of dinosaurs. Okay, random thought that just came to me; should we try to re-breed Cro-mangon and Neanderthals, as there is a chance that the human race is responsible for their extinction in one way or another? Moving back... In fact humans are responsible for more extinctions than climate change. Do you mean over all time? Because I'm pretty sure climate change has us beat on that one. Have any references? If the seas rise to the levels that they say could happen in their darkest predictions then most of humanity will go with the animals. We're not planning to move house if the sea levels rise then? There will be a lot less land, but then all the land that is uninhabitable now will be more habitable if the climate changes enough to force us away from the coats. I am not aware that any animal in nature apart from humans has ever been responsible for an extinction as they only hunt for food not for destruction the way we do. To be fair, we rarely hunt with the specific intent of wiping out a species. The odd carnivore that's causing us trouble we've tried to wipe off the face of the Earth, but for the most part the extinctions that we are responsible for have been accidental.
28 Nov 08
I try to be pessimistic but the way things are going today(aka 1% of the worlds species and rain forest disappearing every year) we wont have any animals left to save. If the US ate less meat and had better organized public transport, used renewable energy sources and used all the land they had in their back gardens etc to grow their own produce/raise their own animals then we would be getting somewhere but we all know that isn't going to happen especially with the rate of globalization and the push to develop any less economically developed countries, in short we are all doomed to stew in our own juices.
29 Nov 08
Okay, so... taking into account that the world is ever in flux; do you believe we should force the world's ecosystems to stay as they are? especially with the rate of globalization and the push to develop any less economically developed countries So you're happy telling people in Africa they cannot have fridges and computers, TVs and radios? To not own cars or have air conditioning/central heating? Are you willing to live as they live to save the planet?
30 Nov 08
If you did your research correctly you would find that the people of African don't want tv radio or even latrines. The ladies who walk miles everday to get water enjoy the trek because it gives them a chance to do thier private business and chat with other females at the watering hole from different villages. In one case an aid company built both a set of toilets and a new well at one of the villages but nobody used it they like their old way better. In another case they were given aid and food during seasons of poverty, the aid agency thought this wouldn't happen if they were given seeds to plant, the locals thought this was odd they didn't like eating food which came from the same place their animals ate and aside from that they were used to living primarily on meat and water that was their lifestyle. There was a total lack of recognition of what the people wanted as a result they the local people ate the seeds. The aid company thought this was disrespectful and pulled out all aid from the area.
@celticeagle (121030)
• Boise, Idaho
29 Nov 08
Scientists have proven that much of it is caused by our own devices. Things do change down through the ages but that doesn't mean we don't have a direct responsibility to what is happening all around us. If we are the culprits then yes, we should atleast try to make things better for species we have helps to nearly eradicate. Yes, I think we should be responsible for what we have done! Do you understand that in the scheme of things if we don't help keep these species thriving we will be killing ourselves in the long run? The food change comes right back around to us. If we let them go by the way side we ultimately hurt ourselves!
@whiteheron (4223)
• United States
29 Nov 08
The world is in constant flux... As some say, it is a living being whose breath is seen in the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere around her during the Fall and Winter (due to the decaying leaves) and the increase of O2 in the atmosphere around her in the Spring and Summer. She changes often in cycles... And yet there are experts who say that the changes that we have seen in this Century have been more rapid than ones that have been seen in our recorded history... And there is some evidence in the form of ice core samples, etc., that our activity may be hastening or triggering natural processes... There are animals being affected by our actions and human beings are also in danger due to the rising flood waters in some areas, the greater intensity of storms and fires, and the increase of diseases wafted on the wind and/or carried by plane from areas where there are disease outbreaks. We do know that deforestation has changed the natural surroundings adversely, that pollution has done damage to the environment and that our consumerist life style is not going to be sustainable for the long haul as it is not giving the soil enough time to recover in between plantings of cash crops, is not giving the animals enough land to roam on, is not granting enough bio-diversity, and is causing many people to suffer due to the scarcity of food and clean running water. We have not been good stewards of the Earth and this is unfortunate... There has been a tendency to take the Earth for granted, to subdue it, to use and exploit it rather than living in harmony with and nurturing it... This continues to have widespread consequences. A shark has not the power to exploit the Earth... It eats only that which it needs and does not waste its natural resources on producing things that will get thrown away, or that are collected and horded... The shark is a preditor, yes. It eats to survive. It is not and never has been interested in making it or keeping up with the Jones or in expanding its territories except to search for food. We are capable of so much more good than sharks and also so much more evil. Our actions have wider and more severe consequences. We do not just have an impact on one territory with our actions. We are spread out all over the world and impact the Earth on a large scale. We act often blindly, quickly making decisions for profit motives in the short-term, not just to eat, but to get rich, to have status and power, to create, etc. We divert waters, cut down or burn down old growth forests, build our buildings, roads and freeways, pump up the oil, mine, build more and more waste dumps, burn things, and we then want to argue and say that our actions have not impacted the Earth and have not caused other species difficulties... Honestly... Is this blindness or just perhaps a wanting not to see that our actions have an impact. You and I do have a moral responsibility to be good stewards of what we were given... for the future generations as we should strive to insure that they enjoy the natural surroundings that we ourselves enjoyed... This is the responsible thing to do. To believe that we have not really effected the Earth adversely by our changes of her is to believe in a lie. To sit back and do nothing to make a positive difference is to sin by omission. We have a responsiblity to do something to improve the situation even on a small scale where we live by conserving energy, planting trees, recycling, reusing, etc. and by participating with others who are helping to prevent further deforestation, soil erosion, the polluting of water and air, and the despoiling of pristine wild lands and waters. Whether or not we believe in global warming our responsibility to help the Earth heal and to help other species survive remains. We like to think that we are moral and that we have a conscience. We act as if we believe that we are superior to non human beings here on Earth as we take them from one place to another, use them to meet our needs, and consume them... And because of this we have a responsibility to preserve them, conserve them, care for them in a humane manner... To just sit idlely by and let them die is not humane nor is it ethical. To act to protect that which is endangered is both humane and ethical.
@mimico (3619)
• Philippines
29 Nov 08
I think so, yes. In a way, we're the hones who cause global warming and deforestation and all the other pains that nature has to endure. So it's our responsibility to fix it. And our responsibility to prevent further degradation by conserving it. Ultimately, bigger companies and industrial giants should shoulder the burden, but at the same time, we can only be successful if we all work on it together.